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Agalloch - The Demonstration Archive CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

2.18 | 8 ratings

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Man With Hat
2 stars Agalloch, The early years.

The Demonstration Archive is a collection of material from the youngest days of Agalloch from 1996 to 1998. This includes the most of From Which Of This Oak, the first 3/5 of Of Stone, Wind And Pillor and a demo from 1998 containing two early versions of songs from their debut CD Pale Folklore. Right off the bat this seems perfect for fans of the band who are unable to acquire the bands early material as it was first released. And in that sense this is an excellent compilation album. Not surprisingly the material here is rawer, rougher, less polished, and less brilliant than their later works, but there are still some gems to be found.

The main feature here is the two epic pieces The Wilderness and This Old Cabin, both seething with typical Agalloch features in their embryonic stage. The metal factor of Agalloch's music is also on the forefront throughout most of this release, with the folky, ambient bits more or less constrained to the shorter songs. Having said that, This Old Cabin is an excellent song that holds the listener in from the beginning and it is a shame that this song was never included anywhere else other than their first demo. The material from Of Stone, Wind And Pillor isn't bad either, showing a slightly different side of the band, and certainly alluding to the progress they made from their earliest of days. As the reviewer above me I would have loved to have Kneel To The Cross and A Poem By Yeats included on this CD (as they were the two songs left off from Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor). Alas as they say. The album finishes on a bit of an average note with two demo versions of songs fans know from the Pale Folklore album. Both of these songs (as well as As Embers Dress The Sky) do differ from their album counterparts, however I do believe I like the true album versions better.

All in all, this is a fine compilation of some of the rarer Agalloch material. The main downside should be obvious...this is essentially for the most part a collection of demos which means there are plenty of "rough edges" around the music and production. (Having said that the sound quality of the album is surprisingly good for this type of material.) The drums in particular come off as being full of awkward sounding fills and a bit amateurish. However, there is some good stuff covered in the dust of time. For that I'll rate this with 2.5 stars, rounded down being this one really is for the dedicated fans of the band, even though the material itself is closer to three stars.

Man With Hat | 2/5 |


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