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Agalloch - The White EP CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.57 | 71 ratings

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

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

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

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

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

TCat | 3/5 |


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