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Album Review: Abigail Williams Light the Way with Walk Beyond the Dark

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Ken Sorceron cycles through killer riffs as efficiently as he cycles through band members. As the sole consistent musician (and songwriter) in Abigail Williams, the buck stops with him. Thankfully for him, he has nothing to be ashamed about here. On their fifth album, Walk Beyond the Dark, Sorceron follows the title’s instruction and finds his way to the light.

The biggest difference between WBTD and its predecessors? This time around, Abigail Williams brings melody to the forefront. Not only does the band no longer sound like Dimmu Borgir, but they’ve even moved past the harsher elements of their USBM influences. While they still possess the epic, evil atmosphere of peers like Wolves in the Throne Room, Nachtmystium, and Krallice, they’ve smoothed out the dissonance found even on their most recent release, 2015’s The Accuser. That may be a negative to some fans. Still, Abigail Williams have created their most compulsively listenable album yet.

It also features their longest songs since Becoming. Thankfully, except for on the mournful closing track “The Final Failure,” they never outstay their welcome. Sorceron finds the dynamics in each piece. “Born of Nothing,” for example, features the most aggressive blasting zones but also the most ambient passages on the whole record. “Sun and Moon” and “Ever So Bold” make the strongest impressions, however. That impression may be “this sounds like Agalloch,” but since Agalloch have gone the way of Euronymous, it’s nice to hear someone so capable picking up their mantle (nyuk nyuk).

Abigail Williams have come a long way — from a “black metal band with a lady keyboardist” act to one of the finer practitioners of black metal in the continental United States. Sorceron’s emotive approach to the genre helps them stand out and keeps things engaging. Join Abby for a stroll.

Walk Beyond the Dark drops this Friday on Blood Music. Listen to “Ever So Bold” here. You can pre-order the album here. Get tickets to their tour with Ensiferum here.

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