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Agalloch - Marrow Of The Spirit

DennisQ   (13 reviews)

Posted: 11/09/2010 | Comments: 22 | Rate:

Portland, Oregon natives Agalloch are back with a whole new set of melancholic tunes on "Marrow Of The Spirit", the band's follow-up (and first for label Profound Lore) to 2006's "Ashes Against The Grain." Group leader and primary songwriter John Haughm has composed Agalloch's most ferocious music to date, using much of the same trademark frigidity, but with a new sense of power and intensity.

"Marrow Of The Spirit" starts off with the incredibly beautiful cello piece "They Escaped The Weight Of Darkness." The track somberly prefaces the album, but with a different kind of atmospheric vibe. Instead of the snowy winds that blow throughout 2002's masterpiece "The Mantle," theres chirping birds and a babbling brook filling in the space behind the solemn string section. Its a perfect contrast to Agalloch's typical subarctic styling, and a great lead-in to the most aggressive song in their catalog, the awesome "Into the Painted Grey."

New drummer Aesop Dekker (longtime drummer for San Fran's Ludicra) makes his presence felt right away on "Into the Painted Grey" with a furious drum roll around the kit straight into a fast alternating black metal stomp, something that Agalloch hasn't really done before. Dekker's style is much harder, more concentrated than what is characteristic of Agalloch's usual percussive direction. He really adds to the dynamic of the album and gives the feeling of a renewed spirit of sorts, one that is heavier and super focused.

The music of "Into the Painted Grey" is what fans have grown to love about this band, but as mentioned earlier, with a different, warmer and more assertive vibe. Melodies that even in their familiarity don't come off as contrived, acoustic guitars strumming behind chunky riffs and Haughm's throaty howl all come together beautifully on this epic track.

The production on this album is more in line with the antiquated (in a good way) sound of "The Mantle" than the drum heavy, loud guitar mix of "Ashes Against The Grain." Gone is the tight pop snare drum that was trademark of "Ashes." Instead, Haughm and company tuck the drums neatly between the guitars, making the sound more closed in, claustrophobic, causing the listener to sink deep into the music with each passing second. This sound is what made 2002's "The Mantle" so awesome. You really feel like you're listening to something classic, like it was pulled out of a cool uncle's vinyl collection.

Agalloch plays "Marrow Of The Spirit" with a measurable confidence that many bands fail to achieve. They can and do perform anything they want on this album. They pulverize (Into The Painted Grey), they hit rock and roll grooves (The Watcher's Monolith) and they create grandiose, dramatic opuses that could be albums all on their own (Black Lake Nidstång). This is a band that can do no wrong, and they seem to know it. "Marrow Of The Spirit" will be at the top of most "Best Of" 2010 lists, and for good reason. It's an album with something for everyone, an artistic juggernaut with mass metal appeal. And hopefully, one that will finally take them on a full U.S. tour!

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Comments
drop a hard J
17,175 Posts
37/M/CA
such a great album, easy top ten for this year
who-bah-stank
24,541 Posts
31/M/NY
I was trying my best to stay objective. Hopefully that comes through.
drop a hard J
17,175 Posts
37/M/CA
no need to be with an album this good
vanilla gorilla
212,003 Posts
38/M/PA
good review. unreal album
Shark City
7,394 Posts
33/M/CA
Just got this yesterday gonna give it a listen on my drive later.
who-bah-stank
24,541 Posts
31/M/NY
I am bumping this. Listen to this album.
N.I.L.
11,730 Posts
33/M/PA
Need this and need to hear this.
Also, would shit my pants if I saw them live.
Fuck That Bird
1,593 Posts
36/M/NY
This album is absolutely incredible.

The blastbeats hit you out of nowhere, but they fit perfectly.

"The Watcher's Monolith" is my fav track so-far.
who-bah-stank
24,541 Posts
31/M/NY
Originally posted by: TheOtherGodhead


Also, would shit my pants if I saw them live.

gary
62,973 Posts
31/M/NA
I've been meaning to listen to this band ever since people were buzzing about The Mantle, yet somehow I have still never listened to them. I should change that immediately.
N.I.L.
11,730 Posts
33/M/PA
You should, faggot.
Means to an end
13,569 Posts
32/M/NA
Finally sitting down now to listen to it, they deserve the hype.
vanilla gorilla
212,003 Posts
38/M/PA
Originally posted by: -Jeremy-

I've been meaning to listen to this band ever since people were buzzing about The Mantle, yet somehow I have still never listened to them. I should change that immediately.



are you seriously saying you've never heard the mantle.

GET THAT SHIT RIGHT NOW.

and listen to it from start to finish on a very bleak, cold, desolate day. preferably when it's snowing
who-bah-stank
24,541 Posts
31/M/NY
I listened to The Mantle on my bike ride last night. It was money.
vanilla gorilla
212,003 Posts
38/M/PA
into the painted gray is the best song of the year. fuck you if you dont agree.

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