Abigail Williams – The Accuser (Candlelight Records)

Genre: Black metal

US black metallers Abigail Williams (named after one of the first ‘accusers’ at the Salem witch trials) have had tumultuous 11 years, with numerous line-up changes and a significant shift in style from symphonic BM to a more organic interpretation of the genre.

But while the waters have been stormy for founder Sorceron, he’s still managed to keep Abigail Williams afloat… and eventually crafted a magnificent piece of work in The Accuser.

This album draws from frosty Norwegian black metal and is steeped in icy atmospherics, yet it’s never constrained by orthodoxy… an approach which served USBM standard bearers Nachtmystium (among others) well.

So while Godhead steams in like Gorgoroth, riding a wave of blastbeats, or Forever Kingdom of Dirt evokes Marduk’s grimier moments, you’re also treated to the gothic Americana of closer Nuummite or the blackened shoegaze haze of Will, Wish and Desire. And it all fits gloriously together too, making The Accuser a multi-hued experience, a story with a beginning and end, rather than a collection of tracks thrown carelessly together.

This is an impressive statement from Abigail Williams, make no mistake and an album which may prove their early doubters very wrong indeed. Anyone put off by the band’s early work needs to hear this…

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Spellbinding