AGALLOCH — Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor

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AGALLOCH - Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor cover
3.19 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews
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EP · 2001

Filed under Folk Metal
By AGALLOCH

Tracklist

1. Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor (6:59)
2. Foliorum Viridium (2:42)
3. Haunting Birds (3:44)
4. Kneel to the Cross (5:54)
5. A Poem by Yeats (8:38)

Total Time: 28:00

Line-up/Musicians

- John Haughm / Vocals, Guitars, Drums
- Don Anderson / Guitars, Vocals (#4)
- Jason William Walton / Bass
- Shane Breyer / Keyboards, Vocals (#5)

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Ronn Chick / Keyboards (#4)
- Brian Yager / Vocals (#4)

Release Staff:

- Ronn Chick / Mastering, Recording (#4), Mixing (#4)
- John Haughm / Layout
- Michael Lastra / Recording (#1, #3), Mixing (#1, #3)
- Daniel S. Breyer / Recording (#3, #5), Mixing (#3)
Aaron Sholes Mixing (track 5)

About this release

Released by The End Records, May 28th, 2001.

Limited to 2500 copies.

Thanks to triceratopsoil, adg211288 for the updates

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AGALLOCH WIND, AND PILLOR OF STONE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
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.
The Angry Scotsman
A crossroads in Agalloch's career, "Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor" sees the band add more folk to their pallet, and an overall more subdued feel. In a way this is a condensed, and not fully developed, blueprint for their upcoming masterpiece, "The Mantle".

While looking back on it, this may sound a bit uninspired and not fully there, this a good EP. It kicks off with the title track which opens with folk guitar, then moves into what would become an Agalloch staple, the folk riff with a wall of distorted guitar. This song features a "real" riff something not to be seen with Agalloch for sometime... It continues on in a heavy atmospheric fashion. Good song, but feels a bit aimless at times.

Foliorum Viridum is the song off their debut EP, but its been cut off before the heavy part. Leaving this as a purely ambient segue.

Haunting Birds is a cool acoustic folk song.

Kneel to the Cross. This is one of my all time favorite songs by Agalloch. Begins with a pagan chant repeating over and over. The whole time a drone progressively builds, with instruments being added in. It grows to a dramatic climax before the classic heavy chord/folk riff kicks in and the song moves along with a moderate pace while John's wonderful vocals sing some powerful lyrics. Proof that Agalloch are the masters of atmosphere. Awesome and powerful song, a cover of the original done by Sol Invictus.

The EP ends with "A Poem by Yeats" a very mellow orchestral piece, reciting the poem "The Sorrow of Love" by William Butler Yeats. The delivery is very haunting. Song ends with 4 and half minutes of silence.

Good EP, the title track is decent but a little weak, while the middle is superb and has great flow, peaking with one of the most powerful songs and ending with a very subdued one. Though one that many metalheads will probably wind up snoozing too. I really like "Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor" and personally give it a 3.5 but this is an EP that is a release not all will find enjoyable and while good, is not too spectacular.

Three Stars
Phonebook Eater
Another interesting EP by Black Metal/ Folk Metal band Agalloch.

Back in 2001, Agalloch were just starting to rise, after their solid debut "Pale Folklore". For their ultimate masterpiece, we just have to wait for the following year, when "The Mantle" was released, and for their near perfect one in 2006, "Ashes Against The Grain". "Of Stone, Wind And Pillor" is the EP that stands in the middle of the band's glorious career;a mix between the old, Black Metal style with some interesting Avant Garde bends, and the new, folkish and bleak style that characterizes the following effort of the band, "The Mantle".

All the songs here are respectfully good, particularly concerning the new revisitation of the atmospheric song "Foliorum Viridium", in my opinion better than the first version."Haunting Birds" is an interesting atmospheric piece, with very good experimentation. Also, "Kneel To the Cross" has some really haunting and surprising moments. But there are some lowers; "A Poem By Yeats" is a little boring, and the title track is really nothing special. But still, generally speaking, the album has the good moments, and it definitely is an excellent addiction to whoever likes Avant Garde/Black Metal, or to any Agalloch fan.
bonnek
A stopgap between studio releases, Of Stone Wind and Pillor is a compilation of previously unreleased and rare material.

Of Stone Wind and Pillor is a rather disappointing demo that evidently wasn’t selected for inclusion on the debut album, it’s a very average composition with dull vocals and uninspired riffs. The performance is slack and unfocussed. If this was Agalloch’s usual fare we wouldn’t have heard of them. Fliorum Viridum is taken from the debut demo. It’s a classical instrumental piece on keyboards, very symphonic and atmospheric but nothing unusual for dark metal bands around 1996. Haunting Birds is a clumsy bit of guitar strumming accompanied by big reverbed kettledrums.

The last two tracks are a real catch though, Kneel To the Cross starts with an entrancing pagan chant and turns into a great folk tune. It’s a well performed cover from Sol Invictus that shows Haugm’s grown confidence in the clean vocal department. A Poem By Yeats is another interesting piece that could have been a Dead Can Dance cover, featuring orchestral keyboards, spoken word and grave chants reminiscent of Brendan Perry’s voice. It lasts 4 minutes though, not 8 and a half.

The last 10 minutes show a more reflective side of Agalloch and make this into an interesting release for fans. Not necessary for anybody else though.

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