Agalloch - The Mantle review
01. A Celebration For The Death Of Man...
02. In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion
04. I Am The Wooden Doors
05. The Lodge
06. You Were But A Ghost In My Arms
07. The Hawthorne Passage
08. ...And The Great Cold Death Of The Earth
09. A Desolation Song
Agalloch are a band that I have only recently started listening to, but they are the first band in a long time that I have fallen in love with instantly. Most of my favourites have grown on me overtime but there was something about The Mantle that captured me immediately.
I tend to listen to cleaner vocal songs, although there are death metal bands I like, but I thought I would be put off by Haughm's raspy blackened vocals. Instead I found them really beautiful the way they weave in and out of the music. That was the thing that struck me most about Agalloch: the beauty of it. The general formula seems to be power chords on electric guitar with gentle twangy acoustic melodies over the top. This works really nicely and the juxtaposition of the heavy and the soft is mirrored when Haugm's vocals become more tuneful. The first time this occurs is in "In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion"-the magnum opus of the album and Agalloch's best along with "Not Unlike the Waves" four years later. The rasps and whispers build up to an epic sounding tuneful cry which gives me shivers every time. The vocals then vary between these two styles, as well as monotone almost talking and whispers through the rest of the album, in a very fluid way. There is no clean verse to harsh verse pattern; it all blends into each other.
The lyrics can be a little hard to understand at first (for me at least), but reading along with them you will realise the poets that the band are. Every song tells stories of lost love, death and sorrow but all centred around natural metaphors. The album has few words, but this is for the best as they seem streamlined to only say what has to be said to get the message across in the best way.
The instrumentals on the album are long. "Odal" is seven minutes and "The Hawthorne Passage" is eleven. These can seem a bit too long if they come up on shuffle, for example, but fit perfectly when listened to as part of the album. This whole CD should be listened to from start to finish. Do not put it on in the background while you do something else, just sit there and take it all in. The music, the vocals, the words, the album art and right down to the RW Emerson quote on the disc has been meticulously planned to make this album a real work of art. Perfection.
|In the true musical lineage of Opeth and Katatonia, Agalloch is one of these mystic and melancholic bands, excelling at playing a smart blend of Doom Metal and few elements from Melodic Death Metal, such as the voice a la Dark Tranquillity. Established as one of the best combos in their style and one of America's most interesting bands, Agalloch was founded in Portland, Oregon in late 1995. After a couple of demos, they scored a deal with The End Records in 1998 and their debut album Pale Folklore was released in 1999. In 2001, a limited MCD entitled Of Stone, Wind and Pillor was released and they then worked on today's chapter, their second full-length album, The Mantle. Agalloch is composed by John Haughm , Don Anderson and Jason William Walton .
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Meat and Potatos
Meat and Potatos
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