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AGALLOCH

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Agalloch biography
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 Silence of Forgotten Landscapes" in 2009.

AGALLOCH hails from Portl...
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The Serpent & The SphereThe Serpent & The Sphere
Profound Lore 2014
Audio CD$9.31
$8.88 (used)
The MantleThe Mantle
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$6.39
$5.75 (used)
Pale FolklorePale Folklore
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$6.79
$5.09 (used)
Ashes Against the GrainAshes Against the Grain
The End Records 2006
Audio CD$7.60
$6.12 (used)
Marrow of the SpiritMarrow of the Spirit
Profound Lore 2010
Audio CD$8.48
$5.71 (used)
Faustian Echoes EPFaustian Echoes EP
Dammerung Arts
Audio CD$19.99
Of Stone, Wind, and PillorOf Stone, Wind, and Pillor
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$84.95
$304.10 (used)
The Grey EPThe Grey EP
Vendlus Records
Audio CD$119.99
$91.91 (used)
From Which of This Oak [Vinyl]From Which of This Oak [Vinyl]
Single · Import
2009
Vinyl$75.00
$300.97 (used)
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AGALLOCH shows & tickets


  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Midtown BarFly, Sacramento on 6 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco on 7 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Echoplex, Los Angeles on 9 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at The Casbah, San Diego on 10 Jun 2015
  • AGALLOCH * HELEN MONEY on 13 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Bluebird Theater, Denver on 14 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City on 15 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at The Crocodile, Seattle on 17 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Venue, Vancouver on 18 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + Helen Money at Victoria Event Center, Victoria, BC on 19 Jun 2015
  • SERPENS IN CVLMINATION WESTERN HEMISPHERE MMXV on 20 Jun 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at K17, Berlin on 28 Jul 2015
  • GOTHOOM open air fest 6,66 on 29 Jul 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Hydrozagadka, Warszawa on 29 Jul 2015
  • Agalloch at Mostovna, Solkan on 31 Jul 2015
  • Agalloch at Circolo Colony, Brescia on 1 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Dynamo Werk 21, Zürich on 2 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Le Grillen, Colmar on 3 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Backstage, Munich on 4 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Dürer-kert, Budapest on 5 Aug 2015
  • Brutal Assault XX on 5 Aug 2015
  • Party.San Open Air 2015 on 6 Aug 2015
  • Bloodstock Open Air 2015 on 6 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Audio, Glasgow on 10 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch + C R O W N at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 11 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch at Werkstatt, Cologne on 12 Aug 2015
  • Summer Breeze 2015 on 13 Aug 2015
  • 17. Barther Metal Openair on 13 Aug 2015
  • Motocultor Festival 2015 on 14 Aug 2015
  • Agalloch (Usa) + C R O W N (Fr) - Exclusive nl show on 15 Aug 2015

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)

3.72 | 128 ratings
Pale Folklore
1998
4.09 | 291 ratings
The Mantle
2002
3.82 | 182 ratings
Ashes Against The Grain
2006
3.82 | 167 ratings
Marrow Of The Spirit
2010
3.71 | 56 ratings
The Serpent & The Sphere
2014

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

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

4.14 | 13 ratings
The Silence of Forgotten Landscapes
2009

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

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

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

2.82 | 21 ratings
From Which of this Oak
1996
3.28 | 35 ratings
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
2001
2.27 | 20 ratings
Tomorrow Will Never Come
2003
2.05 | 26 ratings
The Grey
2004
3.52 | 50 ratings
The White EP
2008
4.44 | 27 ratings
Faustian Echoes
2012
3.67 | 3 ratings
Celestial Effigy
2014

AGALLOCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Grey by AGALLOCH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.05 | 26 ratings

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The Grey
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I definitely wouldn't call this Agalloch's worst album or E.P. simply because it doesn't really represent their sound. This is a band that has always been open to experimentation and not to remain locked into a certain particular sound like Doom Metal. They are definitely inventive and explorers of their genre and that is what elevates them above the norm. That is also part of what makes them progressive.

The tracks on this E.P. are both long and are both instrumental reinterpretations, or breakdowns if you will, of 2 tracks from The Mantle LP. "The Lodge (Dismantled)" is an excellent rehash of the original that starts out exploring the main riffs and feeling of the track. This is a more straightforward track that starts out sort of repetitious but soon develops into quite a moody dark piece that echoes the color of the title of the EP. This is a heavier piece than the 2nd, but it is still quite light compared to some of their other music and is still an experimentation of an already established piece. The heaviness is still quite blissful and strangely relaxing in a way. There are touches of dronework here, but not quite, more in the feeling of the piece then the actual performance.

The 2nd track is completely experimental. It is "Odal (Nothing Mix)" which is an appropriate name for this version. The sounds are electronic and ambient, quite a change from the previous track here, but it is still dark and brooding, a lot like a Bass Communion track but not as minimalistic. There is some structure to the track, but not much. It is still a great track for listening to on a stormy afternoon as it matches the mood.

This is not a very representative recording of the band as it is too experimental. But that is what keeps things interesting for me. Not my favorite exploration either, but still good enough when the mood is right. The music is dark and matches the title of the album. Not for everyone, but still interesting enough, I would have to rate this at 3 stars, but I love the fact that the band keeps things interesting. If this is your first Agalloch album, don't base your opinions about them solely on this album. Just be ready for experimentation and ambience here.

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 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.71 | 56 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Serpent & the Sphere" is the 5th full-length studio album by US doom/black metal act Agalloch. The album was released through Profound Lore Records in May 2014. Itīs been 4 years since the release of "Marrow of the Spirit (2010)", but looking down over their discography that seems to be their regular release cycle for studio albums. Agalloch have however released the "Whitedivisiongrey (2011)" compilation and the "Faustian Echoes (2012)" EP to bridge the gap between the two studio albums.

The music on "The Serpent & the Sphere" pretty much continues down the atmospheric and epic doom/black metal path that the band also tread on "Marrow of the Spirit (2010)". Itīs a music style thatīs actually a bit hard to describe correctly as it also features elements of folk, goth, post rock, and progressive rock. The only "real" black metal trait in the music is the raspy and raw vocals, which are occasionally whispering instead. Otherwise this is predominantly heavy, atmospheric and epic extreme metal. Itīs very dynamic music with both grand massive sections and beautiful mellow acoustic moments.

The album features 9 tracks and a full playing time of 59:58 minutes. Thereīre everything from 3 to 5 minutes long tracks to tracks like "Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation" (which features an opening that screams My Dying Bride) and "Plateau of the Ages", that both exceed the 10 minutes mark. As something extraordinary Canadian neo-folk musician Nathanaël Larochette has written and performs some acoustic guitar pieces, that work as little breathers between the more metal oriented tracks.

"The Serpent & the Sphere" is a well produced album featuring a warm, heavy and organic sound, which suits the music well and overall itīs another high quality release by Agalloch. Itīs not their most creative release but itīs still adventurous and well played and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.71 | 56 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Serpent & The Sphere' - Agalloch (71/100)

Agalloch is the uncommon result of an uncompromising vision and style. Though they've never let themselves be bound to one sound, their identity is strong and distinctive, even in the wake of recent imitators. With each album, Agalloch seemed to have found the perfect balance between staying true to one's own aesthetic, and shifting the style to the point where each album felt like a new journey. With that in mind, it's not surprising Agalloch have made such waves. Particularly in recent years, their momentum has snowballed to the extent where they're now one of the most talked-about bands in extreme music. Their second and third albums- The Mantle and Ashes Against the Grain- remain two of my best-loved albums ever.

With the unbearably high expectations that would no doubt arise with a new Agalloch record, I'm not altogether sure whether I could have listened to The Serpent & The Sphere without some sort of disappointment laying in wait. Agalloch's latest album is easily the least impression in their career thus far, but it yet stands as an impressive contribution to what is fast-becoming one of the best discographies in metal.

Similarly to the impression I had with 2010's Marrow of the Spirit, rather than renovate their entire style, The Serpent & The Sphere feels like a conscious consolidation of elements they previously innovated. The Ulver-esque black metal of Pale Folklore is arguably most prominent, with The Mantle's folk displays and Ashes Against the Grain's post-metal leanings filling out the rest of their palette. Taking the fourth album into account as well, The Serpent & The Sphere enjoys the distinct analog production of Marrow of the Spirit. All put together, you have an album that retains the rich quality and atmosphere of Agalloch, without so much of the identity I'd associate with their individual albums. Then again, Marrow of the Spirit also suffered this criticism, and I still consider it a masterpiece unto its own.

Whatever issues that may be had with The Serpent & The Sphere lay within the written material itself. The atmosphere remains as bold and vast, but in fusing their styles, the result is rather muddy and inconsistent. "The Astral Dialogue" and "Dark Matter Gods" pack a solid punch, but none of the individual songs have the memorable impact I may have taken for granted on earlier albums. In spite of coming off as weaker songwriters this time around, there are plenty of immaculate moments on The Serpent & The Sphere, precisely the sort of stuff that made them a favourite band of mine in the first place. "Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation" has a crushingly doomy feel, and while it lacks the dynamic impact of other slower Agalloch tunes (the masterful "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion" comes first to mind), it sets the stage with a bleak atmosphere that carries throughout the rest of the record. While "The Astral Dialogue" seems to run together with "Dark Matter Gods" on the album, it stands out to me as one of the album's best cuts, with biting riffs that recall Agalloch's labelmates in Hammers of Misfortune. Perhaps it proves a point, but the included interlude tracks provided by Musk Ox acoustic mastermind Nathaniel LaRochette are the best written, most evocative tracks on the album. On top of creating a satisfying 'bigger picture' for the album, the interludes co-exist beautifully with Agalloch's bleakly solipsistic aesthetic, to the point where I hope this is not the last we've heard from him on an Agalloch release.

While the material on The Serpent & The Sphere does not impress me nearly as much as their last three albums, I can safely say Agalloch have improved the practical execution of their material to the point of virtual perfection. With the help of producer Billy Anderson, The Serpent & The Sphere isn't just the best- sounding Agalloch have ever been- it's one of the best productions I have ever heard on a metal album period. Marrow of the Spirit played with analog grit in the wake of the overly polished Ashes Against the Grain but didn't nail it entirely. The Serpent & The Sphere enjoys a richly organic production that sometimes even outshines the music itself. It's one thing to have a polished big-budget production, but it takes some level of vision and genius to find the optimal warmth and frame for a band's sound. Aesop Dekker's drumwork is thick and heavy, the guitars sound rich, and Jason Walton's bass work is consistently audible for once. From a technical standpoint, The Serpent & The Sphere arguably succeeds beyond any other album I've heard this year. It's a shame I don't find myself quite so impressed with the music itself.

There was something beautifully poetic and captivating about the way Agalloch sought to capture the essence of nature in their lyrics and music. It's certainly a bold move for the band to have stepped away from the earthly to explore its astral counterpart, but Agalloch's wordier approach to the ethereal doesn't carry the same resonance. Even so, if anything defines The Serpent & The Sphere in the context of Agalloch's illustrious discography, it is this conceptual liberation from the worldly plane. While the music is still perfectly recognizable to what Agalloch have conjured in the past, it is conscious of this change; space electronic embellishments and oscillations virtually unheard of in their work come to bear whenever the atmosphere permits. The lyrics reveal more depth when they're read, and taken into context with the album's interlude-heavy structure and cover art featuring the ceaseless worm Ouroboros, there is plenty of depth and thought-provoking content available to anyone willing to search for it. Agalloch are none the less meticulous in their work, but their earthly aesthetics of yesteryear are preferable to the road they've taken.

While he retains the rare gift of having a distinctive black metal rasp, Haughm has limited himself to a small set of familiar snarls and brooding whispers. Where his plain (and appropriately sombre) clean vocals might have added variety on past albums, his almost entirely rasped delivery on The Serpent & The Sphere doesn't offer the impact I would expect to hear from him. Come to think of it, it's probably a significant reason why I've never been able to connect to the album's theme and lyrics. There's nothing wrong with his snarl in of itself (and I might not have even noted the lack of range in a lesser black metal act) but by the sixth time he falls back on his default moody whisper to elocute some declaration to the universe, it no longer feels as poignant or moving as it should be.

If anything's been proven to me in this experience, it's that being a fan can have its downsides. Were this the first Agalloch release I'd had the pleasure of hearing, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it more, but I'm certain that my lasting thoughts towards it wouldn't have been so critical. Perhaps the album needs a pair of fresh ears to enjoy to its fullest extent; the fact is that while Agalloch remains a powerfully resonant force with a gripping sense of style and atmosphere, they seem to be at the point where they have begun to rest on their laurels, at least when it comes to renovating their sound. The Serpent & The Sphere is a solid album for all intents and purposes, but for a band as breathtaking as Agalloch have been in the past, I was expecting more.

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 The Mantle by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.09 | 291 ratings

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The Mantle
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Aldebaran_Well

5 stars After a very good debut, ''The Mantle'' back in 2002 fell like an unexpected meteorite upon the world of heavy metal music. This U.S band instantly left its eternal mark, in terms of personality, style and quality. In my opinion, Agalloch came to take the place of good 90's Paradise Lost in the throne of solemn, doomy and sophisticated metal.

I don't know if it's prog or not but I know for sure that Agalloch serves a very specific artistic vision. Their sound consists in equal parts of slow, dramatic and gloomy metal, extended acoustic folk passages, post metal references and black metal background. These sonic elements entwine strongly with the deeper philosophy involved: There is a mysterious, grey poetry, a dark earthly gaze upon things, dare to say a pagan approach. Agalloch's music is one with the earth, the soundtrack of secret deities ruling wild places. All these are delivered through long compositions that each one feels like a myst's journey. Fast outbursts, acoustic parts and sad heavy riffs change constantly - excellent songwriting and arranging skills - offering delight to the heathen ears!

Discovering ''The Mantle'' may feel like being a solitary traveler paving upon dry autumn leaves at a twilight hour. Here you'll find a world of truth in shadows. Here you'll find metal quality. Become the myst yourself.

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 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.71 | 56 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Aldebaran_Well

4 stars The kings of naturalistic metal are back, 4 years after ''Marrow of the spirit'' and the new album holds no surprises. The band still walks on the same musical road they alone created and defined 12 years ago with ''The Mantle''. Same ingredients: springing from black metal, sorrowful slow tempo metal, folk character, post rock/metal aesthetics, pagan philosophy. Quality is the word. Same taste: Delicious. The dish is served in a very clean and modern production which is a very impressive choice from the band. Most bands in Agalloch's style choose moody sounds. Agalloch obviously don't have any playing weaknesses to hide...

Though I don't believe they will ever release a mediocre record, it's obvious to me that their inspiration peaks have been reached in the past. After ''The Mantle'', Agalloch seem happy just to reserve persuasively their artistic personality, the musical and spiritual beliefs and the ideas this band stands for. So expect metal of extreme quality, expect music with deep roots and adventurous soundscapes that, yes, a progster may find enjoyable. Expect no masterpiece, too.

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 The Serpent & The Sphere by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.71 | 56 ratings

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The Serpent & The Sphere
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The masters of atmospheric metal are back with their latest release.

"The Serpent & the Sphere" feels like a continuation of "Ashes Against the Grain" in that Agalloch continues to drift from their black metal tendencies, (even if they were always tempered with folk and prog) with more focus on black metal aesthetics, atmosphere and song writing. While Haughm's classic raw, gravely rasps remain, there are very few blast beats to be found, and indeed the overall album has a less intense pace and feel to it. The songs are mid paced and far more subdued than their last album, "Marrow of the Spirit". In fact, I'd say "The Serpent & the Sphere" is more subdued than their overall body of work, which has never been a stranger to tremolo picked guitar work, or bludgeoning. Not to say these aspects are absent, (there's even some good ol double bass chain drumming) but there just seems to be "less" of everything, if that makes sense. A more sparse, less heavy feel to the music. Certainly less intensity, and even more acoustic/light guitar. The balance between light, melodic passages and heavy, raw passages seems to have tipped definitively towards the former.

The tone of the music itself is cleaner and lighter than "Marrow of the Spirit", which admittedly took a bit of adjustment..I am used to Agalloch loud, buzzing, fuzzy guitar noise. My natural inclination upon first hearing this is "flat" or "lacking power" but of course it just is different sounding. I personally applaud the band for the lighter style.

This is perhaps not unexpected, as Agalloch was moving progressively in this direction until they released Marrow. So maybe the style is what we should have expected, is it successful?

Of course.

The songwriting as solid as ever. Textured, layered guitar work with riffs and melodies to die for, (even if they are lesser on this album than previous) and songs that move like a river, drifting but not without direction. There are a few other minor changes, such as more prominent bass, and a smidge "more" to the drumming than is typical. The songs are shorter than usual, and this album has a continuous flow to it, with segue pieces to connect the songs elegantly.

So overall, another solid, (if unspectacular) output from Agalloch, and as we know solid from them is better than most other bands could hope for. I will be sure to give this album many listens over the near future, and like all their other albums I'm sure this album will grow on me more and more.

Four Stars

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 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.82 | 167 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by stranded_starfish

4 stars What happened? In my reviews of Agalloch's preceeding efforts, I wrote, essentially (spoiler alert!) that they were adequate but unexceptional. Then along comes this, a much darker and heavier release ' much closer to their Black Metal origins ' and it's a formula that really works. The musicality is still there, which is made apparent right from the outset with a tastefully classical-sounding introduction track, which is then mirrored in the final track. But it's enough that this feels more like a beautifully melodic black metal album, in parts oddly reminiscent of French band Peste Noire (albeit without the horrendous politics). A lineup change is, perhaps, partly to be credited for the shift in style: a new drummer, whose work sits comparatively prominently in the recording, driving the music elegantly and unstoppably forward. The guitar work is different too, feeling more centred around genuine riffs, as opposed to being used purely as a 'mood-generator'.

An extremely good album, of interest to anyone seeking the heavier end of post-metal or the more melodic end of black metal. Particularly of note is the album opener proper, Into The Painted Grey.

4/5

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 The Mantle by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.09 | 291 ratings

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The Mantle
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by stranded_starfish

3 stars The second full-length release from Agalloch is not without it's moments of beauty, moments that emerge from the dappled shade of both darkness and light. This is particularly true of the sections in which the instrumental work is allowed the space to breathe and develop.

That said, my overall impression of this album is something of a lack of impression of it. It's certainly an adequate release, but I'm not altogether convinced it goes much further than that. Singer John Haughm's voice can match neither the beauty nor the power of the instrumentation, which itself somehow falls a little beyond the edge of my memory. A decent enough release, but not one that sits as a post-metal great in my eyes.

In terms of highlights, this is an album that improves as it goes on. The track 'The Hawthorne Passage' is, in particular worth a listen. I hope moments such as these will make this album a grower, given time.

Overall, I give this album a 3/5

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 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.82 | 167 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On Marrow of the Spirit, Agalloch dial back the folk a little bit compared to Ashes Against the Grain - it's not that they turn their back on folk metal, there's still aspects of it here, but equally they set themselves a sonic agenda so rich here that folk needs to step over to make room for everything else. With post-rock in the style of Godspeed You Black Emperor blending into Alcest-style "blackgaze" blending into more pure black metal bellows and doom metal dirges, it's a rich feast of sounds, but what's most impressive about it is the way Agalloch are able to assemble it into a coherent whole such that all of these distinct flavours blend into each other and seem to fit together.

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 Ashes Against The Grain by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.82 | 182 ratings

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Ashes Against The Grain
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progbethyname

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

' 5 big ones.'

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