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Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain CD (album) cover

ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN

Agalloch

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.80 | 181 ratings

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progbethyname
5 stars AGALLOCH CREATE A UNIQUE AND DARK ALBUM WITH ASHES OF THE GRAIN.'

Following the winning formula that AGALLOCH did with their previous release THE MANTLE, the amazing guitar interplay is once again at hand.'

AGALLOCH create very unique and interesting music is the Progressive metal world, which is why many consider them as an experimental band. This is rightly so and highly evident on ASHES TO THE GRAIN. There are not too many bands that can blend an Acoustic guitar, electric guitar and noise-scape bass sequences firing off so beautifully and simultaneously as well as AGALLOCH. Indeed, AGALLOCH are a tremendously unique band.'

I must say I had an incredible time and experience listening to AGALLOCH's dark, conceptual album about the very foibles of the lyrical mind of JOHN HAUGHM's recited tortured depiction of the human soul, that is in complete agony and suffering. Sounds like a good time, right? Well actually, it is because the musical expression to convey the feelings of what ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN represents is astonishing. The listener is treated with so much with ASHES. I absolutely love this album from the opening track, LIMBS where right away the listener is sucked into an electric guitar distortion that is almost ambient like. Continuing the unique trend, THE WAVES (track 5) has this grabbing nature that hooks you into a world of the most exquisite guitar interplay that any prog metal fan would enjoy. Having the acoustic guitar being played so delicately and accompanied by an electric 5-string at the same time is something to be truly appreciated and admired. Other tracks on the album (9 in total) follow suit with this formula with some slight differences here and there like the use of an EBOW by HAUGHM on the track 'FIRE ABOVE, ICE BELOW.' Truly, a wonderful offering. Also the PIANO from editor, sound mixer and producer RON CHICK, is played beautifully on LIMBS & OUR FORTRESS IS BURNING. CHICK even adds some 'pretty nifty noise samplings on WAVES as well to help create the moody atmosphere on the track. Needless to say, CHICK is like the 5th member of the band. ;)

All in all, what I like most about AGALLOCH is that they have this ability to play like a tech extreme metal band without the blinding speed of course. The guitar passages are long, repetitious (in a good way though!) and very technical, especially since the foundation of AGALLOCH's sound is a dual guitar wielding of an acoustic and electric sequences. Also, the vocals by HAUGHM are sparse throughout the album much in vein of the tech extreme style. HAUGHM voice offers harsh, death growl vocals as well as a soft, steady melodic pitch that can be greatly appreciated, especially for those who are a fan of the interchangeable pitch tones offered by the likes of MIKAEL AKERFELDT(OPETH) BURTON C. BELL (FEAR FACTORY) and even TRENT REZNOR for that matter.'

Thus, ASHES OF THE GRAIN has created a very lasting impression on me. I am simply captivated by the unique genre and style of music they accompany. They even offer an ambient style that is so hypnotizing its incredible. For instance, the last track on the album (OUR FORTRESS IS BURNING pt3 THE GRAIN) will darkly sedate the listener with an ethereal sound offering that sounds so similar to London's IDM and electronic group AUTECHRE, where off their album GARBAGE they created a track called VLETRMX and I really do urge proggers to listen to that track to hear where influences can be traced. ;)

I really have nothing very critical to say about AGALLOCH's ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN. I think maybe where people might feel a bit jaded or disappointed is that ASHES really doesn't stray that far away by how THE MANTLE sounds. Thus, I know proggers, even like myself, always crave difference or innovation but this time around I have to go against that grain because THE MANTLE is a masterpiece and so is ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN. 'Sometimes it's best to stick with a winning formula and not stray away from what really works sound wise. I respect AGALLOCH's approach to continue and breed their success for at least one more album.'

' 5 big ones.'

progbethyname | 5/5 |

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