Abigail Williams @ Blender Theater at Gramercy (7/23/2009)

Logo - Abigail Williams

Artist: Abigail Williams
Venue: Blender Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: Goatwhore, Daath, SWAATS, Abysmal Dawn
Date: 7/23/2009
Label: Candlelight Records

They called this tour the “Conquer And Curse” tour and it pretty much came on the heels of two days of Summer Slaughtering in NYC by being held at the Gramercy Theatre only a few days after that massive lineup of Death Metal had paid a visit. For “Conquer And Curse” we found a headlining Abigail Williams with direct support coming from Goatwhore and while we really enjoy what AW does we had to admit that we were one of the many who were scratching our heads about the band headlining something like this. It would also feature the Metal might of S.W.W.A.A.T.S., Abysmal Dawn and Daath, all three amounting to bands that had never been seen by these Metal eyes so that made me sure to get inside the venue in time to catch the show from the start. Leading off the roster of crushing brutality would be S.W.W.A.A.T.S.

S.W.W.A.A.T.S.: The bands name in full is Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky and to save their fans and the curious from being lounge tied they abbreviate it to S.W.W.A.A.T.S. The group hails from Tampa, Florida and is currently signed to Nuclear Blast Records. Their most recent album is entitled “The Grand Pardition and The Abrogation of Idolatry”. Whew, it seems like this band wants to keep your vocabulary working overdrive and that’s never a bad thing. Given they were the first band up there was not a lot of people in the venue to enjoy them which was a shame because they were really good and showcased a powerful level of Extreme Metal expertise. Theirs is a CD that I will be looking into going forward as I liked what was happening up on the stage for their all too brief set. Now it was time for Abysmal Dawn to lay down the devastation.

Abysmal Dawn: I had enjoyed listening to the absolute intensity of Abysmal Dawn’s “Programmed To Consume” for quite awhile and was really looking forward to seeing what they were all about in the live sense. From the moment they started they did not disappoint and pretty much delivered a no-nonsense, no bullshit set as soon as they began. It seemed that all of the songs were from the album that comes care of Relapse Records and if you are a fan of Extreme Technical Metal that works along the lines of Decapitated and old Cryptopsy then I think you will find them of appeal to your senses. They are fronted/led by singer/guitarist Charles Elliott who showcases himself as a capable player when doing the dual roles. Clearly I felt this was one of the better of such kinds of acts that I had seen in some time and I would definitely see them again should they jump onto another tour in the future. After their set I learned that Elliott was suffering from some sort of malaise with a cold, bronchitis or worse and that made me say kudos for still giving it your all. It sure didn’t come across that you were ill from the audience and I feel that the band made some new fans tonight. Now onto a little bit of Daath.

Daath: Awhile back my friend gave me her copy of the Daath CD because she found it a little too much for her and right up my own alley. The album was “The Hinderers” and since that time the band had just released their newest platter “The Concealers”. The Roadrunner Records artist brings a lot to the table in not only their manner of Metal execution but also in how much depth goes into their lyrical content. The only downside for Daath for this tour would be that drummer Kevin Talley would not be participating based on scheduling conflicts and in his place the drummer from Goatwhore would be filling in. While he was doing a fantastic job, one of the main people I wanted to see in action with the band was Talley so I was slightly disappointed in this bit of news. They were a fantastic band at the end of the day and really showed why they are winning over so many people with their albums. To be brutally honest the full roster should have been Goatwhore with Daath as direct support and Abigail Williams doing this third spot. I guess I am lucky that I am not in tour planning. After their set I was positive that we shall see Daath again very, very soon. If they come to your region do yourself a favor and check them out as well. I think you will be put over the edge by it.

Goatwhore: Metal Blade Records artist Goatwhore would be supporting their newest CD “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” and while they had loaned out their drummer for the Daath set, both Daath and S.W.W.A.A.T.S. would be doing the same in the bass player department based on the band no longer having Nate as a part of their lineup. As result we found Sarah from S.W.W.A.A.T.S. and Jeremy from Daath switching back and forth for songs and making the intensity that is a Goatwhore set not miss a step. Ben Falgoust spoke about this issue and said that this was a much better solution than cancelling and he was glad to have everyone’s help. To be honest this worked out really well and I didn’t notice any issues in the overall execution of their material. As long as Ben is keeping your attention focused on him and guitarist Sammy Duet is doing his thing right up in the front they shall be able to get by until a replacement for Nathan is found. The band had a very lengthy set list up on the stage which ran about fourteen numbers, but as the night progressed we found a good four of them being cut from the set. Now it was time for Abigail Williams to close up shop.

Abigail Williams: I was trying to remember where I first and last saw Abigail Williams and since it has been awhile I believe that it was when Dark Funeral played at B.B. King Blues Club about two years ago. That would sadly be the only time that I would catch them even though they had been through town a number of times. Scheduling of other shows never permitted me the chance but now I would be able to catch up and see them again. Since that time they have gone through a couple of member changes with one of the most noticeable being the absence of keyboardist Ellyeon who has been replaced by Alana. The band would be supporting their newest album “In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns” and of course their still popular “Legend” EP but the downside was that the show was now running late and would cause Willliams to need to cut their set almost in half. They would only play six songs and five of them came from the full length album while tonight’s closing tune of “Watchtower” is from the “Legend” EP. Musically I feel that Abigail Williams is really a band that is on top of their game as far as a US based Black Metal band would go, but as a supporter of the traditional style of the Scandinavian format, I find it a little odd to see a band playing Black Metal and not sporting the corpse paint. Some might disagree with me, but both Sothis and Averse Sefira are from the states and wear the stuff and are very musically adept as well. Either way, Williams still did good this evening but I feel still need to do some more opening slots before truly commanding the main stage instead of someone else. I will totally continue to support their efforts whenever possible since they sound even better than I remembered from back in 2007. A nice plus for the evening to say the least.

Overall the show was rather good and even with a few adjustments to a couple of the lineups everyone performed to their best. The downside would be the absolutely dismal attendance for this one. I had thought that the Despised Icon show which took place at this same venue back in April of this year and brought in maybe 300 Metal fans was a low draw, but tonight if there were 150 of the genres loyalists in place it would surprise me. The Gramercy holds about 600 and it splits between open floor and seats. The seats were vacant and the floor very, very roomy this evening. My guess was the fact that since two Summer Slaughter performances had happened earlier in this same week that it caused this show to be a difficult one for the fans to get to and especially those younger ones who need to convince their parents about letting them go. That was a shame since there was a lot of good stuff happening that worked together very well. Next up would either be the Ratt show or the Richie Kotzen show in terms of things brewing in our fair city and while neither of the acts is as heavy as what was witnessed this evening, each of them proves to be an interesting night for the audience that they will draw in.

Goatwhore Set List:
1. Invert The Virgin
2. Blood Guilt Eucharist
3. Forever Consumed Oblivion – omitted
4. Provoking The Ritual Of Death
5. In The Narrow Confines Of Defilement – omitted
6. The All-Destroying
7. Apocalyptic Havoc
8. Sky Inferno
9. Shadow Of A Rising Knife
10. Carving Out The Eyes Of God
11. Graveyards and Dead Angels – omitted
12. Baptized In A Storm of Swords – omitted
13. In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath
14. Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult

AW Set List:
1. The world beyond
2. Acolytes
3. Into the ashes
4. Empyrean: into the cold wastes
5. Floods
6. Watchtower

Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/abigailwilliams
Official Website: http://www.myspace,com/goatwhore
Official Website: http://www.daathmusic.com
Official Website: http://www.abysmaldawn.com
Official Website: http://www.swaats.com

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