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Agalloch - Faustian Echoes CD (album) cover

FAUSTIAN ECHOES

Agalloch

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.30 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kluseba
5 stars Agalloch are back with a new EP and the longest single song they have written to date that turns around the brilliant epic masterpiece "Faust" by the famous German writer, artist and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Anybody who cares a tiny little bit for classic litterature should check this author out and especially the tragic play in two parts that inspired Agalloch to create their new masterpiece. To give you an idea of the lyrical content of this release, let me briefly resume the two parts of Goethe's famous play. In the first part, the old scientist, teacher and researcher Heinrich Faust realizes that he had no success in his closed minded career and especially in his private life. He decides to make a pact with Mephisto who transforms him into a young man again. Faust is able to develop a relationship to the young Margarete that soon gets pregnant. But the married woman kills her child as soon as it's born and is driven insane by the drama she is going through. She is condamned to get executed and even Faust can't save her from the final judgement. The second part rather touches cultural topics. Faust tries to satisfy the ideals of the classic era by searching perfection in all kind of abilities but ultimately fails over and over again. He realizes that he can't control the devil he has made the deal with who makes a powerful but egoistic human being out of him and finishes by claiming his soul. I won't tell you how the stories of both parts end and recommand you to read both plays if my description intrigued you a little bit.

Now, let's talk about the music. I was a little bit disappointed by the band's last full length release "Marrow Of The Spirit" that was too cerebral in my opinion and had many unnecessary lengths and lacked of a coherent flow. It surely had its moments but it was rather hard to digest and not easy to get an access to it. "Faustian Echoes" simply resumes everything Agalloch stands for in one single song that may seem complex at first try but that gets better each time you try it out again. This song is a true grower and has a much easier access as the last full length release. Its smooth but not too slow and finds just the right balance.

The song features dark narrative passages that give the track its structure that is divided into several parts just like a theatre play. The overall flow of the track is calm and melancholic. The electric guitar chords as well as the acoustic guitar passages are truly beautiful. They have a dark and depressive touch but are still filled with hope and passion. With the help of decent and not artificially sounding or too dominant keyboard samples, they build up a cinematic and epic atmosphere throughout the entire track. This is cinema for your ears and entirely without symphonic approaches.

The melodic doom parts are sometimes interrupted by some blackened parts with harsh vocals that come as a welcome change of style without taking too much space. The drums get fast and chaotic at those points and fit to the doom tragedy of the lyrical topic. The vocals are atmospheric, grim and intense and are well employed. I would like to hear more vocal efforts of this quality in the extreme metal scene. They sound emotional but professional and don't take too much space.

The instruments play the biggest role in here. Between the calm parts when the instruments are dying away to the short thunderlike epic black metal parts, the song constantly evolves and smoothly changes every few minutes. The different passages are well elaborated through interludes and never seem out of space. The changes are often only small but always follow a clear guiding line and contain enough variation to remain entertaining. The twenty minutes pass very quickly and don't seem too long. It was also a good idea to stop at this point as I feel that everything has been said at the end of the track.

Above all musical innovation is the magic atmosphere of the track that drowns you into a dark fantastic world of shattered dreams and illusions without losing a little glimpse of hope. Agalloch keep the whole thing simple without adding anything too progressive or any avant-garde stuff. This helps a lot to create the atmosphere that is worthy of the great theatre play they were inspired by. The final result finds just the right balance between calm and fast parts, between raw sounds and crystal clear passages, between vocal or narrative and long instrumental parts.

This track is definitely one of the strongest ones this creative American band has ever written. It's truly close to perfection and the track easily pulls you into its spell from the atmospheric introduction on up to the narratiev closure. It's a track to plunge into and it doesn't take much time to get addicted to this musical drug. Just sit down with your earphones in a shady room, give yourself a break and close your eyes and you will easily be aware of the profound greatness of this song. Agalloch don't need an entire album or several tracks to bring their message as this song easily represents everything they need to tell. It will be tough to top this stuff. Any fan should praise this new release and it's also an ideal introduction to anyone that has yet to discover the band.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on July 18th of the year 2012.

kluseba | 5/5 |

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