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Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.84 | 213 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars We have tracked Agalloch's progression through their EP's and albums, culminating in their absolute masterpiece, "The Mantle". One of the extremely few albums I would give a six star rating. So, what is a band suppose to do after something like that? Well, keep on moving of course.

With this album virtually all traces of black metal, (sans some vocals) have been removed, and polished off with a pristine sound quality. Much of the folky elements are also greatly toned down. The result is a more stripped down and straightforward Agalloch. This is their most post metal album yet, with lengthy compositions ripe with progression, builds, more riffs and nuanced songwriting than we've seen, and overall more streamlined feel. While this may be a natural progression, it thus lacks The Mantle's perpetual melancholy and bleakness. Think of The Mantle like a lake, while Ashes is a river.

With all that out of the way, this album begins strong with two of Agalloch's best songs, and the absolutely incredible "Falling Snow". A nice segue takes us into two nice post metal songs. "Not Unlike the Waves" has some great riffing and some true black metal high pitched, blood curdling shrieks. I'm talking out of Burzum's book here.

The album ends on a three piece suite, opposite of Pale Folklore. Really great stuff, and Bloodbirds is one hell of a powerful movement. Sadly, the album goes out on a lackluster note. More of a soundscape than a song, it is not bad at all but doesn't do much for me. I am sure it has its place and meaning, but just doesn't do it for me. Otherwise this is a pretty much perfect album.

Excellent album. Really, deserving of a 4.8 or 4.9 (but if it's not a 5 star than it's not)


Four Stars

JJLehto | 4/5 |


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