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Agalloch - The Mantle CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.15 | 368 ratings

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5 stars This is a wonderful album. Dark, poetic, full of folkish influences, a cross between - let's say - My Dying Bride and Amorphis. It sounds very relaxing for a metal album with extreme vocals... The production is flawless, the sound is perfect... maybe the vocals could be improved a little, but like my co-reviewers would say, vocals are not the most important concern when the music is so fascinating.

"A Celebration For The Death Of Man..." is a short instrumental acoustic that introduces the main melodical theme - somehow reminds me of another band, australian fine doom metal act The Eternal. "In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion" is the epic track on this album - it extends the main theme with vocals (a mix of growls - or semi-growls - with clean vocals, the most remarkable moment being the moment where both styles blend perfectly during the verse "Here is the landscape/where is the god?/here is the sun/has he fallen"...) and awesome guitar soli (check the last one around the 12 minute mark before the coda). Then comes "Odal"... a conclusion to the trilogy that makes the first part of "The Mantle" - the first time I listened to that instrumental, I simply stood breathless for the last minute wondering what just happened... probably the most beautiful song I heard since My Dying Bride's "For My Fallen Angel". The rhythm changes when "I Am The Wooden Doors" begins... a happier song with clear folkish influences (the kind of french folkish influences that can be found on early Opeth albums, see "Black Rose Immortal" on Morningrise for example) - and even if the distorted guitar takes the lead, the acoustic guitar (and acoustic interludes) still remains strong. "The Lodge" is the third instrumental of the album... and is again completely different from the previous two - more folkish oriented with added instruments (acoustic bass and percussives). "You Were But A Ghost In My Arms" is probably the heaviest track here (and my least favorite one) - it starts with clean singing and whispering, but then the melody changes to a kind of black metal riff with double bass and harsh vocals. "The Hawthorne Passage" is a very long instrumental divided in two parts - the first half is a classic acoustic/electric guitar duet, the second half is heavier with distorted guitars. "...And The Great Cold Death Of The Earth" is the ballad of the album - although it contains a small part with harsh vocals (My Dying Bride did that too for "My Wine In Silence" on their latest album, which I find a bit strange for a ballad), it is very relaxing (double acoustic guitars, acoustic bass, mournful distorted rhythm guitar, peaceful clean vocals, ending again with the main theme - the one that can be heard during the first three tracks). "A Desolation Song" ends the album on a very sombre note - acoustic guitars/bass, accordion and mandolin come with the spoken/whispered vocals about a man drinking aroud a fire to forget his pains and sorrows. Rating: 96/100 (5 stars - highly recommended)

zaxx | 5/5 |


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