AGALLOCH — The Mantle (review)

AGALLOCH — The Mantle album cover Album · 2002 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
The Angry Scotsman
I will try to keep this review brief, (probably a welcome relief to my usual style of review!) because words really can not do this album justice. I make no guarantees though!

I will just say this is one of the most unique albums you will hear, and one of the best. The Mantle is an amazing blend of post metal and black metal, with copious amounts of folk mixed in and no shortage of bleak melancholic atmosphere. Indeed, that is the key word here: Atmosphere.

In an odd way, post and black metal are quite alike, in that they sacrifice technicality and musical showmanship for atmosphere. Agalloch has taken the cold, bleak, haunting ambiance of black metal and spread it over the introspective, challenging, and beautiful song structures of post rock, (while never truly conforming to either one). The result is a sound unlike any other, one that is beautiful, bleak, profound and dark.

The lyrics are heavy, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. Honestly dark and crushing, not cliche and goofy. This is deep stuff. It is the final touch, delivered with absolute perfection. Soft whispers to shrill shrieks, deep baritone talking to gravely rasps, and clean singing.

This album is best understood when it is absorbed, rather than listened to. Sit in a forest on a brisk, rainy day. Look at a snowy landscape, lay down in a dark room. Absorb this album. It has touched me in a profound way, that few albums have ever done. At times it has been my escape from society, life, reality. The drudgery's of life, anger, fear and problems wash away like a tide.

An absolutely brilliantly crafted album and rare masterpiece of music.
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