Released: 2008, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Symphonic black metallers from New York, Abigail Williams, have taken their name from a young girl named Abigail Williams, who lived and died at the end of 16th century, and who played a major role in the Salem Witch trials as one of the most prominent accusers.
As for Abigail Williams 2004 Anno Bastardi, they have already released a couple of EPs prior to this debut album of theirs titled IN THE SHADOWS OF A THOUSAND SUNS (GALLOW HILL in 2005 and LEGEND in 2006, both through Candlelight), and the band has received very diverse opinions on those two EPs among the metal community - with some metal purists hating their guts and others embracing them with open arms.
To be honest, I can clearly understand why opinions about Abigail Williams have been so diverse and different from each other. The band plays a fast-paced, symphonic black metal that reminds one strongly of Dimmu Borgir (perhaps the SPIRITUAL BLACK DIMENSIONS era mostly) that also happens to be good company with the sounds of such hellish hordes as Emperor, Cradle of Filth and let´s say, even Dark Funeral. In the other words, Abigail Williams doesn´t bring any new venom to the unholy altar of the genre, but still uses - pretty cleverly and skilfully - all those existing elements of the blackest black that some other bands have already launched and put in use on their own releases. Therefore IN THE SHADOWS… offers quite an enjoyable ride for the fans of symphonic, atmospheric and aggressive black metal, if you don´t expect anything else other than hearing a relatively safe and familiar mixture of all those aforementioned black metal´s cornerstone names on Abigail Williams´ debut. That's the album in a tiny nutshell because there´s not much else to be said about it. In terms of original songwriting, you don´t get much, but in terms of good musicianship, there´s a good amount of that sticking out from this group of sympho-black metallers.
Having James Murphy at the production helm, the production on IN THE SHADOWS… is also top-notch (expect no less from Mr. Murphy); crystal-clear, but still containing enough the much-needed heaviness, which is vital for a metal release in general. All in all, Abigail Williams have recorded a somewhat decent debut album, which lacks almost any kind of originality and innovation though.