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Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain review

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Band: Agalloch
Album: Ashes Against The Grain
Release date: August 2006

01. Limbs
02. Falling Snow
03. This White Mountain On Which You Will Die
04. Fire Above, Ice Below
05. Not Unlike The Waves
06. Our Fortress Is Burning... I
07. Our Fortress Is Burning... II - Bloodbirds
08. Our Fortress Is Burning... III - The Grain
09. Scars Of The Shattered Sky (Our Fortress Has Burned To The Ground) [Double LP Vinyl 1000 Copies Limited Edition bonus]

In today's world of overplayed musical styles and boring sameness, a few bands stand out as innovators. Agalloch from Portland, Oregon is one of those bands. With their unique blend of Doom, Gothic and elements of Death metal, those musicians managed to break through the US scene with the highly-acclaimed album The Mantle back in 2002. The band witnessed the arrival of Chris Greene taking over drumming duties for John Haughm (who remains very busy with guitars and vocals) while the rest of the lineup is still rounded up by Jason William Walton (bass) and Don Anderson (guitars).
Now, after several EPs and vinyl discs to bridge the gap, a new album has been brought to life, namely Ashes Against The Grain. And boy, you can already bookmark this one as one of 2006's best records.

As they mastered on their previous records, epic compositions carrying loads of longing and exquisiteness are back to the program. The opener 'Limbs' is already a great sign of things to come. Complex, fulfilling and most of all way too catchy to be tagged as Doom metal; but that's the beauty of this band, to be able to transcend the boundaries of music to define something unique.

The surprise of the record is undeniably 'Falling Snow', which features a faster tempo and a recurrent guitar theme that enhances this song tremendously. Some might be reminding of early Paradise Lost tunes, just more creative.

As the album unfolds, Agalloch's talent becomes more and more obvious and finishes taking over your mind. Without giving everything away, let's just say that 'Fire Above, Ice Below' and 'Not Unlike The Waves' are even better than the two previous songs and 'Our Fortress Is Burning' is a great three-part magnum opus that might just be Agalloch's best work up-to-date.

Creating another great album without repeating themselves, Agalloch latest should lift any doubts concerning their talent and please the crowds. Managing to assemble a killer "menu" of great quality songs, of which one cannot really settle on a favorite one for long, the combo from Portland has brought forth another one of those impossible to ignore releases.

If you have never heard of them, you ought to stop whatever you are doing to rush straight to their website to check out the most talented band in the States. You won't regret it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written on 20.06.2006 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

Guest review by
Agalloch's Ashes Against The Grain. Never have I found another release I love so much yet feel so unsatisfied by. There's so much here, yet it feels as if so much is missing. It's so spot on, but I just don't find it a flawless or even exemplary demonstration of the genre in question. I'd call it the perfect musical embodiment of a love/hate relationship. With that said, however, I must admit that I feel a far greater abundance of the former than the latter.

published 11.03.2012 | Comments (26)

Guest review by
Gothic Metalhead
The god of man is a failure indeed.

published 06.07.2021 | Comments (3)

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 46   Visited by: 537 users
06.02.2009 - 17:55
Heaven Knight
Mantle is better, but it is because Mantle is extraordinary, not because this one is bad
My rest seems now calm and deep
Finally I got my dead man sleep

22.04.2009 - 21:09
Rating: 10

Written by Ellrohir on 06.02.2009 at 17:55

Mantle is better, but it is because Mantle is extraordinary, not because this one is bad

this is more than extraordinary. you can't find higher than this. this is the best.
The more you eat, the more you shit
No matter what you eat, it all turns to shit
15.05.2009 - 20:14
Rating: 9

Awesome album!!! "Limbs" is one of the best openers I've heard in a long while...
12.11.2009 - 15:50

There are 3 years I'm listening to this album. It's amazing. I always return to it... maybe one of the best albums of the decade.
24.01.2010 - 13:32
Account deleted
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 06.10.2006 at 00:50

Written by Dangerboner on 05.10.2006 at 07:06

This is probably the only doom album that I can pay attention to and enjoy. 8/10

Aarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh this is NOT doom, not by a mile.

yes this is not a doom album, just has dark atmosphere as doom metal. Its something like black gothic metal or atmospheric gothic metal with some folk influences. really nice album I cant never accept them as an American band. cause such bands are very rare in their metal music.
16.02.2010 - 06:58
Rating: 10
Dark Cornatus
I love the song 'Not Unlike The Waves', its probably my favourite Agalloch song and ive listened to almost everything they have released now. It reminds me a bit of Ulver and (strangely, i know) even the vocals from the Australian aboriginal rock band Yothu Yindi who were big in the early 90's. To to whoever said their wasnt any folk influences, maybe there is one in that song.
21.09.2010 - 17:38

Written by -DC-002- on 04.02.2008 at 08:46

weird. even though their from Oregon, i've never heard of them coming to Seattle. the state right to the North.

Yes! I agree with you .. \m/
ISIS is somewhat similar to Agalloch .. I guess
21.09.2010 - 21:59
Rating: 10
One of the greatest masterpieces of the last decade. I never get bored of it.
12.11.2010 - 04:30
Rating: 10

Best album IMO; cannot wait for their new installment, I am dying to see what have they composed now.
02.02.2011 - 00:02
Rating: 6

Well, for me this is agalloch's weakest album.I was disappointed to see that the acoustic guitars of The Mantle and the Haunting Atmosphere of pale folklore, the two main reasons i love this band for,were mostly gone.
The only exceptions are the songs Fire Above, Ice Below and Not Unlike The Waves, which I find incredible.The other songs of the album range from mediocre to completely bad.
19.04.2011 - 02:34
Rating: 9
Evil Chip

Best record from Agalloch IMO. Limbs is a masterpiece itself and the rest of the songs keep it up aswell.
20.03.2012 - 00:37
Rating: 10

I have to agree with the 10 ratings some people are giving it. On the strength of this album alone, I picked up everything I could find from Agalloch. Did the same thing for Baroness because of the Blue Record a while back too. No Canadian tour dates announced for Agalloch through to the end of May so have to keep checking.
09.05.2013 - 20:55
Rating: 10

I felt like crying everytime i hear good
14.03.2016 - 23:02
Rating: 9
Gem Seeker
'In today's world of overplayed musical styles and boring sameness, a few bands stand out as innovators...'

Same in 2016.
15.03.2016 - 09:13
Rating: 10
Written by Hex_Omega on 14.03.2016 at 23:02

'In today's world of overplayed musical styles and boring sameness, a few bands stand out as innovators...'

Same in 2016.

Sadly, Agalloch didn't even close to that quality on their next albums.
28.02.2017 - 01:17
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I liked part where yous aid about boring today, its true isn't it way to many bands in all ways and general, we just over wrote our selves, then there comes few bands what somehow creates own sound and still its magical after years .. make a good stout, put a atmosphere in BM, it never dies
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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