Abigail Williams – Agharta

Author: Brendan Blake

Abigail Williams – Agharta
  • Artist: Abigail Williams
  • Album: Agharta
  • Year of Release: 2010
  • Country: USA
  • Label: Candlelight
  • Format: Jewelcase CD
  • Catalogue Number: CANDLE292CDSE

A stop-gap release, put out in the wake of their extensive 2009 US tour, initially released digitally, but subsequently as a bonus disc with their reasonably well-acclaimed In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns. This is inevitably something of an inessential addition to what is arguably an inessential back catalogue of music, but that is not to say there is nothing of interest here.

Opener ‘I Am (God)’ is catchy enough, and almost a retrograde step from the band’s debut. Having leaned so heavily in the direction of Scandinavian symphonic black, it’s actually slightly refreshing that the band have attempted to repossess some of that thrashing melodic death metal of their first EP. Opting out of the standard pseudo-orchestral intro and launching into something vaguely reminiscent of mid-period Dissection, ‘I Am (God)’ devolves into a somewhat more chugging thrash-fest that I’m sure some will argue is a call-back to their metalcore roots, but in reality would not sound out of place on any modern thrash record. It all ends on a keyboard-driven segment of which Dimmu Borgir or Arcturus would be proud.

‘In Death Comes The Great Silence’ is closer to that cold Nordic sound of the debut, almost recalling Bathory at their most majestic in the closing minutes, but that is not to say anything on here is of anywhere near that calibre, reinforcing the view that Abigail Williams are a competent but resolutely third-tier black metal act. ‘Waiting For The Rain’ is a totally inconsequential weather-sound interlude with further Bathory acoustics for “atmosphere”, briefly making you forget that this isn’t a US band, and once again evoking the likes of British bands such as Cradle Of Filth. ‘Infernal Divide’ actually to me begins (briefly) with a Burzum vibe, before resorting to more Mayhem worship in the verse. It’s certainly not an unpleasant listen but hugely derivative of much greater bands, and seems to be incapable of deciding what it wants to be.

Unlike the interesting fusion of styles found on the Legend EP, the diversity on display here actually just suggests a lack of individual character. There’s plenty to like about this, but not to love, and as an EP is destined for the great trash-heap of “yeah, it was alright” metal EPs that no-one will remember in x number of years.

A note on editions: I have this as a bonus disc on the In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns album. There is a bonus video track of ‘Into The Ashes’, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBclCnzbQUM. It’s a classically rubbish extreme metal video that would have been scoffed at in the mid-90s, but in 2010 is kind of inexcusable. Not rubbish to a Hecate Enthroned or Ancient standard, but hey, what is?

Score: 65%

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