Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.84 | 189 ratings

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3 stars The follow up to the wonderful The Mantle, Agalloch basically shuns what I thought made The Mantle so good, and that is the acoustic guitar. Whereas The Mantle had a great balance between acoustic and electric and used the two to weave wonderfully layered melodies, AATG attempts to get those same layers with almost exclusively electric. The effect just does not live up to what came before. The sound is much heavier throughout and just does not paint the same despair and melancholy as The Mantle. These guys still show off their sizable talents and there are very good hooks throughout. I just feel that by limiting themselves in an attempt to change up their sound and not make the same album again, the end product has suffered.

Other negatives are that they cut back on the clean vocals and upped the cookie monster. Also, the last section of Our Fortress is Burning is a throw away seven minutes. It is an atmospheric section that does not use conventional instruments and grows tiresome in short order.

After all the negatives, this is still at least 3 stars. It has good songs and any big fan of Agalloch will like it. Many fans like it better than The Mantle but I am certainly not one of them. Coming from Oregon, these guys are a rare breed and do what they do very well. Let's just hope they get back to that high level on their next full length studio album.

johnobvious | 3/5 |


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