Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

AGALLOCH

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Agalloch picture
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...
read more

AGALLOCH Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all AGALLOCH videos (1) | Search and add more videos to AGALLOCH

Buy AGALLOCH Music


Ashes Against The Grain (Digipack Reissue)Ashes Against The Grain (Digipack Reissue)
BMG/The End Records 2016
$9.31
$9.30 (used)
The Mantle (Digipack Reissue)The Mantle (Digipack Reissue)
BMG/The End Records 2016
$9.74
$9.73 (used)
The Serpent & The SphereThe Serpent & The Sphere
Profound Lore 2014
$9.99
$9.69 (used)
Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)Pale Folklore (Digipack Remastered)
Remastered
BMG/The End Records 2016
$9.64
$13.63 (used)
Marrow of the SpiritMarrow of the Spirit
2010
$15.74 (used)
Of Stone, Wind, and PillorOf Stone, Wind, and Pillor
The End Records 2002
$49.99 (used)
The Grey EPThe Grey EP
Vendlus Records
$27.04
$24.96 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
DORNENREICH-HER VON WELKEN NACHTEN-CD-black-angizia-agalloch-alcest-empyrium USD $10.79 Buy It Now 9h 38m
Falls Of Rauros "Hail Wind and Hewn Oak" CD Agalloch Panopticon Alda Fen USD $9.50 Buy It Now 22h 42m
Lot of 3 Agalloch Cds; Of Stone, Wind and Pillor & The Mantle & Pale Folklore USD $84.95 Buy It Now 1 day
COLD BODY RADIATION-DEER TWILIGHT-DIGI-alcest-agalloch-opeth-shoegaze-black USD $13.49 Buy It Now 1 day
BESATT hail lucifer ORIG 2002 DIGIPAK SEVEN GATES OF HELL-nyktalgia,agalloch USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NEGURA BUNGET zirnindu-sa ORIG 1996 BREATH OF NIGHT REC-alcest,agalloch,thyrfing USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SACRIVERSUM beckettia ORIG 2000 SERENADES REC-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu USD $7.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ODAL zornes heimat ORIG 2008 CHRISTHUNT PRODUCTIONS-agalloch,endezzma,nagelfar USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SACRIVERSUM the shadow of the golden fire ORIG 2001 SERENADES-alcest,agalloch USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SACRIVERSUM soteria ORIG 1998 SERENADES RECORDS-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SACRIVERSUM sigma draconis ORIG 2004 METAL MIND-alcest,wintersun,agalloch,kataxu USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SACRIVERSUM mozartia ORIG 2003 METAL MIND-alcest,agalloch,wintersun,belphegor USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
OTYG sagovindars boning ORIG 1999 NAPALM REC-vintersorg,windir,alcest,agalloch USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MORTIFERA vastiia tenebrd mortifera ORIG DIGIPAK 2004 GOATOWAREX-alcest,agalloch USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NEGURA BUNGET om CD/DVD ORIG 2006 DIGIPAK CODE666-agalloch,alcest,les discrets USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
POTENTIAM orka i myrkri ORIG 2004 WOUNDED LOVE REC-agalloch,nargaroth,alcest,fen USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
FOREFATHER legends untold ORIG 2000 MILLENIUM MUSIC-absu,agalloch,alcest,windir USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
YEARNING plaintive scenes ORIG 1999 DIGIPAK HOLY REC-SEALED!-agalloch,alcest USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MARBLEBOG forestheart ORIG 2005 TANHU REC/STUNDE DES-agalloch,les discrets USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
PRIMORDIAL storm before the calm ORIG 2002 HAMMERHEART REC-agalloch,alcest,absu USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
GONTYNA KRY welowie ORIG 1998 CD-R OLD LEGEND PROD-agalloch,alcest,les discrets USD $34.99 [0 bids]
1 day
LUX OCCULTA my guardian angel ORIG 1999 PAGAN RECORDS-agalloch,alcest,windir USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AVENGER fall of devotion ORIG 1999 BREATH OF NIGHT-alcest,lantlos,agalloch,absu USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SOLEFALD pills against the ageless ills ORIG 2001 DIGIPAK CENTURY MEDIA-agalloch USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
PRIMORDIAL spirit the earth aflame ORIG 2000 DIGIPAK HAMMERHEART REC-agalloch USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
BLOODLINE werewolf training ORIG 2003 SELBSTMORD SERVICES-alcest,agalloch,windir USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ANGANTYR sejr ORIG 2004 BLASTING BLACK SEMTEX-belenos,agalloch,windir,alcest USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ANGANTYR kampen fortsaetter ORIG 2003 TOTAL HOLOCAUST REC-agalloch,alcest,absu USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ANGANTYR haevn ORIG 2007 DET GERMANSKE FOLKET-belenos,agalloch,windir,alcest USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AVENGER shadows of the damned ORIG 1998 BREATH OF NIGHT-agalloch,alcest,dawn USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
BELENOS notre amour eternel ORIG 1998 POLYPHEMUS-MINT!-agalloch,windir,alcest USD $59.99 [0 bids]
1 day
BELENOS chemins de souffrance ORIG 2007 METAL CASE NORTHERN SILENCE-agalloch USD $39.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NEGURA BUNGET Maiastru Malastru Sfetnic 2CD ARTBOOK,Alcest,Les Discrets,Agalloch USD $39.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NAER MATARON up from the ashes ORIG 1998 BLACK LOTUS-SEALED!-agalloch,nyktalgia USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ENSLAVED monumension ORIG 2001 SLIPCASE OSMOSE-agalloch,alcest,windir,nargaroth USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
SORHIN doden MCMXCVIII ORIG 1998 NEAR DARK-agalloch,satanic warmaster,nargaroth USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
BELENOS l'ancien temps 2CD ORIG 2004 SACRAL PROD-agalloch,alcest,windir,enslaved USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
DUSK pray for death ORIG 2007 METALCASE NORTHERN SIL-angantyr,totenburg,agalloch USD $29.99 [0 bids]
1 day
GRAVELAND raise your sword! ORIG 2001 NO COLOURS REC-agalloch,alcest,nargaroth USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
IUVENES when heroes will rise DIGI,NO COLOURS,Agalloch,Graveland,Inquisition USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
UNHOLY grace fallen ORIG 1999 AVANTGARDE MUSIC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun,absu USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
UNHOLY rapture ORIG 1998 AVANTGARDE MUSIC-agalloch,alcest,wintersun,alcest,kvist USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
FINIST awakening ORIG 2005 ANCIENT NA-agalloch,alcest,wintersun,nokturnal mortum USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
RUDRA rudra ORIG 1998 CANDLELIGHT RECORDS-agalloch,windir,alcest,wintersun,absu USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MORKER skuggornas rike ORIG 2008 NORTHERN-fen,agalloch,alcest,wintersun,winds USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
STIELAS STORHETT skd EP ORIG 2010 DE PROFUNDIS EDITIONS--agalloch,alcest,windir USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
HAGGARD and thou shalt...ORIG 1997 SERENADES RE-alcest,agalloch,therion,arcturus USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
STIELAS STORHETT vandrer...ORIG 2006 DIGIPAK NORTHERN SIL-agalloch,alcest,windir USD $19.99 [0 bids]
1 day
TRIMONIUM blow the horns ORIG 2003 FOLTER REC-wintersun,agalloch,alcest,enslaved USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
HELHEIM yersinia pestis ORIG 2003 MASSACRE RECORDS-agalloch,alcest,les discrets USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
IN THE WOODS strange in stereo ORIG 1999 MISANTHROPY REC-alcest,agalloch,windir USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MITHRAS worlds beyond the veil ORIG 2003 GOLDEN LAKE-nile,agalloch,alcest,winds USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MITHRAS forever advancing...legions ORIG 2002 GOLDEN LAKE-nile,agalloch,alcest USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ILDARN nocturnal visons EP ORIG 2004 DIGI NORTHERN HERIT-agalloch,les discrets USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NERTHUS the crowned's reunion ORIG 2007 CCP REC-nyktalgia,agalloch,nargaroth,fen USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
VALAR magic and wyrmfire ORIG 2001 OAKEN SHIELD-azaghal,urfaust,alcest,agalloch USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NERTHUS escape from suction ORIG 2000 CCP-nyktalgia,agalloch,nargaroth,fen,absu USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
NERTHUS black medieval art ORIG 2004 CCP REC-nyktalgia,agalloch,nargaroth,fen USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
KRODA live in lemberg ORIG 2008 HAMMERMARK-nyktalgia,sterbend,agalloch,nargaroth USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
FJOERGYN jahreszeiten ORIG 2009 DIGIPAK TROLLZORN-agalloch,nargaroth,alcest,fen USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AMESOEURS amesoeurs ORIG 2009 CODE666 RECORDS! -les discrets,alcest,agalloch, USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
EISREGEN zerfall ORIG 1998 LAST EPISODE-alcest,agalloch,the chasm,les discrets USD $14.99 [0 bids]
1 day
KEEP OF KALESSIN armada ORIG 2006 DIGIPAK TABU RECORDINGS-agalloch,windir,absu USD $11.99 [0 bids]
1 day
GRIEF OF EMERALD the devils deep ORIG 2011 NON SERVIAM REC-lord belial,agalloch USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
LES DISCRETS septembre et ses dernieres Artbook,Alcest,Agalloch,Nhor,Lifelover USD $99.99 [0 bids]
1 day
LES DISCRETS ariettes oubliees...2 CD Artbook,Alcest,Agalloch,Nhor,Lifelover USD $99.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MUSTAN KUUN LAPSET prologi ORIG 1999 NOCTURNAL-azaghal,agalloch,windir,alcest USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Agalloch-The Grey Ep (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $24.16 Buy It Now 1 day
HEL Orloeg ORG CD 2005 NEW Falkenbach Primordial Bathory Agalloch Menhir Orlog USD $11.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Kauan - Tietajan Laulu 2 x LP Tenhi Agalloch NeoFolk Black Metal 180 Gram Vinyl USD $39.99 Buy It Now 2 days
AUDN-FARVEGIR FYRNDAR-CD-atmospheric-black-metal-agalloch-winterfylleth-dynfari USD $14.39 Buy It Now 2 days
KAUAN Kuu.. Digi CD Empyrium Agalloch Clouds Falloch Uaral Saor USD $49.99 Buy It Now 2 days
AGALLOCH-SERPENT & THE SPHERE (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.20 Buy It Now 2 days
HATE FOREST Nietzscheism ORG CD 1st Press 2005 Drudkh Nokturnal Mortum Agalloch USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
FALLS OF RAUROS TAPE AGALLOCH PRIMORDIAL WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM DRUDKH UADA USD $7.00 [0 bids]
3 days
DORNENREICH-IN LUFT GERITZT-CD-agalloch-ulver-folk-arcturus-opeth USD $10.79 Buy It Now 3 days
AGALLOCH - PALE FOLKLORE CD FIRST EDITION USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3 days
DEATH IN JUNE - BURIAL CD DIGIPACK alcest cure agalloch ulver USD $13.99 Buy It Now 3 days
DEATH IN JUNE - THE PHOENIX HAS RISEN CD DIGIPACK NEW alcest ulver agalloch cure USD $15.99 Buy It Now 3 days
While Heaven Wept - Fear of Infinity CD doom metal solstice agalloch USD $1.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Pale Folklore By Agalloch On Audio CD Album 2002 Very Good USD $15.76 Buy It Now 3 days
DARK TRANQUILLITY - Character CD,In Flames,Amon Amarth,Agalloch,Opeth,Soilwork USD $2.88 [0 bids]
3 days
THY SERPENT - CHRISTCRUSHER 1998 RADIATION RECORDS PRESSING NEW! AGALLOCH KVIST USD $34.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Mathias Grassow & John Haughm - Mosaic LP - Blue Vinyl - NEW COPY - Agalloch USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Mathias Grassow & John Haughm - Mosaic LP - Black Vinyl - NEW COPY - Agalloch USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Altar of Plagues White Tomb Orange Vinyl LP /100 Black Metal Agalloch Ulver USD $69.99 [0 bids]
4 days
LUX DIVINA - NEW DAYS FOR THE ANCIENT WISDOM 2004 1PR CD NEW! AGALLOCH ENSLAVED USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch "Pale Folklore" 2x LP White Ulver Katatonia Russian Circles Isis USD $79.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch "The Serpent & the Sphere" 2x LP Burgundy Ulver Katatonia Isis USD $99.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Deafheaven "New Bermuda" 2x LP Whirr Nothing Agalloch Russian Circles Mogwai USD $99.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch - Pale Folklore [New CD] Rmst, Digipack Packaging USD $12.92 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain [New CD] Digipack Packaging, Reissue USD $12.38 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch - The Mantle [New CD] Digipack Packaging, Reissue USD $14.06 Buy It Now 4 days
AGALLOCH - The Serpent & the Sphere - 2 x LP - NEW COPY - Black Vinyl USD $59.99 Buy It Now 4 days
AGALLOCH-ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN (DIG) (REIS) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $12.89 Buy It Now 4 days
Agalloch - The Mantle [New CD] Digipack Packaging, Reissue USD $11.83 Buy It Now 5 days
Drudkh-?????? ????? ?????? (Eternal Turn of the Wheel)-CD-black metal-agalloch USD $11.69 Buy It Now 5 days
FOSCOR-LES IRREALS VISIONS-CD-progressive-metal-opeth-agalloch-ghost brigade USD $13.49 Buy It Now 5 days
Agalloch - The Wolves of Timberline Mega Rare 12" Picture Disc Maxi Single LP NM USD $249.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Pillorian - A Stygian Pyre - 7" BLACK VINYL - John Haughm from Agalloch mantle USD $14.99 Buy It Now 6 days

More places to buy AGALLOCH music online Buy AGALLOCH & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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 | 158 ratings
Pale Folklore
1999
4.15 | 361 ratings
The Mantle
2002
3.89 | 221 ratings
Ashes Against The Grain
2006
3.93 | 203 ratings
Marrow Of The Spirit
2010
3.68 | 85 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
3.39 | 38 ratings
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
2001
2.25 | 25 ratings
Tomorrow Will Never Come
2003
2.05 | 29 ratings
The Grey
2004
3.55 | 62 ratings
The White EP
2008
3.97 | 37 ratings
Faustian Echoes
2012
3.71 | 7 ratings
Celestial Effigy
2014

AGALLOCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 85 ratings

BUY
The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars AGALLOCH pretty much dominated the American metal scene for the first decade of the 2000's as they cranked out not only one or two but four outstanding classics that showcased their idiosyncratic visionary fusion of black and doom metal with dark neofolk, post rock and ritual ambient music. Add to that, several EPs distinct from their full-length canon and numerous tours that took them around the world. And not only did they deliver the goods on each of their albums, but they steadily ratcheted up new aspects of their sound which made them quite popular by the time their fourth album 'Marrow Of The Spirit' hit the world in 2010. It seemed the band would continue the trend forever. Not so fast.

Following the single tracked EP 'Faustian Echoes' which not only displayed AGALLOCH's longest track of their career but also their heaviest that utilized the fullest effects of black metal riffing only intermittently punctuated by dark folk interludes to provide a soft canvass for the poetic prose to be recited. Two years later the band would release their fifth and final album as fate would have it. THE SERPENT & THE SPHERE offered another slice of the dramatic melding of the folk and metal that fans had come to expect so well. The band continues the same lineup as 'Marrow' with Aesop Dekkecontinuing his drumming duties but this one contains a guest appearance of Nathana'l Larochetter who plays acoustic guitar.

THE SERPENT & THE SPHERE pretty much continues the AGALLOCH signature sound however for once in their career, this one seems to have lost all inspiration and as a result sound like an AGALLOCH by-the-numbers type of album. It contains nine tracks with two extending past the ten minute mark however where previously albums soared and took you on left turns after building up crescendoes of folk and metal glory, SERPENT seems to slither down a one way path. Once again the band builds long repetitive riffs that continue to grow in speed and volume utilizing the raspy shrieked vocal effect and distorted guitar atmospheric layering that offers the desired doom and gloom and all that. But something is seriously missing here.

Firstly, the riffs and melodies are rather flat. There is not one track on here that keeps my attention and not one that demands my returned listening. This happened upon first listen but in order to review this i've spun it numerous times and unlike the other four albums that made me want to listen to them over and over, this one makes wanna take it out and put in, you got it, one of the other four albums! This one seems to completely lack that magical mojo and spirit that made AGALLOCH albums so great. It seems the magic wasn't isn't the riffing, the post-rock build-ups, the black metal outbursts or any of the describable ingredients. It was in the epic compositional constructs that cleverly tied it all together.

It really seems AGALLOCH lost the passion and burned out and apparently that's exactly what happened since the band broke up two years later. There is nothing bad about this one per se but in all honesty, there is nothing great either and since it's AGALLOCH, well, ok doesn't cut the mustard. This is by far their worst album in my world. I'm glad they called it quits having realized the game is over and pumping out mediocrity for time immemorial would only tarnish their past glories. After the breakup, John Haughm would form a new band called Pillorian, Don Anderson, Jason William Walton and Aesop Dekker would begin Kh'rada. While it's never a glad day when a legendary band calls it quits, personally i'd much rather see a band do so than litter the market with bland lifeless locust shells of their past.

 Faustian Echoes by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.97 | 37 ratings

BUY
Faustian Echoes
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars AGALLOCH hit the metal scene in 1999 just in time for the turn of the millennium and soon became one of the 21st century's most revered bands as they found the perfect formula to meld their black metal sensibilities with dark neofolk a la Death In June with a post-rock compositional prowess in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The band bedazzled the world with masterpieces such as 'The Mantle' and 'Ashes Against The Grain' and even managed to keep their musical mojo flowing when they decided to up their metal creds on 2010's 'Marrow Of The Spirit' which deemphasized but didn't destroy the dark neofolk properties that made this Portland, Oregon band stand out amongst the contemporary crowded metal universe.

Sticking to their guns and releasing an EP (or two) between their full-length studio albums, AGALLOCH followed up their fourth album 'Marrow Of The Spirit' with yet another EP, this time taking inspiration form Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play 'Faust.' While this is a mere EP with a running time of only 21 and a half minutes, it is actually a single track titled FAUSTIAN ECHOES that borrows the lyrics directly from the English translation of the original German text. Lyrics exist in the form of the familiar emphatically shrieked black metal style to actual film samples from Jan Svankmajer's 1994 film adaptation. Originally only available as digital downloads, the vinyl and CDs were sold at live shows. The cover art displays the Salvador Dal' etching of 'Faust Lisant (Faust Reading).'

AGALLOCH have always had crossover appeal by implanting roughly equal doses of dark neofolk, post-rock and atmospheric black / doom metal but beginning with 2010's 'Marrow Of The Spirit,' the band got the itch to create a more ramped up version of their visionary style which adrenalized the tempos, distorted the guitar riffage and vocally shrieked like there was no tomorrow. The metal bug had hit the band big time no doubt due to the addition of ex-Ludicra Aesop Dekker joining the cast to bring some black metal life to the scene with extreme guitar riffing aplenty and more drum abuse graced by lengthy ever-changing workouts.

FAUSTIAN ECHOES is their 5th EP and continues the love affair with the heavier side of their music but much like the album that it follows keeps the folk and post-rock vibes bubbling beneath the surface. In fact, 'Marrow Of The Spirit,' despite ramping up the extreme metal effects still eschewed it for much of the album. FAUSTIAN ECHOES sounds like AGALLOCH were trying to correct that and in the process created the most extremely metal release of their career.

While dark neofolk hasn't been booted out of the overall compositional scene, it sure has been forced to take a backseat and merely supply brief intermissions and a backdrop for moments of spoken poetic prose that provide brief interludes of spoken word storytelling between the moments of extreme metal bombast.

Lyrically, a tribute to one of Germany's most celebrated and well-known writers whose 'Faust' play is perhaps one of the nation's most revered contributions to the literary world, musically FAUSTIAN ECHOES shows a band losing their grip on the grandeur of its tight and diverse four album run that launched AGALLOCH into the top dog realms of the folk metal universe. For the first time, this band of seemingly endless ambition sounds a bit stagnate. At least for this band.

True that a 21 minute track dedicated to one of the non-English world's closest competitor to Shakespeare is a bona fide tour de force to tackle, however the problem is that the music doesn't quite measure up to the expectations laid forth. While the EP isn't bad per se, it does echo a bit of been there done that and has a hard time delivering the expected (by now) multitude of diversity that AGALLOCH had mustered up quite successfully in its noughty heyday.

AGALLOCH's selling shtick has always been a carefully crafted and calculated mixing it up between their folk and metal elements that were all laid out in post-rock fashion, however on FAUSTIAN ECHOES, it seems they try to hard to stick to the metal aspects of their sound and practically suffocate the dark ambient neofolk that has always been a key element to their overall vibe. Vocal tradeoffs of clean and shrieked are shattered in favor of the latter and while black metal remains a favorite pastime of mine, AGALLOCH don't have the black metal chops to pull off a kvlter-than-thou purity party that they are attempting to achieve.

While FAUSTIAN ECHOES is by no means a throwaway release, it does seem to demonstrate that the band hat peaked and can no longer sustain its essence which seems to be rooted in the dark neofolk as evidenced on the brilliant 'The White EP.' Sorry guys, try as you may, you are a folk band which dons a metal cape but a bona fide metal band you are not. I've given this EP more than enough spins to let it grow on me and it always comes out the same. OK but not outstanding. The reign of AGALLOCH ended with 'Marrow Of The Spirit' and on FAUSTIAN ECHOES, the band seems to have found itself on a downward spiral that it would never recover from.

3.5 rounded down

 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 203 ratings

BUY
Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars AGALLOCH's first three albums had a lot of crossover appeal that allowed those who usually don't dabble in extreme metal to find something to latch onto via catchy folk laden melodies, post-rock compositional constructs and healthy doses of interesting electronic segments with an overall brilliant mix of all the elements simmering into a unique product. Add to that the diverse lyrical delivery that showcases John Haughm divvying his vocal dynamics into clean, shrieked and whispered enunciations that allowed a wider spectrum of emotional connection to be conveyed. On "Ashes Against The Grain," the band ratcheted up the metal aspects a bit to add more Isis inspired post-metal riffs to ride the waves of the atmospheric tides of the Godspeed You! Black Emperor inspired post-rock sensibilities. However the band still complained that despite all efforts, the album was still over-produced and not what they had hoped for.

Add to that the fact that "The White EP" which immediately precedes their fourth full-length album MARROW OF THE SPIRIT was almost entirely acoustic folk-based and it's no wonder that the band was wanting to up their metal creds a few notches which is exactly what they achieved (for the most part) on this installment of six tracks teased out into an hour and six minutes of full AGALLOCH glory. There were also many other changes afoot. Not only did they end their contract with The End Records and sign with Profound Lore due to personality clashes but ex-Ludicra drummer Aesoop Dekker was brought into the scene to replace Chris Greene. Having his history as a black metal drummer provided the necessary percussive backbone that allowed AGALLOCH to soar above and behind their folk metal roots and implement some extra rambunctious gusto throughout MARROW OF THE SPIRIT. However, make no mistake about it. Despite the fortified black metal aspects, this is an AGALLOCH album through and though and the metal is only one ingredient in a varied recipe.

As the opening track "And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness" slowly creeps in with a sole cello (provided by Jackie Perez Gratz of Gracyeon) in the company of a babbling brook and chirping birds, it seems as if AGALLOCH had employed the talents of Yo- Yo Ma to do his best interpretation of the soundtrack to "Schindler's List," however after nearly four minutes of Pagan ritualistic remorse music, "Into The Painted Grey" blasts onto the scene with some of the most intense and bombastic black metal of AGALLOCH's entire career as it strikes with a blitzkrieg vengeance in the vain of Krallice or Weakling but soon enough reverts to the familiar past glories of melodic dual guitars painting an atmospheric folk inspired melody accompanied by tribal drumming. The track continues to parade through a variety of styles that fit the AGALLOCH brand name quite well, namely shrieked lyrics under the soaring post-rock textures which only happen to implement a higher octane of distortion and adrenalized tempo marches with the usual unexpected changes and cool production techniques.

All is good as the album begins with the usual high level AGALLOCH quality shining through but the band hits their first major hiccough with "The Water's Monolith." Nothing bad about the track per se but despite a really strong launching into a more aggressive musical scene, this track seems to have gotten cold feet and sounds more like an unreleased leftover from "The Mantle" as it engages a familiar acoustic folk guitar strumming with atmospheric guitar sweeps to augment the emotional depth. Likewise it engages in the same call and response of clean and shrieked vocals with the latter finding the heavy distorted grooves and familiar melodic developments. The distorted guitars attempt to disguise this malapropos piece that evokes a statue of a stag in a city park more than a darkened bleak landscape depicted on a brilliant relief surface of the album cover. A musical faux pas? Not for mere mortals, but for AGALLOCH, a major no no in their impeccable streak of perfectly designed albums.

The album regains its character with one of my favorite tracks of the band's career. "Black Lake Nidstang' is a whopping seventeen and a half minute composition of utter brilliance. It begins with a dramatic timpani and atmospheric ratcheting up effect that evokes a true Pagan ritual is about to take place, much like "The White EP," but with more emphasis on the metal distortion. Add to that the Pink Floyd type echo guitars as heard on "The Wall" and brilliant transitions between segments and all is forgiven for the third track's seemingly out of place role. This track goes through many transitions but the most bizarre comes around the eight minute mark where the track turns into a scary and depressive black / doom metal dirge where Haughm's vocals seem on the verge of breakdown as the doom metal tempos evoke some of the most gut-wrenching performances of his career. The track cedes into a claustrophobic yet hypnotic trance inducing electronica sequence that allows a creepy Moog to allow a vibraphone and glockenspiel to ratchet up the next chapter which emerges as an echoed guitar sequence that evolves into a black metal finale, well more like a sludge metal finale with blackened overtones. Sludge riffs, sludge percussion, black metal shrieks. Outstanding track!

"Ghosts Of The Midwinter Fires" continues with more of the echoey Pink Floyd inspired guitars but adds some metal guitar grunge accompaniment and the expected atmospheric mastery. As a near ten minute track, the first third is a build of to the second third where it ratchets up the black metal fury which despite a similar sound that started the album had been neglected for the most part up to this point. While employing the sickest guitar antics providing the necessary atmospheric compositional flare, the entire track retains a soaring melodic majesty that is augmented by an ambient backdrop. The closing ten and a half minute "To Drown" takes MARROW OF THE SPIRIT full circle and reverts back to the Pagan folk ritualistic aspects with a cello reprise, sound samples of nature and also includes unique tones and timbres from petrified bones and glass and metal sheet percussion that create a majestic dark ambient finale replete with whispered poetry, soaring atmospheric guitar and a bleak depressive epic and atmospheric overall feel. While the piano parts are abundant on MARROW OF THE SPIRIT, they significantly contribute to this last track that for the most part sounds like a classical piece that happens to employ some noise, metal and dark ritualistic elements.

AGALLOCH successfully added new layers of complexity to each of their albums. By the time you get to the end of MARROW OF THE SPIRIT you are wondering if you have stumbled into a Holst's "The Planets" recital that has taken on a Wagner-ian bombast as it slowly staggers out. While not as perfectly implemented as "The Mantle" or "Ashes Against The Grain," MARROW OF THE SPIRIT is an amazingly brilliant slice of genre bending fusion that keeps AGALLOCH at the top of their game. While the black metal aspects have been turned up a few notches and might scare aware the crossover crowd only swayed by the abundant folk, this album is more non-metal than metal. The atmospheric prowess is the dominant force that just happens to implement more bombastic metal to add even more dynamic forms of contrast. The album was produced by Steven Wray Lobdell who found the perfect balance between the myriad elements that could easily derail into a cacophonous mess but each strand of sound stands proud as it takes its turn in the great folk/rock symphony that constitutes MARROW OF THE SPIRIT. Did AGALLOCH gain their metal creds? Well, sort of. AGALLOCH was never a pure metal band. This Portland, Oregon bunch is much, much more and on this one they take their game to a staggering new level. Only the third track stands out as lackluster.

4.5 but rounded down

 The White EP by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
3.55 | 62 ratings

BUY
The White EP
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars THE WHITE EP

After three full-length studio albums and two EPs, it was clear that dark neofolk was a key aspect in the music of AGALLOCH which when combined with black / doom metal and post-rock, created their signature sound that won the world over beginning with the outstanding sophomore album "The Mantle." After ratcheting up the metal aspects a bit on "Ashes Against The Grain," AGALLOCH may have amped up the distortion and aggressive bombast a bit but it was still quite apparent that dark neofolk acoustic guitar was the underpinning of the compositional flare that the music was built around. While the first few EPs were basically a collection of leftover tracks that showed a little behind the scenes action of John Haughm and Don Anderson's innermost musical leanings, THE WHITE EP, displays a completely stripped down journey into AGALLOCH's most primal musical aspirations and in the process creates their first consistent EP, stylistically speaking.

Technically this is the second and final installment of a pair of EPs that began with "The Grey EP," but really, screw that. The previous EP was fairly weak and uninspiring. It was nothing more than leftovers from "The Mantle" bin, but THE WHITE EP is something completely different. This collection of seven tracks that meander over the 32 minute mark has a complete life of its own and single- handedly showcases ALLOGACH as first and foremost a dark ambient neofolk band that just happened to dabble in metal on their studio albums. Oh, and these are completely original and have not appeared elsewhere. Unlike the previous offerings, this EP is majestic and sublime. It takes the listener on a journey and one that is a pleasant ride on every stop on the way. The passion is afire and quite apparent simply by reading the cast of characters involved. While the full-length albums were limited to four or five musicians at the most, this one hosts a whopping nine.

THE WHITE EP's mission becomes obvious from the getgo with the voices of children on the opening "The Isle Of Summer" which were borrowed from the 1973 film "The Wicker Man." Likewise, the album ends with these same vocal samplings and in the middle develops a rather ritualistic Pagan musical meandering that captures the merging of acoustic folk guitar, electronic ambience, tribal percussion and sounds of nature all intertwined to create an alternative soundtrack to the 1973 film that without a doubt was one of the primary impetuses in the creation of the overall AGALLOCH sound. Listening to this EP is like digging into the soulful essence of a musical act at its primary inspirational level and the fact that AGALLOCH pulls it off so well only showcases the evidence that these guys' heart and soul was in this every step of the way.

This is primarily an instrumental EP with vocals, albeit whispered, spoken and chanted provide mere supplemental instrumental roles rather than lyrically based. While the acoustic guitar is the primary instrument that drives the parade of chords that coalesce into the melancholic melodies that emerge, there is ample additional instrumentation in the form of timpani based percussion, accordion, synthesizers, jew's harp and even a Peruvian ceremonial horn. Oh yeah, there's a goat horn too! While acoustically divine, the electric guitars emerge as an ambient backdrop to great effect and interesting piano runs emerge to create a rather classically inspired connection as well. Despite all these accouterments of timbres and tones, everything really connects seamlessly along with birds chirping alongside dark ambient installations. It seems that everything just flows perfectly from beginning to end.

By the end of this listening experience, it almost seems as if i went on a random hike through the woods in an undisclosed Oregon forest and just happened upon a Pagan ritual underway. Awed by the spectacle, i stopped to observe the entirety as i happened to catch it from its initial opening as i became caught up in the spectacle of it all. The music inspires reflection and inner contemplation upon the physical reality upon which i stand and allows the spirits of the Earth to evolve my consciousness. While neither technically demanding nor commercially distracting, THE WHITE EP nevertheless implements extremely addictive melodic hooks that are augmented by subtle electronic and production techniques yet makes me feel as if this is purely acoustic.

THE WHITE EP is all about atmosphere and emotional upwelling. This is Pagan ritual music at its finest. Perhaps their stint with Nest on they 2004 split inspired a more stripped down approach that eschews the adrenaline inducing emotional responses of metal, but all i have to say is that this is by far the best of the AGALLOCH EPs and despite dropping one of the most characteristic elements of the overall AGALLOCH sound, proves to be quite compelling in its introspective simplicity and soul stirring emotional tugs that inspire a true connection to the natural world much in the way the film "The Wicker Man" was supposed to. I've never warmed up to the soundtrack of that film despite its overall popularity and THE WHITE EP has emerged in my world as the perfect alternative soundtrack for what that movie was supposed to make me feel. No metal here at all. Headbangers beware. This is soul stirring dark ambient laced neofolk all the way with some extra layers of electronic sophistication. Brilliant.

 Ashes Against The Grain by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.89 | 221 ratings

BUY
Ashes Against The Grain
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Given that AGALLOCH took their name from aguarwood (Aquilaria agallocha) which is a fragrant wood used for incense, the band really have spent their career operating like a slow flowing resinous sap that such trees exude. Not only is this true in their shoegazy post-rock meets black and folk metal musical style but also in the fact that this Portland, Oregon based band really took their time to craft their studio albums. After the success of "The Mantle," the band began performing their music live for the first time which meant even less time for song crafting and studio production values. It took four long years before they would follow up "The Mantle" with their third full-length album ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN (not counting the two EPs) but in that time the band came to a couple conclusions.

Firstly, "The Mantle" was a behemoth in its making with tons of extra non-metal instruments, electronics and production tricks which proved extremely difficult to replicate in a live setting therefore the band had to restructure much of that album to adapt to a live setting. This scenario resulted in AGALLOCH's decision to scale back the bloated accoutrements and focus on a more stripped down approach that they could effortlessly convert from studio album to live setting without having to reconstruct the entire range of compositions. This proved to be a wise decision not only for adaptive purposes but also in the fact that it would've been a bad move to simply construct a "Mantle II." Therefore ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN developed as a completely different beast from its predecessor, which in the long run proved to be a very good thing.

Secondly, as a studio only band, John Haughm not only contributed vocals but also played acoustic and electrics guitars as well as handling all the percussion duties. Clearly unable to tackle all these duties live, AGALLOCH brought in Chris Greene as the band's official drummer and thus officially made the band a quartet. While Greene was added to the musical cast and joined before recording began on this album, he still didn't perform drums on "Falling Snow" and "Not Unlike The Waves." Due to his dissatisfaction of adapting to the band, he would depart after the European tour and replaced by Aesop Dekker ( of Ludicra). However, after ironing out the kinks in their studio / live performances ratio, AGALLOCH set forth to record their third album which was plagued with problems including the entire album being lost in a computer glitch that made them re-record from scratch. Ugh.

In every way, ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN is everything "The Mantle" wasn't, at least in the context of the world of AGALLOCH. Yes, there are many similarities. This is still a skillful mix of black and doom metal with dark neofolk and post rock, however on ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN the entire recipe has been shifted. While "The Mantle" was primarily neofolk based with influences from Death In June and Sol Invictus dominated the sonicscape, on album #3 the focus was directed more in the sludge / post-metal camp. While Godspeed You! Black Emperor had always served as a major wellspring of creative juju, on ASHES, the band was beginning to blend in more with contemporary post-metal bands such as Isis, Neurosis and Pelican. While Godspeed had been subjugated to the underbelly compositionally speaking, heavy sludge metal riffing and upbeat tempos became the dominating factors on ASHES.

While the metal has been ramped up, there is no shortage of electronic freak outs, acoustic folk or moments of inner retrospection via catchy melodic hooks. Opposite of "The Mantle," ASHES begins more aggressively with less catchy ear hooks but ultimately slowly weaves its magic as it progresses. While on "The Mantle," it took a few tracks before the metal dominated, on ASHES the slower neofolk domination doesn't kick in until the fourth track "Fire Above, Ice Below." And also serving as the photographic negative duality is the fact that while on "The Mantle" the folk emerged beneath the grungy distorted din, on ASHES it's the metal that has to emerge above the folk. I think i see a pattern here, hmmmm.

ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN does not provide the immediate satisfaction that its predecessor allowed. This one takes a bit more work to decipher. While "The Mantle" was an instant classic in my ears, ASHES had to prove itself but it has unleashed new magic every time i've spun it and created an alternative AGALLOCH perspective in many ways that to this day i'm not entirely sure as to how it has unleashed its magic. Somehow the band has woven another post-metal meets folk and electronic tapestry that shape shifts when least expected and manages to drag things out as long as possible and playing the ole switcheroo just before things become stagnate. While the band has stated that this is their worst album due to the fact that it relied on too much production mileage, i have to disagree. AGALLOCH is one of those bands much like Pink Floyd that have inherently entwined themselves into the production process and would be a lesser band for not having done so. There are no virtuosic instrumental moments on an AGALLOCH album. This band creates a larger than life listening experience that is all encompassing. That is a good thing.

Yes, this one is a grower unlike "The Mantle" which casts an immediate spell, however this one is well worth the effort. It requires several intense listening sessions but well worth the effort indeed. While i admit the initial opening generic aspects of "Limbs" may not evoke any passions of fire, it doesn't take long for the majesty to sink in. ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN ultimately comes off as a classical music album dressed up in contemporary clothing such as post-rock, metal and folk. Much like its predecessor, ASHES maintains a distinct musical flow between tracks but unlike "The Mantle," relies on a series of opposing forces rather than easily cooperative ones. There is more tension that results from a heavier post-metal dominated soundscape than the lush acoustic folk pastoral marches of the past, however careful listening will find similarly plucked acoustic elements imbued throughout albeit not in the forefront. This is particularly more noticeable in the midsection of the album with "Not Unlike The Waves" coming to the forefront.

The three part suite "Our Fortress Is Burning" concludes the epic journey in an entirely satisfying fashion. It begins with a prognosticator of how it will end, with a bubbling volcanic gurgle of electronic excitation but in the beginning it ushers in a post-rock guitar riff that slowly builds into a more recognizable Mogwai type of riffage with a Pink Floyd type of guitar performance tacked on. While unified in name only, this three part finale only reflects the entire nature of the album that tacks many suites together as a united whole and arbitrarily labels them linguistically, however these last three tracks that constitute this suite are the most magnanimous of the bunch as they effortlessly juxtapose countless styles of post-rock, black metal, space rock and folk. Overproduced? I don't think so. This is musical perfection. Get over yourselves if you think otherwise. As Act I cedes into Act II, a little musical heft is added with the percussion. This is a slow burner so expect post-rock baby steps. The Third Act is entirely dedicated to an intense electronic frenzy of the quasi-formulaic world of quantum level electronic weirdness with guitar feedback or at least that's what comes to mind when it eerily transpires.

Indubitably, comparisons between "The Mantle" and ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN will result since these were AGALLOCH's peak years that defined them as the legends they have become. While similar in nature, ASHES takes a logical leap in ascension from what came before in that it doesn't rely on instantly catchy melodies as the hook basis. In contrast, this one is a murkier affair that if one were to analyze the cover art of the two albums, perfectly reflects. "The Mantle" with its black, gray and white cover art easily portrays an image of a stag amidst a wintery tree-lined landscape whereas ASHES displays a nebulous unfocused image of a bird in a Van Gogh after a wild night on the town sort of way. Likewise, the musical constructs reflect a more surreal and less comprehensible manner of how the sonic parade of sounds is laid out. The result is a feeling of less warm and fuzzy melodies and an impending dread much like the feeling of that moment before the storm hits which while somewhat placid in the physical realm is mortifying in the anticipatory emotional factors that precede. ASHES perfectly captures that "bardo" state in between major events. This was a slow burner but when all is said and done, a more sophisticated slice of musical fusion than "The Mantle" and a more than worthy successor.

 The Mantle by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.15 | 361 ratings

BUY
The Mantle
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars AGALLOCH took their name from the resinous wood of the aguarwood (Aquilaria agallocha) and on their sophomore album THE MANTLE, this Portland, Oregon based band demonstrates how to let their musical cross-pollinations flow like sticky sap through an hour plus timespan that encompasses a wide spectrum of sounds and styles yet never outstays its welcome. THE MANTLE was a major improvement over the already developed and mature debut "Pale Folklore," yet the first album was crippled by a lackluster production job that prevented the band's true atmospheric prowess and uncanny ability to juxtapose disparate sounds in completely logical yet untried manners. THE MANTLE showcased the band in its comfort zone as it gracefully oozed out lusciously strummed acoustic folk guitar chords, electronic embellishments, black metal inspired doom and gloom and post-rock fueled compositional constructs that allowed the music to build to dizzying crescendoes and beyond.

Their first release of the new millennium, THE MANTLE has become one of those must-have albums in any metal collection as it embodies a perfection like few others before or since. Much in the vein of their debut, THE MANTLE tackles a wide range of influences that weave the possibilities of the dark neofolk sounds of bands like Death In June and Sol Invictus with the extra bombast of the metal world in the form of doom inspired riffing dressed up with black metal tremolo picking and shrieked vocals that played tag with clean sung lyrics sometimes resulting in whispered poetic prose. At first mistaken for a Scandinavian band for their use of guitar work utilized by bands ranging from Ulver, Katatonia and Amorphis, AGALLOCH allowed the black metal universe to expand beyond its second wave limitations of the legions of copycats and followed in the footsteps of the innovators that ultimately made them a part of the club that managed to craft a new hybrid of musical innovation.

The album's signature sound is instantly addictive as the introductory acoustic guitar strumming of "A Celebration For The Death Of Men" demonstrates the band's ability to create instant ear hooks augmented by subtle changes in atmospheric variation. The track cedes seamlessly into the following monster composition "In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion" which runs the gamut of metal meets neofolk possibilities and not only creates a seemingly infinite variety of subtle changes but demonstrates how the band ratchet up the band's theme by connecting the tracks into a larger whole, in this case a pseudo-concept about how images can be conveyed through sound. The images in this case are real photos of Portland, Oregon landmarks beginning with the stag on the album cover in a shrouded mysterious blanket of foggy gray and nebulous murky atmospheric detachment. The music perfectly suits the assortment of photos that are included in the liner notes.

THE MANTLE is a slow burner and not one to be listened to in a hurry. This is not what one would deem a headbanger's type of metal as it seems a vast majority of the real estate is dedicated to dreamy acoustic folk, shoegazy post-rock and hypnotic grooves embellished by electronic wizardry and outlandish production techniques. In fact only on the fourth track "I Am The Wooden Doors" does the black metal inspired fury have domination over the mellower aspects of the album and yet even here, is graced by unorthodox acoustic guitar solos that break in beneath the distorted metal galloping of the guitar grunge. Perhaps another amazing aspect of THE MANTLE is how the vocal harmonics create a whole other level of melodic counterpoint. Not only do the vocals range from the growled, clean, whispered and shrieked but in how they work together to create a larger atmospheric experience.

Sometimes one vocal style will dominate whereas other times clean and shrieked vocals will trade off by ushering in a call and response sort of forum. While many a black metal album's shrieked vocals are indecipherable, AGALLOCH create almost the most perfect balance of lush melodic musical passages with grainy irascibly charge yet well enunciated periods of black metal magic embedded into the folk dominated soundscapes. The ratio between the sleepy time folk tranquility and the majestic metal heft is meted out in a satisfyingly elegant proportions and while there are points when certain hypnotic post-rock passages appear to be wearing out their welcome, AGALLOCH has a firm understanding of just how far to milk any certain idea before pulling out the rug and taking a 180 stylistically speaking.

THE MANTLE also masters the art of the reprise, that is, simple melodic hooks that are introduced early on and then find their ways back into the mix only with completely different variations but somehow bring the feel of an epic journey where one must revisit past destinations before moving on. In addition to the aforementioned influences, THE MANTLE brings the epic grace of Opeth to mind, especially from albums like "Morningrise" with the brilliant commingling of acoustic and electric elements but also finds epic bands like Pink Floyd-esque guitar solos and space rock feel in "The Hawthorne Passage." The way that the entire album is laid out evokes a great rock opera and i detect many small touches that remind me of Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime" not necessarily in musical delivery but in the compositional posturing and dynamic flow of one track to the next as they incorporate subtle sounds and themes (such as military march drumming and sound samples.)

AGALLOCH found musical perfection on THE MANTLE. All the elements that had been laid out so brilliantly on "Pale Folklore" aligned perfectly on this sophomore release. The album has become a classic in the metal world for great reason. This is one that has the double effect of being instantly addictive yet offers an infinite variety of details to offer satisfying repeat listens. In fact, this is one of those albums i can safely put on perpetual replay and never grow tired of hearing since it conveys such a vast array of moods, tones, textures and timbres graced with a sophisticated production that allows every little detail to shine through the grim, depressive atmospheric displays that permeate THE MANTLE's post-apocalyptic soundscape. When it comes to a brilliant display of how folk, metal, post-rock and atmospheric ambient sounds are woven together, i cannot think of an example better than THE MANTLE. Just digging this out for a review led me to keep it on replay for several days straight and i'm still awed by it. THAT only happens when an album is friggin' awesome beyond belief. Yep, THE MANTLE is just that.

 Tomorrow Will Never Come  by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
2.25 | 25 ratings

BUY
Tomorrow Will Never Come
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars After releasing the debut "Pale Folklore," AGALLOCH started the trend of releasing EPs between their full-length studio albums. The second of these TOMORROW WILL NEVER COME emerged after the sophomore album "The Mantle." However, instead of releasing one EP between "The Mantle" and "Ashes Against The Grain," for some reason the band decided that two EPs would somehow be a good thing. Why? Since each one has only two tracks, the world will never know.

This one comes off more as a single than an EP. While the first EP "Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor" was 28 minutes in length, TOMORROW WILL NEVER COME consists of a mere two tracks that only last 7 minutes and 32 seconds. Hardly worth wasting resources over yet there were 500 copies that were initialed by Jason William Walton, so i guess a money making gimmick this was but in the end a really unnecessary addition to the AGALLOCH canon.

"The Death Of Man" (Version III) is nothing more than an alternative take of the famous introductory folk strumming that gracefully initiates "The Mantle" in all its glory. However, there is really nothing that great about this and only subtle atmospheric touches differentiate it from the original. After hearing this all i want to do is hear "The Mantle" and wonder why in the world this was released.

The second track, the title track is at least original and not found elsewhere. This is a nice dreamy folk track exclusively performed on acoustic guitar and shows a bit more classical guitar influence than the usual dark neofolk of AGALLOCH albums. While the guitar strumming is beautiful, the addition of field recordings in the form of a documentary don't seem to fit in very well. This stylistic approach was originally desired for Don Anderson's tenure in the band Sculptured but was rejected (for good reason.) This track also displays the massive influence the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor had on AGALLOCH's post-rock aspects. The subtle freaky atmospherics that whiz by behind the folk guitar with the psychotic spoken ranting is right out of their playbook.

This is not an outstanding release. It is worth hearing for history's sake but nothing redeeming at all. Only the second track is an original but nothing to write home about. A disappointing little tidbit following the band's classic "The Mantle" and an obvious attempt to cash in on its unexpected popularity. For completist's only.

 The Grey by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.05 | 29 ratings

BUY
The Grey
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars Since AGALLOCH took three years between their albums 'The Mantle' and 'Ashes Against The Grain,' the band released two short EPs in their stead. The first, 'Tomorrow Will Never Come' in 2003 and the second THE GREY EP in 2004. This one was a released with only 1000 copies and contains a mere two tracks of reinterpreted mixes of two tracks from 'The Mantle.'

'The Lodge (Dismantled)' takes extreme liberties by adapting the 4 minute and 40 second track into a 13 minute and 4 second noisefest. With a basic tripling of time length one would expect more variation but the track is very repetitive and quite uninteresting outside of the original album context. It does however prelude the harsher noise style that would define 'Ashes Against The Grain' with the extremities that end it similar to those that would develop into 'Our Fortress Is Burning' III - The Grain.'

'Odal (Nothing Remix)' is perhaps the greatest deviation from an original song ever. It is literally indecipherable as the track that appeared on 'The Mantle' and is basically a 7 minute and 47 second electronic drone track that starts out with a receptive 'washing machine' groove. It cedes into more of an industrial type of track with a haunting atmospheric organ and some clanging on some sort of metallic objects reminiscent of early Einst'rzende Neubauten. This is the more interesting of the tracks if you like nebulous industrial noise sounds, however it is completely devoid of any of AGALLOCH's signature sounds and doubtful that fans will be interested.

THE GREY EP was technically designed to complete a trilogy that included 'The Mantle' and the the 'Tomorrow Will Never Come EP' however i find the two EPs that follow 'The Mantle' rather pointless as they convey nothing extra to 'The Mantle's' magnificent mix of cross-pollinating musical styles nor does it convey anything lyrical at all. This one is nothing more than a couple of experiments that probably would've been better to release years later as a compilation of weirdness after the band broke up. This is only for hardcore completists.

 Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.39 | 38 ratings

BUY
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars To the casual listener of AGALLOCH's albums, it may be unclear as to whether the band is a black metal band dressed in dark neofolk clothing or a folk band that happens to delve in the metal universe, however it becomes clearer if one is to explore beyond the full-length albums and into the equal number of EPs. While on the albums, the mix is pretty even, on the EPs, most are totally dedicated to dark neofolk with no metal at all. AGALLOCH's first album "Pale Folklore" came out in 1999 and starting with their next release they began a trend that would continue throughout their career. They would release an EP between each album. While most would be completely folk based, this first EP titled OF STONE, WIND AND PILLOR is the exception in that it is an eclectic mix of five tracks that differ quite substantially.

This was intended to be AGALLOCH's debut to be released as a vinyl 7" that would include only the first three tracks: the title track, "Foliorum Viridium" (from the demo) and "Haunting Birds." The title track displays the unique mix of black metal, post-rock and dark neofolk that would catapult AGALLOCH onto the world's stage and become their signature sound. The track is more upbeat than anything else on this EP and would've fit well onto "Pale Folklore" as it emphasizes the shrieked black metal vocals, heavily distorted guitar riffing and atmospheric doom and gloom. The following two tracks "Foliorum Viridium" and "Haunting Birds" are completely different as they are instrumental and non-metal. The former, a haunting orchestrated symphonic affair with choral effects and the latter a recognizable early prototype of the introductory acoustic guitar folk layout that would begin "The Mantle" and would become its signature defining characteristic.

Since the project was put on hold until 2001 and released after the full-length "Pale Folklore," the band decided to add two additional tracks. The first was the Sol Invictus cover "Kneel To The Cross" which offers an orchestrated atmospheric folk tinged melody that is enhanced by the repetitive vocal chants that break into a more recognizable dark neofolk style similar to "The Mantle" but deftly incorporates an interesting clean / shrieked vocal dynamic over the acoustic guitar melodic drive. The last tune is a musical score titled "A Poem By Yeats" which incorporates poetic prose of W.B. Yeats poem "The Sorrow Of Love." This track is another heavily symphonic neofolk offering that displays AGALLOCH's mastery of the darkened acoustic world with layered atmospheric elements. It also includes a beautiful piano run that ushers in a shoegazy mix of keyboards, vocals and echo effects. The melodies are beautiful and soaring as the poetry is reciting in spoken prose.

Although OF STONE, WIND, AND PILLOR was intended to be the debut preceding "Pale Folklore," i find that it works as the perfect bridge that leads up to "The Mantle" as it displays the logical extension from the black metal dominated debut to the more post-rock / dark neofolk laced sophomore album. While the EPs in AGALLOCH's canon have been ignored in favor of their more lengthy full- length albums, this one is quite majestic in its short 28 minute time run. The melodics are melancholic and haunting and while eschewing the metal almost completely displays in perfect form how well AGALLOCH were at concocting sophisticated compositions based on heart-tugging melodies. The only complaint i have is that it has an annoying silent stretch at the end with some pig squeals that finish it off. I wouldn't complain if it were longer either but it is an EP, but a really, really good one nonetheless.

 Pale Folklore by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.76 | 158 ratings

BUY
Pale Folklore
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars American rock history has rarely been in the forefront of the European scenes as it seems the US has always been playing catch up rather than being innovators but every once in a while, a band or two happens to catch the rest of the world off guard with something completely bold, daring and original. This applies to the heavy metal universe as well. One example is when the Texas based Watchtower exemplified the bombast and fury of 80s metal and applied it to an adventurous progressive rock paradigm. The world would never be the same. One could also argue that the Portland, Oregon based AGALLOCH has had much of the same effect on the post-second wave black metal that has become a staple of the 21st century extreme metal world and has allowed a relentless explorative pursuit within the black metal world ever since.

This band dates back to 1995 when guitarist / vocalist John Haughm (formerly of Sculptured) and keyboardist Shane Breyer (formerly of Susurrus Inanis) began to take early explorative measures in the black metal universe that would amalgamate the disparate worlds of black metal, post-rock and progressive rock with the neofolk of bands like Death In June. As soon as guitarist Don Anderson (also formerly of Sculptured) joined, the band set out to record their first demo tape 'From Which Of This Oak' which was released in 1997. While still deeply rooted in black metal, the band had hit upon their own style and with the addition of Jason Walton on drums, the band would forge their unique style that would be unleashed onto an unsuspecting world with their full- length debut PALE FOLKLORE in 1999 just in time for a new millennium.

AGALLOCH immediately scored a unique eclectic mix of musical elements that hitherto had only been attempted by Scandinavian bands such as Ulver, Opeth and Amorphis. PALE FOLKLORE features a mature homegrown integration of doom and black metal along with acoustic folk arpeggios and post-rock compositional structures that sprawled into lengthy melancholic tracks that exhibited a wide range of growled, clean, whispered and shrieked vocals. The pagan based themes in the lyrics focused on depression, nature, folklore and the supernatural all splayed in a post-rock nonchalance that set up mood altering passages that found closure with heavy black metal crescendocore. Unique to this debut was also the female operatic vocals that occasional pop in performed by Anderson's girlfriend of the time. While the album took three years to write and record, only one track from the demo, 'As Embers Dress The Sky' make it on PALE FOLKLORE.

The album begins with an epic grace of the 'She Painted Fire Across The Skyline' suite which in three movements perfectly prognosticated the evolution of black metal into the new millennium. The juxtaposition of the disparate metal, folk, post-rock and doom elements took the compositional flow of post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the neofolk of Death In June and layered in doom metal marches, black metal tremolo picking and distortion with the occasional flare of neoclassical elements bleeding through. Likewise the atmospheric properties of the keyboards added a frosty veneer over the aggressive metal passages assuaged by acoustic folk melodies. Add the disparate vocal styles and the extraordinarily diverse drumming patterns and the result was one of the most unique metal albums of 1999. The band has cited that in addition to Ulver and Godspeed You!, influences include Katatonia, The 3rd And The Mortal, Swans as well as music from movie soundtracks.

All in all PALE FOLKLORE may not be as focused as 'The Mantle' or other subsequent albums but in effect lays the groundwork for all that would come and proved to be an influential release in its own right. Entrenched with soaring atmospheric orchestrations, keyboard tinklings, metal bombast in contrast to acoustic folk melodies, PALE FOLKLORE found a unique niche in between the orthodoxy of 90s black metal and even the Neurosis styled post-metal of the same era. AGALLOCH simply took the cross-pollinating effects of all these elements to a new level and managed to put the US on the map within the black metal world. If you ask me, AGALLOCH probably has the most in common with Sweden's Opeth. They both exhibited a unique trading off between sensual acoustic guitar passages and bombastic metal explosiveness that were cleverly woven together. Out of all the AGALLOCH albums, PALE FOLKLORE is the most diverse in tempos, timbres, time signatures, vocal styles etc. A more than competent debut.

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives