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Old November 21st, 2010, 11:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
PhlegethonVeins
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Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit

Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Profound Lore Records - November 2010
By Jason Wick




By this day and age we’re used to the presence of acts in metal using strong atmosphere within their otherwise ‘heavy’ craft in order to amplify feelings they wish to convey. We can largely thank exploration within Black Metal, Folk, and Progressive acts for it reaching the point it has within the last decade. One of the bigger players in this ‘Dark Metal’ genre has been Agalloch.

Since the bands first release From Which Of This Oak, Agalloch has effectively been infusing sonic and organic elements in their music to create ambient, expansive music that can fully grip the listener with emotion. In their 2010 release Marrow of the Spirit we witness an evolved, fine tuned venture into similarly distraught terrain. While this album holds onto an undeniable musical signature long forged by these Portland Oregon natives, it also stands as its own separate entity.

On this album we’re treated to a more aggressive approach to the Agalloch formula. Clean vocals are mostly kept to whispers, and acoustics are sparser than in previous releases, their presence in Marrow of the Spirit is largely that of support to the overall sound, opposed to having their own segments. Perhaps the most noticeable portion of the sound that has changed in this manner however is the percussion. The drums on this release brilliantly push the songs forward adding extra heft to transitions and highlighting the pinnacles in a variety of tracks.

With this new found bout of aggression, one may find my next statement odd; I believe this to be the most atmospherically charged release this group has offered us to date. Every moment intertwines beautifully with the next, etching a tale into the listener with the instruments alone. While each instrument in every passage of the album is performed with elegance and precision, Marrow of the Spirit is a prime example of how each and every role involved in a piece of music must work together towards an overall sound-scape in order to touch someone on the deepest level possible.

This record embraces such ideals fully, and in doing so it engulfs all who open themselves to it. Tension is built many times over in this release, and every single time Agalloch capitalizes on these feelings, shattering these passages unto new found paths. From the foreboding tones of Black Lake Nidstång standing nearly unmatched, to the stark portrait of To Drown, and the fierce struggle of Into The Painted Grey one can truly label Marrow of the Spirit as an experience, instead of merely an album.


Official Agalloch Website

Official Agalloch MySpace
Official Profound Lore Records Website
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Old February 7th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
BloodSword
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Good review. I found this album getting better and better with each subsequent listen. Sometimes you have to actively listen and pay attention to absorb what's being written. And without any pre-conceived notions of what you THINK it should sound like. In my top 5 for 2010.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 05:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
Anatharic
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Look forward to listening to this one. It took me awhile to get into [a]Ashes Against The Grain[/a], but I like their new direction. It's a shame I'm from Oregon and have never seem them live... probably never will.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old September 12th, 2013, 03:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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