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4.00 | 17 ratings | 2 reviews
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EP · 2012


1. Faustian Echoes (21:34)

Total Time 21:34


- Jason William Walton / Bass
- John Haughm / Guitars, Vocals
- Don Anderson / Guitars, Mellotron
- Aesop Dekker / Drums

About this release

Released by Dämmerung Arts, June 26th, 2012,

Thanks to Wilytank for the addition and Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Angry Scotsman
New Agalloch EP? Composed of a single, 21 minute song and based off the legendary story of Faust? HELL. YES.

This was another quality output by the atmospheric metal gurus from the Pacific Northwest.

There is not anything groundbreaking here for the band, all in all it is more or less a standard Agalloch release, but as any fan will tell you a standard Agalloch release is a unique experience better than most music out there!

"Faustian Echoes" has it all: bleak, raw doom metal tempered with blast beat laden black metal, folk, light and dark passages, superb melodies, thrashy parts, melancholic chains of double bass and tremolo picking, and textured songwriting all moving in a perfect flow. Everything works together but never like a formula, but..well like the atmosphere, flowing together as one beautiful thing.

The vocals are raspy growls, familiar to any Agalloch fan. Unfortunately John Haughm never uses his clean vocals, which is shame since they are so good, and the change of pace would be nice. While not bad, the harsh vocals get a tad tiresome, thankfully the vocals are not a major part of this EP. The seem a bit dry as well, lacking that Haughm passion and intensity of the past. I fully admit though, over the recent years I've lost much of my taste for harsh vocals.

There are samples used throughout, from the 1994 film Faust. One of the best parts in the whole song is a section with gentle, almost indetectable electronic noises fluttering in the background while a sample of Faust speaking to Mephistopheles is heard. A gentle guitar melody starts up as Mephistopheles says, "Go bear these tidings to great Lucifer" and the music works with it so perfectly, it's hauntingly beautiful. What makes it so amazing is the sample used is spoken, but with an almost singing like quality. Perhaps it just seems that way due to the guitar melody playing, but the whole speaking segment just works amazingly.

The sound is also standard Agalloch, clean enough to hear everything but still raw and a bit dirty. It conveys the bleakness and abrasiveness of black metal but is not nearly as poor in actual quality. The guitars are more distorted than noisy and buzzing, like typical black metal.

Lyrically, this EP is based off the story of Faust, which most are vaguely familiar with at least, so briefly the famous story involved the man Faust, who sells his soul to the Devil for knowledge and desire...bored with his limitations on Earth.

This is a very solid, if fairly typical, Agalloch release and this is not a bad thing. It leaves me a bit underwhelmed, but there is not much bad that can be said. Any fan of Agalloch should find this enjoyable, at the very minimal, and any metal fan who has a taste for the progressive and harsh, I would recommend "Faustian Echoes" surely. Though it's not the strongest Agalloch release, it's very good.


Members reviews

Agalloch are back with a new EP and the longest single song they have written to date that turns around the brilliant epic masterpiece "Faust" by the famous German writer, artist and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Anybody who cares a tiny little bit for classic litterature should check this author out and especially the tragic play in two parts that inspired Agalloch to create their new masterpiece. To give you an idea of the lyrical content of this release, let me briefly resume the two parts of Goethe's famous play. In the first part, the old scientist, teacher and researcher Heinrich Faust realizes that he had no success in his closed minded career and especially in his private life. He decides to make a pact with Mephisto who transforms him into a young man again. Faust is able to develop a relationship to the young Margarete that soon gets pregnant. But the married woman kills her child as soon as it's born and is driven insane by the drama she is going through. She is condamned to get executed and even Faust can't save her from the final judgement. The second part rather touches cultural topics. Faust tries to satisfy the ideals of the classic era by searching perfection in all kind of abilities but ultimately fails over and over again. He realizes that he can't control the devil he has made the deal with who makes a powerful but egoistic human being out of him and finishes by claiming his soul. I won't tell you how the stories of both parts end and recommand you to read both plays if my description intrigued you a little bit.

Now, let's talk about the music. I was a little bit disappointed by the band's last full length release "Marrow Of The Spirit" that was too cerebral in my opinion and had many unnecessary lengths and lacked of a coherent flow. It surely had its moments but it was rather hard to digest and not easy to get an access to it. "Faustian Echoes" simply resumes everything Agalloch stands for in one single song that may seem complex at first try but that gets better each time you try it out again. This song is a true grower and has a much easier access as the last full length release. Its smooth but not too slow and finds just the right balance.

The song features dark narrative passages that give the track its structure that is divided into several parts just like a theatre play. The overall flow of the track is calm and melancholic. The electric guitar chords as well as the acoustic guitar passages are truly beautiful. They have a dark and depressive touch but are still filled with hope and passion. With the help of decent and not artificially sounding or too dominant keyboard samples, they build up a cinematic and epic atmosphere throughout the entire track. This is cinema for your ears and entirely without symphonic approaches.

The melodic doom parts are sometimes interrupted by some blackened parts with harsh vocals that come as a welcome change of style without taking too much space. The drums get fast and chaotic at those points and fit to the doom tragedy of the lyrical topic. The vocals are atmospheric, grim and intense and are well employed. I would like to hear more vocal efforts of this quality in the extreme metal scene. They sound emotional but professional and don't take too much space.

The instruments play the biggest role in here. Between the calm parts when the instruments are dying away to the short thunderlike epic black metal parts, the song constantly evolves and smoothly changes every few minutes. The different passages are well elaborated through interludes and never seem out of space. The changes are often only small but always follow a clear guiding line and contain enough variation to remain entertaining. The twenty minutes pass very quickly and don't seem too long. It was also a good idea to stop at this point as I feel that everything has been said at the end of the track.

Above all musical innovation is the magic atmosphere of the track that drowns you into a dark fantastic world of shattered dreams and illusions without losing a little glimpse of hope. Agalloch keep the whole thing simple without adding anything too progressive or any avant-garde stuff. This helps a lot to create the atmosphere that is worthy of the great theatre play they were inspired by. The final result finds just the right balance between calm and fast parts, between raw sounds and crystal clear passages, between vocal or narrative and long instrumental parts.

This track is definitely one of the strongest ones this creative American band has ever written. It's truly close to perfection and the track easily pulls you into its spell from the atmospheric introduction on up to the narratiev closure. It's a track to plunge into and it doesn't take much time to get addicted to this musical drug. Just sit down with your earphones in a shady room, give yourself a break and close your eyes and you will easily be aware of the profound greatness of this song. Agalloch don't need an entire album or several tracks to bring their message as this song easily represents everything they need to tell. It will be tough to top this stuff. Any fan should praise this new release and it's also an ideal introduction to anyone that has yet to discover the band.

Ratings only

  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • Tupan
  • clone62
  • DreamInSong
  • Gallifrey
  • bartosso
  • aecht
  • Nazar_Sergijovych
  • contempt80
  • NorseGangsta
  • IMPF2112
  • SKwid
  • Coracin
  • sauromat
  • Wilytank

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