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Old 09-14-2008, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
Existential Egoist
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,468
Default Agalloch Review Thread (I_S)

So int his thread I will try to review all of Agalloch's discography. I may not do it in order, but I will try to hit everything, including EPs.

Track List:

1. "A Celebration for the Death of Man…" – 2:24 (instrumental)
2. "In the Shadow of our Pale Companion" – 14:44
3. "Odal" – 7:38 (instrumental)
4. "I Am the Wooden Doors" – 6:10
5. "The Lodge" – 4:39 (instrumental)
6. "You Were but a Ghost in My Arms" – 9:13
7. "The Hawthorne Passage" – 11:17 (instrumental)
8. "…and the Great Cold Death of the Earth" – 7:13
9. "A Desolation Song" – 5:07

This is, in my opinion, the greatest album ever created. While that term gets thrown around a lot by the average person, I mean that in its purest context. See a great album, in my opinion, is one that bears the obvious good music traits, which is originality and passion. Then, there is also a critique, which I like to call "the flow" of an album. Great albums, such as this one, tend to make you sit and listen to the album from start to finish without any interruption. Then, the last and final trait that makes a great album, is its replay ability. This is the obvious trait (hopefully) that measures how many times you can actually listen to an album without getting bored. While reviewing this album, I have not questioned its ability to make it into my favorite albums list.

So, what we have here, is a very dynamic album that takes influences from a couple bands and creates a breed of music that mixes each and every style. You have have the obvious Ulver influence (mainly Ulver's first album,) from the post-rock/post-metal genres, from neofolk bands such as Sol Invictus (an obvious claim because of their cover of Kneel to the Cross.) Basically, the only way to describe this music would be to say Avant-Garde Ambient Folk Metal, and we can shorten it to AGAFM, but that sounds horrible so the common label for their music is dark metal. I can't really disagree with the genre label because, quite frankly, their music is extremely dark, depressing, and doomy, which is why I like it so much. If you were to combine the epicness of power metal (without the corney overtones,) the darkness of funeral doom, and the depressing nature of pagan folk music, that would be Agalloch at its least. The band deserves much more recognition than they get for their music, which is why I am reviewing this album in the first place.

The album starts out with a nice opening track with attacking drums and an acoustic guitar playing a droning riff, which also is endlessly repeated in the second song. The songs are marked with the idea of chilling landscapes covered with pinewood that follows up a mountain until a snowy top. If you could capture Washington and Oregon in an album, this album would provide the best explanation. The electric guitar seems to play droning riffs that give off the icy approach to the music. The militant drum playing could also contribute to that interpretation. The vocals have to be the one thing on this album that shocks me every time I listen to it. Honestly, if Linkin Park's lead singer (whoever that dirtball is) could sing good, this bands lead singer would sound like him. I can't get over the fact that he reminds me of him.

The only problem (if you can call it a problem,) with this album is that I feel like the idea of using a deer skull as a percussion instrument for one track is kinda pretentious, but I really don't care because it never gets in the way of my experience.

So, if you are looking for a great album, this is it. They really do deserve recognition outside the genre of metal, and I would encourage anyone who likes post-rock and can stand harsh vocals to a degree to check this album out because it is ONE OF A KIND. Any of the bands albums are great, but this one is the best, I feel, in an album way because it flows so great. I am trying to get a hold of everything this band has ever released, but I can't get a hold of their promo that only had 20 copies given out so I have pretty much given up on it. If anyone has it, contact me, please!

10 out of 10
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
Ba and Be.
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
Posts: 17,300

Pretty damn close to a perfect ten for me too. Stunning album. Every Metal fan should listen to this. Just shows what a little imagination and ambience can do for Metal.

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
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Old 09-14-2008, 05:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hobbit Land NZ
Posts: 2,867

I'm looking forward to your reviews. And I love the Mantle... I have fond memories of listening to it a lot back in high school - especially around exams as it's good study music too.

One thing I've never understood is the Agalloch/Opeth comparisons - sure there are similarities, but people go as far to claim that one is ripping of the other. Anyway, after reading this review I feel like pulling it out for a listen.
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