Over the past 12 months, A.A. Williams has established herself as one of the most exciting, acclaimed talents on the UK metal scene. Not that she ever planned it that way, however. Studying piano and cello from the age of six, the London-based singer-songwriter was, for most of her childhood, much more immersed in the world of classical music – more Mozart than mosh-pits.

By her late teens, however, she became drawn to heavier, more guitar-driven music – specifically alt-metal titans Deftones. And when, one day, she discovered a discarded guitar on the street (accompanied with a note saying, ‘Please take me, just needs work’), she began learning the instrument and composing her own songs.

Those songs, over the past year, have brought lavish praise from music critics. Raw and visceral, her sound draws upon metal, post-rock and classical influences, smouldering with dark, glacial melodies and haunting atmospherics. Reflecting on matters of loss, longing and redemption, her rich, airy voice can pivot from serene to soaring in a heartbeat.

Recently signed to the venerable UK indie label Bella Union, she’s toured with the likes of Cult Of Luna, Explosions In The Sky, Nordic Giants and Sisters Of Mercy, as well as collaborating with Japanese post-rock legends MONO. She’s also been hugely productive during the recent Coronavirus lockdown, performing stunning cover versions (Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ and Nick Cave’s ‘Into Your Arms’) as part of her ‘Songs From Isolation’ video project.

Now, with her debut album Forever Blue set for release on Friday, she’ll no doubt cement her standing in the British musical firmament. The classical world’s loss is most certainly rock music’s gain.

KEY TRACK: ‘Melt’. Six minutes of bruised, bewitching vocals and dark orchestral sounds, this slow-burning epic provides the centrepiece to her forthcoming debut LP.

FOR FANS OF: Emma Ruth Rundle, Chelsea Wolfe, PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi.

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