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Agalloch - Pale Folklore CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.75 | 162 ratings

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5 stars The debut from Oregon's Agalloch, Pale Folklore, is quite honestly the most impressive Atmospheric Metal album I've heard since the Tiamat classic, Wildhoney. However, Agalloch sound nothing like Tiamat whatsoever, drawing inspiration from early Katatonia, In The Woods..., early Ulver, as well as a healthy amount of influence from the gothic/darkwave scene. The essence of their sound is cold, sorrowful and dark, and the music provides an absolutely perfect soundtrack to the Winter/Autumn seasons, not to mention the snow covered trees and landscapes that decorate the beautiful packaging. And it is those images that instantly enter into the mind once the disc begins with the three part epic, "She Painted Fire Across The Skyline", which opens with a cold, winter wind blowing in the distance as a mournful guitar harmony sets the stage for the duration of this piece, each part of this epic taking on a life of its own, yet returning to the theme of the intro at the end. The vocals of John Haughm are predominately performed in a slight, Black Metal rasp, which possesses a more whispered character and is the only aspect of Agalloch's sound that could be linked to the Black genre. In other places, he uses a clean singing approach which offsets the harsher vocals effectively, sometimes accompanied by a female vocalist. "The Misshapen Steed" is an ambient instrumental so painful in its melancholy that it's almost too much to take..."As Embers Dress The Sky" and "Dead Winter Days" are carried by mournful melodies decorated by acoustic passages , while album closer "The Melancholy Spirit" is drenched in, as the title suggests, melancholy, expressing a lonely, cold and desperate emotion.

Pale Folklore is an album that can provide quite a companion during long, cold winter nights.Yet I have found the atmosphere of this album to be greatly enhanced while listening to it during the grey skied evenings of the cold season, staring out the window watching the leafless trees in their desolate beauty sway with the chill breeze. There is much to offer on Pale Folklore in terms of emotion, musicianship and of course, atmosphere and highly recommended to anyone whose musical tastes lean towards the cold, dark and melancholic.

bleak | 5/5 |


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