Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.84 | 189 ratings

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2 stars Cards on the table: I'm not a post-metal fan. Largely because I'm a metal fan, and so post metal seems to me to be an attempt to create elevator music out of a genre specifically designed to hit your eardrums like a satanic crowbar to the face. In fact, I'm not really a huge fan of any sort of background music - it is the big reason why I can never understand people who claim to like Coldplay; to me such music is a sort of auditory blind spot, listening to it is like trying to focus your eyes on the periphery of your vision. It just doesn't work, there is nothing there to listen to. Even when I have music on in the background, I like it to fill my ears still, to feel full and powerful, to hold me whether warmly or in a grip of icy sadness. Even when I want to focus on studying, I still put bands like Van Der Graaf Generator or King Crimson on. Music with a foreground.

So I was never going to rave in a captivated manner about the brilliance of Agalloch's 'Ashes Against The Grain'. It isn't my genre of choice, despite it's chilly black metal elements which, incidentally, seem to have been phased out slightly compared to 'Pale Folklore', making this more post than metal.

It is a solid enough album though. Atmospheric, in its own way, but that same generic melancholic coldness you get from all black metal influenced post-metal albums. There is little here that is innovative - or, if it turns out that this was the first album of this kind, there is still little to set it aside from the crowd in 2010.

It's good enough, perhaps, certainly it isn't offensive; it can sit comfortably on my speakers whilst I chat to my friends on msn, or read a book. It doesn't offend me in any way, but I am still left with a feeling afterwards of not being sure if I've actually listened to anything. It just doesn't sink in ? this despite several listens before writing this review.

There are, I must admit, some nice tracks here' my favourite being the brief instrumental, "This White Mountain On Which You Will Die" which is unexpectedly pretty.

My verdict overall: get it if you like this sort of music, you'll enjoy it. Otherwise, don't spend your money on it. Better, more inventive musicians than this have created more vivid and more moving atmospheres.


stranded_starfish | 2/5 |


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