The Phoenix, AZ-based extreme metal band Abigail Williams experienced some lineup changes after their 2006 recording Legend. Some bands can go through numerous lineup changes and still keep the same sound year after year, but for others, lineup changes mean changing their sound -- and In the Shadow of 1000 Suns, Abigail Williams' first full-length album, is definitely a change from the EP Legend. This 2008 release isn't an ultra-radical departure from Legend; Abigail Williams still focus on extreme metal, and it isn't as though they reinvented themselves as an emo band or a dance-pop group. But while Legend is best described as death metal/black metal with metalcore influences, In the Shadow of 1000 Suns is more in the symphonic black metal vein. Abigail Williams have dropped the metalcore influences and greatly decreased the death metal influences, and an American band that was American-sounding on Legend becomes even more European-sounding on In the Shadow of 1000 Suns. Much of the album is flat-out vicious, but this time, melody is a higher priority. And while the material on this 46-minute CD is derivative, it is also undeniably well-executed. Keyboardist Ashley Ellyllon (a rare example of a female musician playing black metal) adds a lot in the way of dark atmospherics, and lead singer/guitarist Ken Sorceron provides a nasty black metal rasp that could peel paint. In the Shadow of 1000 Suns doesn't pretend to point black metal in any new directions, but it's a respectable outing and shows how enjoyably well American black metallers can emulate their European counterparts when they put their minds to it.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson