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No plod twists - 30%

kluseba, December 13th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Blood Music (Digipak)

I started to learn about Abigail Williams when I attended a festival a little bit more than four years to ago and the epic symphonic black metal band was easily the most energetic, focused and talented group that night. I bought the excellent boxed set From Legend to Becoming that I have enjoyed listening to on multiple occasions. Recently, the band came back to town as opening act and played along with four other bands. To my negative surprise, Abigail Williams offered by far the worst performance of the night. They had to play without one of their guitarists who wasn't allowed to show up due to his criminal record and their performance was lacking energy. The band heavily overused its fog machine and the band members weren't even visible during their performance. The group barely interacted with the crowd, offered a lacklustre performance and exited the stage without any final words. Coincidentally, I decided to listen to the band's new output Walk Beyond the Dark and it sounds as weak as the band's performance had been.

Some elements that made the band great in the first place are still present in a few select songs. ''The Final Failure'' for instance is an epic closer with haunting symphonic elements and enough changes of pace and style to keep the track interesting through a running time of eleven minutes.

Most songs however fail to offer any significant changes in style or creative ideas. They overstay their welcome by using the same riff patterns for several minutes. The rhythm section is often noodling uninspiredly in the background. The monotous vocals repeat simplistic lyrics time and time again. The band hits rock bottom with the weak opener ''I Will Depart'' that has no redeeming values whatsoever. Opening this record with its weakest song has an impact on all other tunes that follow but most of them are only barely better.

I don't know what happened to Abigail Williams but I get the impression that the band has lost some emotion, inspiration and style that made the group stand out in its early years. Walk Beyond the Dark offers three above average tunes, three bad tracks and one disasterpiece. Let's cross our fingers that the band goes back to its roots to rekindle the magic of its early years that made it stand out among other extreme metal bands.