AGALLOCH
Folk Metal / Black Metal / Metal Related • United States

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Disenchanted and frustrated with the confines of their previous projects, Agalloch began in 1995 as the creation of John Haughm and Shane Breyer. In early 1996 in Portland, Oregon, USA, songs began to be produced by the duo and, during the summer, Don Anderson was added to the band to further refine the material. These songs would later become the From Which of This Oak demo tape in the autumn of that year. This recording showed a large amount of black metal influence, with an amount of material which would later appear on subsequent albums in one form or another. Shortly after the recording, Jason William Walton was added to the line up as bassist.

In 1998, the three recorded a new promotional tape solely for labels. It caught the attention of The End Records, who offered them a record contract, resulting in the Pale Folklore album. The album features
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AGALLOCH Pale Folklore CD 1999 Dark Melancholic Metal AGALLOCH Pale Folklore CD 1999 Dark Melancholic Metal USD $7.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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The MantleThe Mantle
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$5.53
$5.52 (used)
The Serpent & The SphereThe Serpent & The Sphere
Profound Lore 2014
Audio CD$9.50
$5.59 (used)
Ashes Against the GrainAshes Against the Grain
The End Records 2006
Audio CD$5.04
$1.50 (used)
Pale FolklorePale Folklore
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$5.29
$5.28 (used)
Marrow of the SpiritMarrow of the Spirit
Profound Lore 2010
Audio CD$8.42
$8.37 (used)
Faustian Echoes EPFaustian Echoes EP
Dammerung Arts
Audio CD$19.99
$19.89 (used)
Of Stone, Wind, and PillorOf Stone, Wind, and Pillor
The End Records 2002
Audio CD$79.99
$59.95 (used)
The Grey EPThe Grey EP
Vendlus Records
Audio CD$97.18
$83.49 (used)
From Which of This Oak [Vinyl]From Which of This Oak [Vinyl]
Single · Import
2009
Vinyl$75.00
$269.51 (used)
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AGALLOCH Discography

AGALLOCH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.77 | 27 ratings
Pale Folklore
Folk Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 61 ratings
The Mantle
Folk Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 45 ratings
Ashes Against the Grain
Folk Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 4.06 | 35 ratings
Marrow of the Spirit
Black Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.70 | 10 ratings
The Serpent & the Sphere
Black Metal 2014

AGALLOCH EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 2.94 | 11 ratings
Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor
Folk Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 2.38 | 7 ratings
Tomorrow Will Never Come
Metal Related 2003
.. Album Cover 1.83 | 8 ratings
The Grey EP
Metal Related 2004
.. Album Cover 3.85 | 12 ratings
The White EP
Metal Related 2008
.. Album Cover 3.97 | 15 ratings
Faustian Echoes
Black Metal 2012

AGALLOCH live albums

AGALLOCH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 2.93 | 9 ratings
From Which Of This Oak
Black Metal 1997

AGALLOCH boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 2.80 | 3 ratings
The Demonstration Archive 1996-1998
Black Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Compendium Archive 1996-2006
Black Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
The Wooden Box
Folk Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Whitedivisiongrey
Metal Related 2011

AGALLOCH singles (0)

AGALLOCH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

AGALLOCH Reviews

AGALLOCH The Serpent & the Sphere

Album · 2014 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bartosso
Spiritual Oregano

Hello and welcome to my first Agalloch review. Open your eyes, raise your arms and behold the beauty of the universe... You may wonder what's the reason for such a theatrical introduction, so I hasten to explain that primo, Agalloch has never started an album with a more exalted track than "Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation" (oh come on, really?). Secundo, the whole album is incredibly solemn. So, I just had to keep pace with the band, you see! The Serpent and the Sphere is the fifth LP from Agalloch, preceded by bleak and raw Marrow of the Spirit. This one on the other hand is much more accessible. And here's why...

Before I tell you why, one more thing. Don't think I'm belittling the concept behind this album. If only for how consistent every Agalloch album is, the band should be praised. As usual music, artwork and lyrics complete each other and create a stunningly atmospheric whole. Still, even though the sound production fits the music on The Serpent and the Sphere pretty well, I can't help but miss the raw black metal sound of the previous record. Agalloch's music relies on atmospheric layers rather than composition complexity and doesn't really need such a polished sound production. It just seems more genuine with a rawer one. Songwriting itself is strong as ever, even if I got a deja vu more than once. While Agalloch don't necessarily get stale, the polished sound would allow of more experimental approach. What we got instead is an atmospheric doom/black metal album that sounds a tad less post-metal. Neo-folk influences, on the other hand seem to have gained more ground. I may not like all the changes in direction but, despite all that, it's a very enjoyable and catchy record. Just another proof that Agalloch's got the magic, no matter what!

Every so often I catch myself turning a blind eye to anything that, in my humble opinion, Agalloch does wrong. Songwriting is sometimes rough, and pathos sometimes too abundant. Yet still this music is so honest and genuine that I can't help but get carried away with it. Even though a little less bold than before, Agalloch still stands out as one of the more original extreme metal acts. All fans of atmospheric metal should give this album a go, especially newcomers, as The Serpent and the Sphere is their most accessible release to date.

..::Originally written for: shrineofllyria.blogspot.com ::..

AGALLOCH The Serpent & the Sphere

Album · 2014 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"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. It´s 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)". It´s a music style that´s 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. It´s 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. There´re 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 it´s another high quality release by Agalloch. It´s not their most creative release but it´s still adventurous and well played and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

AGALLOCH The Serpent & the Sphere

Album · 2014 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The Angry Scotsman
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.

Three and a Half Stars

AGALLOCH Marrow of the Spirit

Album · 2010 · Black Metal
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Warthur
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.

AGALLOCH Faustian Echoes

EP · 2012 · Black Metal
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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.

THREE AND A HALF STARS

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