Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere

8.1 | 628 votes |
Release date: 13 May 2014
Style: Atmospheric black metal, Neofolk


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01. Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation
02. (Serpens Caput)
03. The Astral Dialogue
04. Dark Matter Gods
05. Celestial Effigy
06. Cor Serpentis (The Sphere)
07. Vales Beyond Dimension
08. Plateau Of The Ages
09. (Serpens Cauda)
10. Omega Serpentis [Japanese bonus]
11. Sigma Serpentis [Japanese bonus]

The Best Melodic Black Metal Album Of 2014

John Haughm - vocals, guitars, percussion, zither
Don Anderson - guitars, mellotron, backing vocals
Aesop Dekker - drums, percussion
Jason William Walton - bass

Additional musicians:
Nathanaël Larochette - acoustic guitars
B. Anderson - piano, throat singing
Veleda Thorsson - electric saw, waterphone
R. Sforcina - synthesizers, oscillation & wires

Additional info
Produced by Billy Anderson and Agalloch.

Recorded at Cloud City and mixed at Everything Hz by Billy Anderson. Guest appearance by guitarist Nathanaël Larochette of Musk Ox, who wrote and provided the album's acoustic interludes.

Staff review by
Agalloch have never favoured doom as forcefully as they have on The Serpent & The Sphere. So blatantly delivered, it would appear that this new resolve has completely shattered their ability and will to instil the expected level of atmosphere in their fifth full-length effort. But appearances can be deceiving.

published 13.05.2014 | Comments (39)

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Comments: 228   Visited by: 1509 users
28.06.2014 - 18:12
Rating: 9
I couldn't relate to it at first but now I am in love with it. reminds me of the early works. very well done. Always my favorite band.
What goes by is life to be taken
The doom calls upon the forsaken
18.07.2014 - 18:12
Rating: 6
Im not into this one...
20.07.2014 - 05:35
Account deleted
Written by Troy Killjoy on 23.06.2014 at 06:53

Written by Rsrdaman on 23.06.2014 at 06:42
You just did exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. You along with many others continually say things like "doesn't have the same enveloping atmosphere as Ashes or The Mantle", making this album lesser by comparison. Just because it isn't like its predecessors, its bad? Put this album standalone from a new underground band and it would have no doubt gotten much higher ratings.

This album is lesser than its predecessors by comparison because it's simply derivative of those albums without expanding upon the sound. It isn't unlike its predecessors at all actually, which (if anything) is a big reason why people claim that it's one of the weakest - if not the weakest - Agalloch album to date.

Put this album standalone from a new underground band and the only people who would likely care about it are the ones who make a concerted effort to dig that kind of stuff up. Because this is an Agalloch album it's getting all kinds of widespread attention and with that comes expectations from fans and newcomers alike. While that might make for some unwarranted negative reactions (we all know how hype tends to impact mainstream appeal), overall I think people (particularly users on Metal Storm) are judging this according to what they hear rather than basing it on how similar or dissimilar it is to previous Agalloch albums.

I agree with these sentiments. The Serpent & The Sphere does sound very sonically similar to the band's previous works and atmospherically it especially reminds me of Ashes Against The Grain. I understand Agalloch were trying to go with a more "cosmic" theme this time around but the music, to my ears, doesn't really reflect this - it still all sounds very earthy and "rooted" if you will. I do not fault the band for sounding like, well, themselves and I do like The Serpent & The Sphere more than Marrow Of The Spirit (which is my least favorite release of theirs but that's another story) but it does seem that the band is losing a bit of steam somewhere though I admit that it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is. All the same, I think it's a good album but not amidst Agalloch's best.
17.08.2014 - 15:29
Rating: 8
Metal Addict
My opinion is that Agalloch managed to record an album worthy of a band's fame. It mostly sounds similar to the band's previous works, but still it sounds fresh and interesting enough. Not the album of the year, by any means, but definitely a great addition to a collection of any fan of Oregon quartet.
My personal favourites: Celestial Effigy, Vales Beyond Dimension, Plateau of the Ages.
"And we are not who we think we are
We are who we're afraid to be"
- Lux Occulta "The Opening of Eleventh Sephirah"
17.09.2014 - 10:35
Rating: 8
Frank Comstock
Probably my favorite album of the year. Unless something comes up or I here something else, anyway.
"You travel within the glory of my memories, insect. I can feel your fear as you tread the endless expanse of my mind. Make yourself comfortable... before long I will decorate my home with your carcass."
17.09.2014 - 23:07
Rating: 8
This album is very creative in areas, particularly The Astral Dialogue and (Serpens Cauda), but I felt the creativity lacked in other areas of the album. Especially mid way through. But it's made up well with the overall consistency, overall a solid album with cool songs
21.09.2014 - 10:26
Rating: 6
Dark Cornatus
Pretty boring album. It's not bad by any means, but wow... does it go nowhere! No standout songs, no bad songs... just flat...
23.09.2014 - 18:38
Rating: 10
My favourite from them is undoubtedly "The Mantle", but this comes in second place. Very progressive, beautiful acoustic interludes and Agalloch at its best... Can't wait to hear "Dark Matter Gods" live!
24.09.2014 - 07:20
Rating: 7
Secundum Filium
Listening to this again, it's not quite as good as I thought it was (though it's still a fine work regardless). Not quite album of the year material for me, though it's pretty close and it's still quite well done.
Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe (Lao Tzu).
28.09.2014 - 00:08
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Unlike every other Agalloch full length, this one lost it's charm quite quickly. I've listened to it so many times (as I have every other one of their releases), and it doesn't seem nearly as interesting as it did initially. Still a really solid album, but just not as breathtaking as, well, any of their other albums.

get that bag
28.09.2014 - 01:59
Rating: 6
Written by Alex F on 28.09.2014 at 00:08

Unlike every other Agalloch full length, this one lost it's charm quite quickly. I've listened to it so many times (as I have every other one of their releases), and it doesn't seem nearly as interesting as it did initially. Still a really solid album, but just not as breathtaking as, well, any of their other albums.

This is exactly what I think, except that the drop of my interest in this has been more extreme and rapid than yours.
Giving my ears a rest from music.
08.10.2014 - 21:04
Rating: 7
Au Pays Natal
This one is a grower. I've listened to it a few times now in the last week and it gets better and better. I don't like the acoustic interludes though
13.10.2014 - 15:40
Unfortunately i'm in the minority here when I say I've come to adore this album more over time. The Astral Dialogue is up there as one of their best songs imo. I just love the build up and the explosion around the 4 minute mark.
06.11.2014 - 15:33
Rating: 8
Mehdi Taba
Mehdi Taba
Their weakest album but still very good "8.3".
07.12.2014 - 17:19
Account deleted
"The serpent and the sphere" are perfect for me!!10/10!! Agalloch always sound enveloping and organic, pure emotion!!
05.01.2015 - 13:57
Rating: 7
Destroyer's not so bad at all. That was a pleasure to listen to this album, but I think that they take more ,,doomy" direction. Not sure if it's good or bad, but still - enjoyable album.
21.08.2017 - 19:30
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Re listened, somehow band tries come back beck in old days, but instrumental songs just let it down, band could and had potential put better album since its last one.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
24.10.2018 - 21:26
Rating: 8
If they just stop after their best album... (marrow the spirit)... this album is unecessary, good but without direction, clearly not solid. they surely lose ispiration after they did their peak.

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