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AGALLOCH

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Agalloch biography
Formed in Portland, Oregon, USA in 1995 - Disbanded in 2016

The essence of AGALLOCH'S music is a combination of cold, dark sorrow and natural aesthetic beauty. The foundation of the band began in late 1995 when a doom/death project called Aeolachrymae was reduced to a pile of ash. From those ashes, three bands were born - SUSURRUS INANIS, NOTHING and AGALLOCH. The primary goal in the beginning was to create majestic and epic dark metal. This vision was shared by the two main creators; John Haughm and Shane Breyer. In early 1996, a few songs slowly started to take form and in the summer, a second guitarist, Don Anderson was found. Later in the autumn, the debut demo "From Which Of This Oak" was recorded and shortly after its release, a permanent bassist - Jason William Walton Joined the effort. In early 1998 AGALLOCH recorded a new promo tape for labels only. The uniqueness of that promo earned the band a deal with The End Records and in January of 1999 they entered the studio to record their debut album.

The album, entitled "Pale Folklore", was released in June of 1999 and received much acclaim for it's grim concepts and folkloric aesthetics. Throughout 2000, the band kept a very low profile until finally emerging again with the release of a limited MCD entitled "Of Stone, Wind and Pillor" in mid 2001. This is a collection of unreleased material from 1998 - 2001 and includes a cover of Sol Invictus' "Kneel to The Cross". This cover also appears on Cynfierdd's "Sol Lucet Omnibus", a 2CD tribute to SOL INVICTUS. From late 2001 - early 2002, the band recorded their second album. Entitled "The Mantle", the album is a 70 minute epic which brings to life a darker, more bleak view of the world through more transcendental, existential, and nihilistic motifs. "The Mantle" is an expression of longing, decay, and the desperation of hope.

In 2006, the band released their third full length album "Ashes Against The Grain", which marked a shift towards a more stripped down sound compared to previous releases. Following in 2008 was "The White EP", a limited release which saw an increased aesthetical focus on acoustics and ambient soundscapes. AGALLOCH are set to release their fourth studio album, entitled "Marrow of the Spirit" in November of 2010. The release includes Aesop Dekker on drums, Dekker has previously toured and performed with AGALLOCH following the release of "Ashes Against The Grain". AGALLOCH also released a live DVD named "The Sile...
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Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)
Remastered
BMG/The End Records 2016
Audio CD$9.73
$9.72 (used)
Ashes Against The Grain (Digipack Reissue)Ashes Against The Grain (Digipack Reissue)
BMG/The End Records 2016
Audio CD$6.99
$11.06 (used)
The Mantle (Digipack Reissue)The Mantle (Digipack Reissue)
BMG/The End Records 2016
Audio CD$8.26
$8.25 (used)
The Serpent & The SphereThe Serpent & The Sphere
Profound Lore 2014
Audio CD$9.99
$7.50 (used)
Marrow of the SpiritMarrow of the Spirit
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$17.93
$17.93 (used)
Agalloch: Ashes Against The Grain Vinyl 2LPAgalloch: Ashes Against The Grain Vinyl 2LP
The End Records
Vinyl$35.99
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AGALLOCH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AGALLOCH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 148 ratings
Pale Folklore
1998
4.13 | 343 ratings
The Mantle
2002
3.84 | 207 ratings
Ashes Against The Grain
2006
3.93 | 193 ratings
Marrow Of The Spirit
2010
3.76 | 77 ratings
The Serpent & The Sphere
2014

AGALLOCH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AGALLOCH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.14 | 13 ratings
The Silence of Forgotten Landscapes
2009

AGALLOCH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.18 | 8 ratings
The Demonstration Archive
2008
4.25 | 4 ratings
The Compendium Archive
2010
4.60 | 5 ratings
Whitedivisiongrey
2011

AGALLOCH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 23 ratings
From Which of this Oak
1996
3.29 | 37 ratings
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
2001
2.26 | 23 ratings
Tomorrow Will Never Come
2003
2.06 | 28 ratings
The Grey
2004
3.55 | 56 ratings
The White EP
2008
4.39 | 33 ratings
Faustian Echoes
2012
3.67 | 6 ratings
Celestial Effigy
2014

AGALLOCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 193 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I absolutely love Agalloch, and this atmospheric black metal genre. I have other bands that fit this style of music, but none that are as good as Agalloch. There is a reason why Agalloch is being used as a tag for other web sites, and why groups are compared to them. They are absolutely the best at what they do. I can change my mind each week as to which album is my favorite, but I always return to Marrow of the Spirit. Into the Painted Grey is just a stunning work of art, and all the surrounding tracks are just as stellar. Marrow of the Spirit is likely their most atmospheric full album excluding singles and EPs. I find Agalloch to be one of my favorite bands to work to, and this album in particular, is just perfection. It is highly recommended as a starting point into this fantastic band.
 Pale Folklore by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 148 ratings

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Pale Folklore
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars Atmospheric and stunning! I am just getting into Agalloch late, so I am absorbing the collection at one time. I enjoy Pale Folklore more than The Mantle, but they are both great albums. This is really an excellent place to start, and work your way through all the albums. With such an amazing catalog of music, it is really hard to go wrong. Pale Folklore has elements of post-rock, operatic vocals for layers of texture, and of course excellent musicianship and songwriting. I have no complaints with this excellent debut, and feel it deserves a 4.5/5 rating. She Painted Fire Across The Skyline parts 1,2 and 3 is just an incredible suite and a worthy addition to any collection.
 Pale Folklore by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 148 ratings

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Pale Folklore
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Agalloch's debut album sets out the stall for what the band would offer for much of their subsequent career: an intricate mixture of influences from atmospheric black metal, post-rock, folk metal, and just plain traditional folk, combined into an intriguing mixture. One of the things which keep Agalloch interesting as a group is that whilst most of those ingredients are present to one extent or another on most of their albums, at the same time the centre of gravity shifts about, making each album a distinct and different proposition. Pale Folklore, for its part, seems to me to be centred in a deliciously accessible brand of folky metal which gives way to darker currents as the album progresses, and is a worthy part of the group's musical progression.
 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 193 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by RuntimeError

5 stars Agalloch combined their earlier ideas and crafted a timeless masterpiece.

This is generally a misunderstood album by Agalloch fans. It doesn't feature the purity and inescapable solitude of 'Ashes', neither it features the examination of natural beauty like in 'The Mantle'. What it does however, is finally achieving Agalloch's vision of translating vision into sound. When the album starts with the cello piece, you are instantly dragged into a path you do not know leads. I don't think I've ever seen the cover art resembling the album athmosphere so well. When this grandeur path ends, a valley of horror, fear and death opens up with 'Into The Painted Grey' - one of my favourite Agalloch pieces. The first blastbeats and amazing tremolo picking melody transfers your mind to another plane. It's good that Agalloch decided to ditch the overproduced digital style and try something raw and violent. It certainly works here. 'Into The Painted Grey' dismantle into very athmospheric guitar work and toms start to come in and at last the vocals along with some standard Agalloch riffing. This song goes through many stages finally achieving a magnificent climax at the end.

'The Watcher's Monolith' starts slowly while holding the tension from the last song and it climaxes into very simple melody accompanied by heavy pounding drums and vocals. The outro serves as a path to the next song: 'Black Lake Nidstňng' . This horrifying masterpiece showcases why Agalloch is so loved by many. The screaming 'Nithing Pole' vocals are absolutely terrific in every way. At first listen this song might seem rather dragging but everything here serves a purpose.

'Ghost of Midwinter Fires' is the weakest song unfortunately. I wished they had thought of something more original after the previous masterpiece. It's not bad of course, but somehow it doesn't succesfully hold the athmosphere set by previous songs.

'To Drown' is a post-rock type of song where Haughm whispers his epic lyrics. This song is so haunting and beautiful that I cannot put the emotions into words. Listen to yourself!

5/5 - a masterpiece

 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 193 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Progmatist

5 stars Another modern masterpiece put out by the now defunct (and much mourned) Agalloch. If you would have told me 10 years ago (when I was spinning anything sporting Neal Morse or otherwise donning the label of symphonic progressive rock) that my favorite band in 10 years would be a growling, foreboding death metal band, I would have had serious questions about what in the world must have happened to my life in between. But Agalloch quickly became one of my overall favorite modern bands in light of their raw but keenly sophisticated blend of metal, harmony, and space, and Marrow of the Spirit is an excellent example of Agalloch at its finest. Here, you have crushing guitars, thundering double bass, but also an almost shoegazer quality of atmosphere and space. The buildups are intense, emotional, and cathartic, and the extended instrumental passages are refreshing, spacey, and lend greater weight and significance to the thrashing guitars and raspy growls that are to come. If The Mantle is a contemplative walk through a wooded deathland, Marrow of the Spirit is a tormented trek through a haunted forest. At once frenzied and tortured, at other times beautiful and awe-inspiring, Marrow of the Spirit exemplifies the brutality and beauty of man's relationship with nature and of the band that captured that essence better than any I've known.
 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 77 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Progmatist

4 stars If it weren't for a fairly disappointing album opener and a few slower moments, this would be yet another five-star Agalloch album for me. Truthfully, I feel that The Serpent and the Sphere might just be Agalloch's most sophisticated and mature release to date, and not just because it happens to be their most recent (and regrettably, last). For me, I hear a band truly coming into its own on this record. The riffs are tighter, the bass is more influential, the drumming is more musical, and there is a real sense of melody holding the entire album together. This is a beautifully coherent piece, and it is something I think the band should be immensely proud of as their last work together. The album is sure to please any die-hard Agalloch fan (like myself), but there are also several surprises here. Two acoustic interludes, although a bit too long in my opinion, tie the album together nicely, and the band cleverly chooses to close out the album in instrumental fashion, a welcome surprise and one that makes total sense in light of the album's concept of infinity and creation. I will be mourning the loss of this band for quite some time.
 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 77 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of my co-workers who I give a ride to and from work asked me the other day if i'd heard of AGALLOCH. Well the answer was yes and he went on and on about them. He's a Death Metal fan and said he's ordered all of their music. It was this album that got his attention so I thought it was high time I reviewed it. This is AGALLOCH's fifth studio album and the majority feel it's also the fifth best, yet many of those including Conor and Jonas feel it's still a 4 star recording. For my taste this isn't just barely 4 stars but closer to 4.5 stars, i've enjoyed the hell out of this one. By the way these guys have released a studio album every four years without fail.

"Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation" is a good rainy day tune with those depressing guitar leads and the overall sound. We get an acoustic guitar intro that lasts over a minute before the heaviness arrives. Strummed guitar only before 3 minutes but then it kicks into gear once again. Vocals after 4 1/2 minutes and they will come and go in this mid-paced doomy track. "(Serpens Caput)" is a 3 minute track of acoustic guitar melodies along with some atmosphere. "The Astral Dialogue" is heavy with some fast paced drumming before a minute. Vocals join in and then we get guitar only 2 1/2 minutes in. Cool. It then kicks back in. "Dark Matter Gods" is a top three tune for me. The sound is almost brighter here and uptempo as the vocals come and go. There's some amazing moments in this one including the sound 6 minutes in and a minute later. So good!

"Celestial Effigy" is another top three track for me. The drums, bass and guitar all sound incredible here. Vocals before 2 minutes and check out the atmosphere after 3 minutes which is almost mellotron-like. It then picks up again. "Cor Serpentis(The Sphere)" is a pleasant acoustic guitar driven piece at around 3 minutes in length. "Vales beyond Dimension" builds nicely but then it settles and the vocals join in around 1 1/2 minutes. Spoken words too a minute later in this melancholic piece, especially the guitar leads. "Plateau Of The Ages" is my final top three. This is the longest song at around 12 1/2 minutes. Atmosphere to open as the electric guitar is picked. It turns heavier 2 minutes in as some excellent guitar solos come and go over top. There's even some Post-Rock styled guitar 4 1/2 minutes in that lasts for some time. Love the guitar throughout this one. Tribal-like drumming 9 1/2 minutes in and they are kicking ass 11 minutes in. "(Serpens Cauda)" ends the album as we get acoustic guitar and atmosphere leading the way, the guitar is beautiful I must say.

Another solid album from these boys who have in my opinion been very consistent throughout their career. Great album!

 Ashes Against The Grain by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.84 | 207 ratings

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Ashes Against The Grain
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

4 stars Agalloch's 'Ashes Against The Grain' is the third full-length studio album from the Portland metal band and is really quite a significant departure from the musical style developed on their previous album, 'The Mantle'. I remember listening to this album when it first came out, fully expecting a continuation of the folk-metal from their previous album, but instead hearing a far heavier record rooted firmly in the post-metal genre. The compositions are almost Isis or Cult Of Luna like at times, such is their heaviness.

Almost none of the folk-metal sound, which had been the bands trademark before, exists on this album. There is still a very unique Agalloch sound on this record - the black metal tremolo picking over the wall-of-sound sludgy guitars and the stark but effective drumming. But in 'Ashes' the clean vocals of John Haughm are entirely gone, almost all of the softer acoustic guitar moments are gone as well. The music is dense and, at times, stark. But the result is still as breathtaking as 'The Mantle', just in a different way. Instead of rehashing 'The Mantle', which is an album I consider to be the peak output for the band, Agalloch decided to take an entirely different route in 'Ashes'.

The compositions are long and full of suspense and build-up. The opening track alone has almost five minutes of build-up before Haughm's brilliant raspy vocals kick in. Every song on this album is a little bit different, but all rooted in a very heavy post-metal style. The focus is on the instruments and the musical progression rather than the vocals. There are very few lyrics on this album, and they only rarely intersect with the instrumental passages. Despite the density of the compositions there is a certain sense of freedom throughout this record. Haughm holds back on his voice enough to allow everyone in the band plenty of time to shine, and the result is that the vocal sections, when they do appear, are even more powerful for the listener and really grab your attention.

Every song on here is pure gold, none more so than the opening track 'Limbs' or the utterly epic three-part trilogy at the end of the record, 'Our Fortress Is Burning'. The second part of the trilogy in particular, 'Bloodbirds', gives me chills every time I hear it - the atmosphere is divine. That tremolo picking riff, first with the acoustic guitar and then with the distorted guitar is a work of genius. The final track as well is an amazing piece of electronic music, rooted in a style known as Musique Concrete.

On a bit of a side note when I studied Music at university I learned about an obscure technique used occasionally in electronic music known as granulation. This involves chopping up a stream of sound into tiny pieces, known as grains, and then rearranging them in semi-random order with overlapping between the different grains. This technique is a bit like cutting a film strip into tiny pieces, throwing them in the air and re-compositing them together in whatever order they fell and playing back the result. I mention this because the final track of the album has judicious use of this granulation technique, and its interesting to note that Agalloch knew of this technique and chose to apply it! Either that or their producer/engineer knew of the technique and talked them into using it on their record closer because it fits oh-so-well with their album title!

Final thoughts on this record are that I love it, its a work of art, brilliant compositions... But, for my worth, I still rate 'The Mantle' higher than this so I'll 'only' give it 4-stars. Seriously though, this is a brilliant album by one of the most creative and unique bands on the planet and should be heard by anyone even remotely interested in heavier progressive music... 4-stars!

 The Mantle by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.13 | 343 ratings

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The Mantle
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

5 stars Agalloch's 'The Mantle' is one of the most perfect blending's of pastoral folk music and extreme metal I've ever heard - its also one of the most thoroughly depressing albums in my collection. This is not music for anyone feeling down or unhappy as it might just push you over the edge. The music is mournful and laden with sorrow, the vocals are emotional and the lyrics utterly bleak.

Musically what we have on 'The Mantle' is deeply atmospheric acoustic guitar driven music with a black metal edge. There are definitely a couple of songs on the record where the black metal style takes over almost entirely, but I wouldn't really call this album black/extreme metal - it has far more 'folky' acoustic moments than anything else. Not to mention that clean vocals dominate, and it is the extreme vocal style, which honestly aren't that extreme on this album, that are put to the side.

In many of the songs it is the acoustic guitar which leads the compositions, and the distortion guitar provides a textured background. Vocally John Haughm is absolutely spot-on in this record, both his raspy 'extreme' vocals and his clean voice are brilliantly executed. There are a great many highlights on this album, none more so than the third track, the instrumental 'Odal' or the lengthy instrumental 'The Hawthorne Passage'.

In many ways 'The Mantle' is the odd one out in the Agalloch discography. It is both totally unique from what came before, 'Pale Folklore', and what came afterwards, 'Ashes Against The Grain'. This is an album from a band not afraid to create a unique piece of art with each release, not caring how it would fit within their discography. It is also the only Agalloch album to feature a great many instrumental tracks, occupying 25 minutes of the total playtime.

Whilst I would say that 'Pale Folklore' and the albums after 'The Mantle' might only be suitable for fans of extreme metal I would definitely encourage any progressive rock fan to check out 'The Mantle'. Yes it does have some 'extreme' moments which might put you off, but there are also some really beautiful instrumental sections which I think might appeal. I'm reluctant to give too many albums a 5-star rating as it diminishes the significance of that rating, but with 'The Mantle' I can't think of any other rating. Easily their best work to-date and for my worth their only 5-star record. Unique, atmospheric and soulful. 5-stars.

 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 77 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by AndyJ

3 stars Agalloch's 'The Serpent And The Sphere' is the fifth full length album from the Portland based experimental metal band, and it finds the band stuttering and struggling for creativity.

It pains me to describe this record in such a way. Agalloch have long been a firm favourite of mine, their first three full-length works; 'Pale Folklore', 'The Mantle' and 'Ashes Against The Grain', I consider to be truly excellent recordings and utterly essential. However the style of music the band developed on the 2006 album 'Ashes Against The Grain' has now been repeated for the last two outings without much, if any variation, and in my opinion to a lower standard than the afore mentioned 'Ashes'.

Now it isn't to say that 'The Serpent' isn't good, it just feels rather too derivative of the previous outputs from this band. There isn't anything particularly ground-breaking here. Where-as the first three albums were all unique and different to each other, and showed a band progressing and trying new things, with this record, and its predecessor, 'Marrow Of The Spirit', Agalloch feel more like they are stuck in a formula.

Furthermore the feeling I get from this record is a sense of exclusiveness (rather than inclusiveness) and it's somewhat cold towards the listener, particularly with the crushingly heavy but rather sterile opening 10 minute track. When I listen to an Agalloch album I want, above all else, a sense of atmosphere. Unfortunately that feels somewhat lacking here. If you weren't already familiar with the post metal style I doubt that 'The Serpent' would win you over.

But I feel I am being a little critical with my review up until now. Be under no doubt, there are some excellent moments here, particularly in the tracks 'Dark Matter Gods', and the (almost) closing track 'Plateau of the Ages'. Agalloch are a band I hold in the highest regards, I love their approach to metal and music in general, I just feel that with 'The Serpent And The Sphere' they were running on empty a little bit in terms of creativity.

I'd suggest any new listeners to Agalloch should probably start with either 'The Mantle' or 'Ashes Against The Grain'. This is a good, but not essential. Very definitely 3-stars.

Thanks to Littlewashu5 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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