Agalloch "Ashes Against The Grain"

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon ReviewsRating: 0.91/1
Agalloch "Ashes Against The Grain"
  • Album: Ashes Against The Grain
  • Year: 2006
  • Label: GRAU/THE END
  • Artist: 
  • United States

Several years had to elapse in order to find out whether "The mantle" can be outshined! Well, this summer harboured the answer... but what did we come across! That AGALLOCH carry along the ardent inspiration of their lands, or that the music they create highly reflects upon deep isolation and contemplation (nothing new so far)! Their Doom Death Black Progressive Metal sonorities enliven various atmospheric intermezzos - from Neo Folk or Post Rock, to Industrial and Ambient - conceived as long, original and elaborated tracks, even if we can spot some resemblances with OPETH, early KATATONIA or PARADISE LOST. The question lives on obsessively: is this album better than the other?

And I keep on listening the new tracks carefully. That's how I come to "Fire Above, Ice Below", ten minutes of splendid music, where John's normal voice reigns over the atmosphere created by some acoustic guitars that chain you to a fascinating dimension... "Not Unlike The Waves" doesn't excel in any way, it is placed somewhere in AGALLOCH's average line, and afterwards we meet a long but inspired finale (probably rooted within the three chapters of the last track on "Omnio"), named "Our Fortress Is Burning" presenting three parts, the first one based on a superb acoustic, followed by an extremely nostalgic and depressing "Bloodbirds" where, once again, the guitars cast an intangible melancholic aura, broken by the aggressive voice that seems to smash everything around it by the instruments; finally, we have a intricate ambient part, called "The Grain", igniting certain rapture to those belonging to the Noise/Industrial universe. Before telling you if this is the best album in AGALLOCH's existence, I am bounded to listen once more to the first two pieces "Limbs" and "Falling Snow", complex tracks within which all the instruments are enlivened and the Metal dimension thrones. Indeed, we have beautiful tracks, a beauteous album, distinctive and prolonged guitar riffs... still, "The Mantle" hasn't been outshined! Why? 'Cause the aggressive voice hasn't evolved (sometimes it turns too linear), the New doesn't have a striking presence... yet, we have AGALLOCH, a magnificent band, probably the best on that continent!

I relate to them critically because I am very fond of them and I expect perfection! Yet, probably this is their Metal limit! Even if I won't rate them at the utmost, this album will be a time and again pleasant audition for me! It is a distinctive Dark Progressive Metal!