2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fade away with Agalloch
I don't think any of the guys in Agalloch had any idea what kind of a masterpiece they were going to unleash. 9 Tracks long and spanning over an hour, "The Mantle", is a surreal tour de force. If anything, buy this album for track number two, "In The Shadow of our pale Companion". Simply put, one of the greatest songs ever. Haughm's emotional clean...
Published on June 6 2004 by ascrobius
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a gallery of influence
Current 93 meets Enslaved along with some Nature and Organization. I cant help but find the lyrical content not at all far from David Tibets own fervour. Along side the occasional riff similaritys from Nature and Organizations' "My Black Diary" is a really dynamic voicing. An untapped passion resides in this band we'll have yet to see. The influence of other bands is as...
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by FormerZygote
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5.0 out of 5 stars as gloomy as it gets...,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)This is really hard to describe. simply magnificent music. and it uses some of early katatonia's minimalistic patterns, to a brilliant effect. agalloch's music doesnt resemble anything else, though and what you end up hearing on 'the mantle' is truely something unique, grand, and crushingly depressive, giving me a glimpse of the atmosphere of albums by black metal act Deinonychus (but containing none of Deinonychus' violence). this is a record that is guaranteed to wipe the smile off your face, and even make you sneeze. full of pessimism, loneliness, despair, longing and regret, it equals (track 8 even surpasses) Agalloch's previous releases. hey, are you still reading my review? get the damn album pal!
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)I can't find words to do justice to how much I enjoy listening to Agalloch. I'll just say that after my first week of listening to The Mantle, I went out and bought Agalloch's entire back catalog. If you like atmospheric music, the sound of guitars and vocals that set a certain dark mood, you can't go past this CD. You certainly do not have to be a 'metal' fan to enjoy this beautiful music.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning.,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)Any Opeth comparison is senseless and unfair. To me, Agalloch is strange marriage of Norwegian metal's halcyon elegy, seas of atmosphere, folk music, screeching metal, and more. So smoothly integrated are these styles that the designation of "metal" becomes hardly satisfying, or at least Agalloch hammers the mold to suit themselves. Their "metal" -- a term presumably assigned because of some harsh vocals and double-bass drumming -- is soft and haunting and gorgeous. The glassy distortion on the guitars is the dull gleam of sunlight beyond gray clouds rather than machine gun battery. Acoustic guitars dominate, punctuated with layers of electric guitars (rather than simple synth chords). Most importantly, Agalloch here develops seductive atmospheres and achieves them beautifully thanks to a lush but subdued production job. (Production is the only knock that can be sustained by their excellent debut, _Pale Folklore_.) Haughm's voice is one of the eeriest I've ever heard, the vocals split between harrowing rasps and gritty, forlorn whispers. Although his voice was difficult to adjust to (it's very...different), I love it now.
Instrumentation that seemed unchanging and simple proves to be very diverse on repeated listens. It helps to actually look at song credits and see what instruments are involved because they are very subtly integrated: from the symphonic percussion on "...And the Great Cold Death of the Earth" to the bristly mandolin of "A Desolation Song" to the beautiful, understated trombone theme in "The Hawthorne Passage" to the realms of texture within each song. Special note for "A Desolation Song", which uses the accordion (ggyah!) beautifully. Who would have thought...
Concerning that textural element, Agalloch is amazing in the way they weave different threads and progression in passages that are quite minimalist. "The Lodge" is an epochal instrumental that feels like you are rising from a winter forest on Earth to the cosmos. First it is only pastoral acoustic guitar chords shimmering as sparse percussion beats in the distance. Agalloch slowly adds nebulous texture after texture (double bass and electric guitars), which gives the music a nearly tangible rising sensation. Finally an empyrean electric guitar line is the only remaining sound as the other instruments retreat, leaving one with a feeling of transcendence and power. This is just one (short) example of Agalloch's brilliant writing and arrangements.
The "heavy" songs are not really heavy at all: the double-bass drum intro of "I Am the Wooden Doors" is hardly threatening in and of itself and the gorgeous acoustic guitar break in the middle is sublime; "You Were But A Ghost In My Arms" is an epic electric/acoustic flow of longing and melancholy, intense in its own way but hardly heavy a la metal.
Probably the best things I can say about Agalloch are: their music is extremely difficult to describe and it gets _much_ better every time I listen. This music makes me want to curl up by a fire because it is icy and cold, but ultimately beautiful and amazing...
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)never has an album been so cold and bleak. a must for any person who calls themself a fan of music...
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I heard this earlier,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)This is one of the bands that hit me and I became a fan immediately. I like heavy stuff, but I also like melodic and soft guitar stuff also. Besides that, folk or medivel stuff are great, too. And guess what? Agalloch has it all. You can listen to their songs in different manners. You can listen to it when you go to sleep, relaxing, or listen to it like a death metal song (coz there are growing for the singing parts). One word to describe it: amazing! I enjoyed every bit of it even though my personal favorite on this album is "In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion", 12 minutes of melodic, relaxing guitar and great vocals... really... can't beat that ;)
5.0 out of 5 stars wow....,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)This effort is nothing short of amazing... indescribable. Just listen for yourself.
5.0 out of 5 stars beauty in music,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)Agalloch create beautiful, ambient acoustic music with no limits on creativity or aesthetics. Some may cite them as boring (14 minute songs do that) but I dug it, and fans of bands like Sol Invictus or Slint will as well.
After a brief acoustic intro, the stunning In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion begins, shifting from passage to passage gradually, like watching clouds drift by on a spring afternoon. Strummed acoustic guitar drones accompany lilting melodies and the occasional percussion.... My only complaint is the growled vocals... Nothing ruins atmosphere like RAHH RAHHH RAHH and this totally breaks the mood. Good thing they are used sparingly.
There are few metal moments, (The Lodge being one) which is a godsend considering the enchanting nature of Agalloch's music. The Mantle is meant to be consumed as a whole, and hearing a single song will not capture the experience properly. So dim the lights, consume your favorite illicit substance, and let Agalloch do their magic.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the album of the year,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)From the rainy, snowy and almost always overcast state of Oregon, comes a band that grabbed that atmosphere a cold, snow filt north pacific winter and put it into music. This band is Agalloch. Combining traditional folk style guitar playing with they're own interesting style of black metal (with some fairly well done clean vocals for good measure) Agalloch have come up with one of the most briliant albums of the past year. I know what your saying "Isn't that just an American version of Opeth?" and on paper thats all they are. But once you hear the music you realize Agalloch is a creature all of its own.
The songs move along at a rather slow speed (not in pace, but in progression) buliding up to metalic peaks, and then sinking into crisp acoustic valleys. The album is absolutly dripping with the atmsphere of the northwest mountins. The lead singer has a very good black metal voice, it isn't very intence, which allows the music to do the real talking and the vocals to be more of a back drop. Some of his clean vocals are on the weak side, but in some of the songs they are pulled off well. Personaly I feel they should decrese the clean vox, and add more of the haunting whispering that is used on several tracks. The addition of odd instruments such as e-bows, accordians and all sorts of interesting percussion instruments, makes this a very different sounding metal album.
The album starts out with a short acostic instrumental "Celebration for the Death of Man" which feeds in seamlessly into the 14 minute epic "In the Shadow of our Pale Companion". After a slow progression from two acoustic guitars to hard rocking riffs the song floats through metalic and acosutic parts. The song contains some beutiful acostic moments as well as beutiful lyrics about how the real god is mother nature (or at least thats what I get from it) using a great vocabulary and astonishing imagry, the lyrics of this so0ng realy pull you in. Then comes a rather dull instrumental "Odal," which does have some nice piano work near the end. Then comes the heaviest song on the album (which isn't that heavy compared to other metal bands) "I am the Wooden Doors". Containing some killer black metal vocals as well as great riffs this song is definatly a stand out. Then come a beutiful instrumental called "The Lodge". Containing beutiful acoustic guitars layered with spacy elctrics, odd percussion and soud effects of a man walking through a snow covered forest, the song crys with atmosphere. "You Were a Ghost in My Arms" is another (realitivly) heavy song, containg most black meatl vocals. Then theres another long instrumental, which starts out sounding very much like Pink Floyd before changing into a revolutionary rock out. Then comes the highlight of the album, "The Great Cold Death of the Earth". The song contains very good clean vocal parts sandwiching a great black metal part in the middle. There is also an amazing acostic guitar solo which just has to be heard! The final song "Desolation Song" is somer song about alcholism. Its very sad, and contains some angusihing whispering vocals that absolutly rip at your heart. The has beutiful acordian playing and acoustic guitars.
This album is one of, if not the best album of 2002. This winter, when coming up to Oregon on a train to visit my family, I awoke to be surounded by snow covered trees. I put on "The Mantle" and was taken into another world. The music fit the imagry perfictly, it was one of the best musical (non concert) experiences I've ever had. If you ever get the chance, go into the woods and put this CD on.
5.0 out of 5 stars dark resinous atmosphere - Agalloch,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)One normally associates a gloomy imagery of long winter days with that of Scandinavian lore than the modern Western world. Agalloch's unique take on progressive doom is admirable considering they are an American outfit building on that established rustic sonic ritual.
The atmospheric quality of the Mantle incorporates elements of folk, prog and metal in a very layered fashion to craft a 70 minute journey into the dark transoms of the mind. Agalloch defy singular categorization on their second full effort and third release by building upon the black metal meets progressive rock elements which defined their early works to redefine themselves this time around.
The tracks blend into one another in a smooth flowing fashion creating the illusion of one long epic endeavor as opposed to several individual orchestrations. The Mantle however, is not the traditional concept record in the sense of being compromised of similar lyrical content per se. Rather, the thematic overtones of the instrumentation itself are the tie-in
Even the vocal structure itself is less a vehicle for the delivery of lyrics and more another layer by which the gothic aesthetic of the album is attained. Somewhere between the harshness of the gruff growling and the calm of the clean vocals is an eerie similarity to that of the use of electric and acoustic instruments throughout the Mantle.
The lush extravagance the album is laden with can come across monotonous in the repetition at times but in order to accomplish the contrast between the elements presented it is almost a necessary evil. Once one relaxes in the wash of sound the breath of the Mantle can be fully experienced.
Pull out your black blanket and find a place near the Mantle of Agalloch to soak up the sonic tales they have to tell.
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcends bounderies,
This review is from: Mantle (Audio CD)This album is truly unlike anything you are likely to experience in the extreme Metal scene. Agalloch forge the likes of Opeth with touches of Gothic darkness, blending in shades of sentimental acoustics and somber atmospherics. This band cannot be grouped into one category or the other; a credit to their innovative approach to dark music. Deep, absorbing and retrospective, this is one of the most successful fusions of alternating styles I have heard. Whether you appreciate the eclectic side of Metal or not, this is an album you simply must hear regardless.
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