AGALLOCH — The Mantle (review)

AGALLOCH — The Mantle album cover Album · 2002 · Folk Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
bonnek
I first landed on planet Agalloch with their superb album Ashes Against The Grain. The Mantle offers an earlier exploration of their ambient grey metal sound. It is a good album that you will want to seek out if you like extreme metal with an ambient twist. However it suffers from a number of shortcomings.

I miss the flawless integration of the two faces of their sound. Some tracks like the opener and Odal are just extended ambient pieces and represent their ‘white’ side, others songs like I Am the Wooden Doors characterize their ‘black’ side and are run of the mill black metal that countless others have done more effectively before them.

The two components of their sound only meet on a few occasions as on the marvellous You Were But A Ghost In My Arms. Here they create something entirely personal that, by lack of another genre this band would fit in, we could tag ‘grey metal’.

A second flaw would be that while most tracks are surely meant to be epic and narrative, they mostly fail to build up to anything and end up too long for their own good. The Hawthorne Passage is an example. It has a few good ideas but never develops into something that surpasses the bits and pieces it is forged from.

While I sure appreciate what Agalloch attempted to achieve here, their ambition was somehow defeated by the inadequate execution.
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