Ashes Against the Grain

Agalloch – The Serpent and the Sphere Review

Agalloch – The Serpent and the Sphere Review

Marrow of the Spirit‘s “Black Lake Niðstång” marked the beginning of my journey through American band Agalloch‘s sizeable discography. The album delicately, but rather doggedly introduced me to the band’s neat fusion of avant-garde black-ish metal, neo-folk and post-rock, drawing influence and inspiration from the atmosphere of Ulver and the ambient nature of October Falls. It’s John Haughm’s talent for merging this kaleidoscope of textures that gives Agalloch a level of inspiring complexity while still giving the songs an air of accessibility and easy listening.” Madam X tries to wrap her arms around infinity and the cult of great expectations that comes with every Agalloch release. Expect dislocated shoulders.

Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit

Agalloch – Marrow of the Spirit

Agalloch is one of the rare bands whose music can provoke complex emotional reactions and truly move me every time I listen. From the bleak coldness of Pale Folklore to the creepily morose musings on The Mantle and the tense, uneasy nihilism of Ashes Against the Grain, their music overflows with emotion and feeling. Their odd and groundbreaking neo-folk, black metal, post-rock fusion has been a winning concoction time and again. From their small but fierecely dedicated fan base, there has been an almost palpable anticipation for new material from these Oregonian wood gnomes, and finally, they deliver Marrow of the Spirit. It goes without saying that expectations are ridiculously high based on the masterworks that preceded, but can they continue to operate at such a high level? I want to say yes unconditionally, but the truth is more like a yes, with minor qualifications