In 2006, Scandinavian countries continued to dominate the death metal/black metal scene, while metalcore, hardcore, and screamo were dominated by the United States. That was the general rule for extreme metal in 2006 -- death metal and black metal in Sweden, Norway, and Finland; hardcore-based assaults in the U.S.A. -- but where there are rules and patterns, there are also exceptions. And one of those exceptions is the Phoenix, AZ-based Abigail Williams, whose Legend is a perfect example of an American recording with a very Nordic-influenced sound. This 2006 recording, released early in 2007, is not a carbon copy of extreme Scandinavian metal, but stylistically it certainly owes a lot to Swedish and Norwegian bands. Abigail Williams' orientation is essentially death metal/black metal; elements of black metal (sinister rasp vocals, blastbeats, darkly ominous harmonies) are combined with death metal-ish growling and death metal-ish guitar riffing. But the Arizona headbangers' vicious recipe also includes hints of screamo (as in From Autumn to Ashes, Nora, Hopesfall, or I Killed the Prom Queen) and metalcore. Their overall sound is more Scandinavian-influenced than American-influenced, but the American influences are definitely there. Actually, Abigail Williams sound like a Nordic death metal/black metal band that just happens to like metalcore, hardcore, and screamo, and their variety of influences come together in an appealing way. Abigail Williams are hardly the only band that has brought metalcore/hardcore elements to a death metal/black metal foundation, but this five-song, 21-minute EP finds them doing it in a more coherent and lucid fashion than many of their competitors. And while Legend doesn't quite fall into the melodic death metal and symphonic black metal categories, this is a disc that -- for all its ferocity and viciousness -- is not without nuance or complexity. All things considered, Legend is a worthwhile and fairly promising effort from these Phoenix-based torturers. ~ Alex Henderson
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.46) - "[O]bscenely exciting....[The] menace of black metal at its most theatrical..."