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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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Ashes Against The Grain (Remastered) (2xLP Gatefold Vinyl)Ashes Against The Grain (Remastered) (2xLP Gatefold Vinyl)
Remastered
BMG/The End Records 2016
$19.51
Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)
Remastered
BMG/The End Records 2016
$9.48
$10.11 (used)
The MantleThe Mantle
The End Records 2002
$4.87 (used)
The Serpent & The SphereThe Serpent & The Sphere
Profound Lore 2014
$9.99
$11.14 (used)
Marrow of the SpiritMarrow of the Spirit
Profound Lore 2010
$20.00 (used)
The Mantle by AGALLOCHThe Mantle by AGALLOCH
The End Records
$32.35 (used)
Of Stone, Wind, and PillorOf Stone, Wind, and Pillor
The End Records 2002
$19.99 (used)
Faustian Echoes EPFaustian Echoes EP
Dammerung Arts
$39.99
$24.99 (used)
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DEPRESY a grand magnificence EP ORIG 1998 SHINDY PROD-agalloch,alcest,ulver USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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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)

3.75 | 156 ratings
Pale Folklore
1998
4.13 | 354 ratings
The Mantle
2002
3.85 | 218 ratings
Ashes Against The Grain
2006
3.92 | 201 ratings
Marrow Of The Spirit
2010
3.75 | 83 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)

4.00 | 14 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
2.28 | 23 ratings
Tomorrow Will Never Come
2003
2.06 | 28 ratings
The Grey
2004
3.50 | 61 ratings
The White EP
2008
4.38 | 34 ratings
Faustian Echoes
2012
3.71 | 7 ratings
Celestial Effigy
2014

AGALLOCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The White EP by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
3.50 | 61 ratings

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The White EP
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "The White EP" by Agalloch, is quite a study in minimalism with a lot of atmospheric ambience. The band uses quite a variety of instruments in this mostly instrumental album, but the songs are still quite minimal. Many write this off as being only an ambient album, but it is much more than that. It is the sound of loneliness in nature, while seeming minimal, it's still powerful. It is also very dark and forboding, but a natural, woodsy feel permeates the entire EP. It is a beautiful

The first track "The Isle of Summer" is mostly acoustic guitar and some natural sounds and start out with the sounds of children singing. The singing is actually a snippet from the movie "The Wicker Man". "Birch Black" features an electric guitar with some percussion, but still keeping things minimal. "Hollow Stone" is very ambient and mostly performed with synthesizers. It ends with some echoing vocals. "Pantheist" is mostly acoustic with some minimal percussion. At around the 3 minute mark, it becomes more intense with some electric guitar and some wordless vocals harmonizing with each other thrown in.

"Birch White" is a little cheerier with acoustic guitars, an accordion and spoken vocals. The Vocals are a recitation of the poem "Birch Tree" read by the lead vocalist and written by A.S.J. Tessimond. "Sowilo Rose" is a piano accompanied by a strummed acoustic guitar and a little atmospheric synth added in for ambience. There are some whispered vocals by Don from text . Soon there is some electric guitar added in and the synths become more apparent towards the end. More snippets from "The Wicker Man" are added in at the end. "Summerisle Reprise" is led off with solo piano with the sustain pedal held down for a nice echo effect. It also ends with more samples from "The Wicker Man".

The mood doesn't change much, or at least for long periods of time, as it remains mostly slow and quiet throughout the EP. This is quite a change of pace for the band, but the tracks themselves are actually taken from various sessions between 2004 and 2007. As such, it surprisingly stays cohesive throughout, and this is probably helped by the use of samples from the movie. But the overall feeling is loneliness and the atmosphere is very organic. The style is still neo-folk, but the metal aspect, for the most part, is left out of this EP. Yet it's still believable coming from this band as they are know to experiment and try new things, which makes them an excellent band.

This album, however, is not the best one to start out with if you want to be introduced to the music of Agalloch. Lovers of acoustic and organic music will probably like this, and those interested in Neo-Folk and the natural feel of natural pagan music, such as "Current 93" or "Nest" will appreciate it also. It does tend to wear itself out by the end, as a little variety would have been nice, like a jig or something, but it's still a decent EP.

 Ashes Against The Grain by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.85 | 218 ratings

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Ashes Against The Grain
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It was 4 years after Agalloch released their masterpiece 'The Mantle' that they would release their follow up. The band had been performing songs from 'The Mantle' and learned that they had to either bring along a lot more instruments and support, or revise their songs so they could be recreated in a concert setting without so much equipment and musicians tagging along. This led to the decision to make this album, 'Ashes Against the Grain' a more stripped down affair. Stripped down did not necessarily mean a more acoustic album, or a softer album at all, it meant less equipment to make the required sound the band was reaching for. Thus, this album is decidedly more electric and heavy but only requiring a minimal amount of equipment to recreate it in concert.

However, this stripped down album, ended up sounding to polished, according to the band. They also consider it the worst album they have ever made. They preferred the rawness of their previous album and EPs over this too perfect sound. And, honestly, they do have a point. But considering this their worst album might be a stretch, and they have definitely set a high enough bar, that their worst album could be considered a best if it was put out by any of their Folk Metal/Black Metal peers.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the dirty, growly vocals. There are only a few exceptions and that is when the instrumentation is still interesting enough to make up for the 'same-ness' that you can get with those type of vocals. Dirty vocals tend to lack emotion, except for the extreme emotion that never changes. Too much of something tends to wash out the overall result. For 'The Mantle', the overall music is so amazing that they growling doesn't bother me so much. On this album, the dirty vocals are there, intermixed with some clean singing, and there are some breaks in the instrumentation so that the wall of noise isn't always there. But, overall, is it enough to save this album?

We start off with 'Limbs' which is over 9 minutes, of mostly loud, hard music, with a few short breaks of quieter passages, and a lot of dirty vocals with a few passages of clean singing. The guitar and percussion work is all excellent, with a lot of changing meters and a minimal use of dynamics. It's not bad, but it doesn't quite reach the pinnacle of 'The Mantle'. This flows almost seamlessly into another minute epic called 'Falling Snow', which follows the same pattern, but at least allows for more instrumental sections. Not a lot of difference between the tracks however. There is a sudden moment of quietness with the short, atmospheric instrumental 'This White Mountain on Which You Will Die'. These three tracks are the weakest part of the album, yet they are not terrible tracks, there just isn't a lot of real stand out sections in them. But, at least they are interesting and progressive enough to not be completely written off.

After the cooling off bridge that is 'This White Mountain'', the next track, 'Ice Above, Fire Below' follows with a more acoustic beginning, and cleaner vocals, but more in a soft, whispered vocalization, but still sounding dark and evil. There is a building momentum as the track continues, and we have a nice example of the effective use of dynamics here. This is a much better track, without that chopped up feeling, but more of a flowing feeling between loud and soft passages. Out of one of the soft sections, a beautiful guitar melody begins at the 5:30 mark. This builds again, with more layers added in, but keeping the same slow pace, and wordless vocals come in. The vocals become growly again, but they are short as the instrumental sections actually drive this track quite effectively. The 10 minutes go by quickly as this track keeps your interest throughout, and could have easily been at home on the previous album. This is an excellent track, all the way through, with a lot of changes and nothing static about it.

The long epics continue with 'Not Unlike the Waves', another 9 minute track. The first 2 minutes feature a repeating guitar hook, and it begins to give credence to the complaint the band had about being too polished. At least, the repeating pattern is broken finally by a quiet passage which quickly builds to a new and more interesting section. Vocals finally come in and are a nice mix of clean and dirty, with a lot more emotion. There is a long instrumental section which is amazing, and when the vocals come in again, they are layered creating a choral effect which if perfect for the setting of the track. The repeating hook does return at the last moments of the track, but it becomes a nice bookend to the overall song. This is probably their most accessible and commercial track ever, but it's not a complete throw away by any means.

Next is a 3 part suite called 'Our Fortress is Burning' and it is divided over the next 3 tracks. The first part is a 5 minute instrumental, mostly on the quiet side, but nice and freely flowing. This overall vibe continues into the next part called 'Bloodbirds', this part acts as a bridge which builds from the quietness of the first part and over the course of 6 minutes, to the more aggressive 3rd part. Along the way, there are a lot of nice guitar solos. The vocals don't even start until the pinnacle of the crescendo is reached 3 minutes in to the 2nd part. By the end of this part, things are quite dramatic and cinematic, and it all fades quickly into some interesting effects, that lead into the 3rd part, called 'The Grain'. The effects, starting off quiet, build and build into a very chaotic and loud experimental section. This becomes very drone like in sound, very loud and continues for over 7 minutes. Things to soften by the time you reach the end, but it's good to see that the band is not afraid to experiment with other styles, namely post rock in this instance. In total, this suite nears the 19 minute mark.

The deluxe edition of the album also contains the track 'Scars of the Shattered Sky (Our Fortress Has Burned to the Ground)'. This is a 19 minute bonus track, which in itself is a anomaly for a bonus track to be that long. It is completely instrumental. The sound is very ambient with mostly a metallic feel. Acoustic guitar starts at about 3:45 with a nice melody and arpeggiated chords while the ambient effects continue. At 7 minutes, what sounds like a synthesizer plays sustained notes, and a few minutes after that, there are some meandering guitar notes that come in and some expansive sound effects, almost wind- like. The intensity increases, but remains quite pensive. Guitars and keyboards take turns passing the lead to each other. At 14 minutes, a fast beat finally comes in, and this soon turns into a heavier track with an exciting guitar solo. Then at 16:30, the rhythm breaks down and you get sharp, sustained notes with effects going on around them and this carries on until the end. Definitely a track worth seeking out, but for the most part, entirely different from the rest of the album.

Even with the overly polished feel, mainly with the first few tracks, this is still a decent album. There is plenty of variety in the music itself, and a good balance of dirty and clean vocals, with plenty of dynamics in the instrumental sections. The band called it their worst album, but most bands would be quite proud of this achievement. Yes it has it's flaws, especially in the first 3 tracks, but these should not be enough to discourage you from searching this album out, especially if you are a fan of the dark Folk Metal or Black Metal sounds. But even if you aren't, there is plenty here to keep you interested. I'm not a big fan of dirty vocals, but there is good balance here, and the album, in my opinion, does come close to their masterpiece 'The Mantle'.

 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.92 | 201 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
3.75 | 156 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
3.75 | 156 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
3.92 | 201 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 Nidstång' . 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
3.92 | 201 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
3.75 | 83 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
3.75 | 83 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
3.85 | 218 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!

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

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