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Abigail Williams has been making a peculiar stir with their debut EP 'Legend' in the past few months. I've witnessed a rather high degree of polarization between those that would detract it for its ostensibly mainstream influences and those that would uphold it for its originality and distinct sense of melody. I fall somewhere in the middle, though leaning towards the latter: while I think the claims of utter uniqueness and brilliance are rather overblown, there's no doubt that 'Legend' is still a very fine and in some ways original piece that would appeal to numerous metalheads, from mainstream to utter underground.
For the few of you that haven't heard what all the fuss is about, Abigail Williams plays what is essentially a mix of metalcore and symphonic black metal. Now, while such a concept almost certainly inspires waves of revulsion in many of you readers, let me assure you that such a combination is done with a level of taste that I would certainly not have expected. While traits of both genres are present, they are used well in conjunction with the other. For instance, 'breakdowns' are still part of Abigail Williams' music, such as midway through opener 'From A Buried Heart', it fuses with black metal in a unique, tasteful, and compelling way, which alone is certainly enough to make this EP a worthwhile exploration to the metal listener.
The inclusion of symphonic elements is a welcome addition to the snowy and organic atmosphere reminiscent of Pacific Rim-area black metal artists such as Wolves In The Throne Room. There is a high degree of skill and professionalism on 'Legend', both in musicianship and production. In fact, I'd go as far to say that there are few perceptible flaws with this release: the songwriting is solid and ever-changing, but not in meaningless fashion. Perhaps the only real complaints are a slight lack of differentiation between the songs, but even this isn't a true issue because no song sticks out as a sore thumb in being particularly poor. No, Abigail Williams has certainly crafted a very solid, intriguing EP.
Granted, I'm sure that none of my persistence will dissuade many metalheads from the opinion that such a fusion of genres would be impossible to create without grotesquely insulting either or both of the musical parents. But for those who are willing to step outside the box a little and explore, 'Legend' is most certainly a release to look into.
(Originally written for www.vampire-magazine.com)