Agalloch
Pale Folklore


4.5
superb

Review

by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
December 3rd, 2006 | 1151 replies | 47,061 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A brilliant folk/black/doom/progressive metal album which keeps the listener interested.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Metal can seem a dead genre at times. Over-populated by roaring vocals and “chugga-chugga” guitar patterns, it started becoming just the same thing over and over again. But listening to bands like Opeth and Agalloch, it is clear that metal could be a lot more than this. These bands have a sort of similar style, both seem very progressive and have songs running up to about ten minutes. They incorporate acoustics and other influences into the mix while still based on a simple metal sound. Agalloch can manage to squeeze in acoustic folk elements, doom metal riffs, black metal atmosphere and a bit of good ol’ post-rock thrown in as well.

This is what makes Pale Folklore an interesting compact disc, the album is not based off technicality but rather atmosphere and large soundscapes. Most of the album brings an epic quality to the table and have some pretty finger-licking good riffs but the most intriguing thing about the album is the way is feels like one big track. It’s difficult to tell the difference between each song as they seem to just continue onto each other with no track varying much in tempo. Sounds like a bad thing? You’re wrong, this is still sweet stuff even without much speed differences. The only major flaw of the album is that the songs may seem a tiny bit dragged out which sticks out the most in the first part of the almighty opening trilogy, “She Painted Fire Across The Skyline”. The album can seem a bit outlandish at first, the idea of putting a 17 minute trilogy right at the start of the album can seem off putting but none the less it is something that’s really pleasurable. The lyrics reflect on nature and other topics that you’d find from a band like this, they usually seem very deep sounding and are quite enjoyable when paying attention.

Agalloch are not totally remarkable when it comes to their instruments. The guitars can seem very basic at times and the lead lines are quite unproblematic, the bass is just… there while the drums are simple and the vocals are an acquired taste. The last line may have been very negative towards the band but who cares when they are such accomplished song writers. This album can sound like other bands’ prime when the fact is this is their debut and it’s quite experimental for a band that sounds like they’ve already found their own sound. Like I said, the vocals are an acquired taste. While I cringe at the clean vocals, the growling is very well done and again, add more to the mix. The keyboards can add a lot to the songs. When the rest of the band are working away on their thing, the keyboard will be in the background lifting the atmosphere up and making songs very eerie. But while the other guys are taking a break, then comes in a piano/keyboard break (listen to “The Misshapen Steed” which is filled to the brim with beautiful piano parts and the creepy up-lifting keyboard effects.

This album is a single unit, it can’t be listened to through individual songs but rather as an album. Approach this with an open-mind because this album runs through a lot of different styles while still having a main sort of signature sound. If it doesn’t grab you or at least peak some interest on first listen then please don’t give up on it. Give the album some time and just let everything sink in as it sure is rewarding (which is also the case with a lot of Opeth albums). If long songs and a bit of repetition is a major turn-off then it’s better suited to leave this alone but anyone in for a new musical experience, then this album could fill a holes. If you aren’t a fan of the post-rock influences then this is probably the album of their discography to listen to first (The Mantle expands on the post-rock sound a lot more). A metal fan would probably like this the most while alternative fans may enjoy this somewhat but oh my friend, ain’t it worth it….



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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Door Mouse
December 3rd 2006



2092 Comments


Yay a short review. Good one though. I've been meaning to get into bands like Opeth. Once I get loaded from christmas money I'll get some.

Shadows
Moderator
December 3rd 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

With all due respect...

Metal seems a dead genre.

That's a very off-putting way to start a metal review. Metal fans who read it will likely click "back" before getting to sentence 2.

Neoteric
December 3rd 2006



3243 Comments


I changed the sentence a bit for you.

Nostalgia
December 3rd 2006



64 Comments


Agalloch! Cool review, dude. This really was one of the only Agalloch albums I disliked, but as of late it has grown on me a lot. Good job.

Neoteric
December 3rd 2006



3243 Comments


Hey thanks Vanir. I hope to review The Mantle soon (been listening to it a lot so thanks for sending me it )

This album is just so good.

Shadows
Moderator
December 3rd 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I changed the sentence a bit for you.

That's cool. I read that once and thought to myself, ":eek:!!!!". :p

I love this album. Probably Agalloch's finest work. It has the definite folk atmosphere and depressing melodies of The Mantle, but what it lacks is the production.

Confessed2005
December 4th 2006



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never heard anything from this band but this sounds interesting. Nice review.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't start with this album if you plan on listening to them.

Cravinov13
December 4th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agalloch is a hard band to get into in general, I would suggest downloading certain songs over buying an album first.

Confessed2005
December 4th 2006



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I downloaded the first three songs from The Mantle. I was quite impressed.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2006



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh dude no get the whole thing. They're an album band.

Shadows
Moderator
December 4th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their albums seem to be intended for play as a whole. It's like every song flows directly into the next. The Mantle especially.

Confessed2005
December 20th 2006



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I downloaded all of The Mantle and quite frankly, I love it. Right now I am listening to Ashes Against the Grain which is equally as good. I may have to get this too.

freudianslipknot
February 11th 2007



803 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I really enjoy Agalloch. I enjoy all of their three full length studio albums in the following order: 1) Pale Folklore; 2) Ashes Against the Grain; 3) The Mantle.

Thanks for the review, I wish more people were interested in Agalloch - they don't seem to get the attention they deserve.

Altmer
December 16th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I heard a few songs off the Mantle and liked them, I am now downloading this.

Angmar
December 16th 2007



2689 Comments


Then you should start with The Mantle, because this one is less accessible and the songs here don't sound too much like the ones on The Mantle

Altmer
December 16th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Like I've said, I heard that one already, and I'm also getting that atm.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2008



16242 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Been listening to this lately, this album is pretty damn intense in it's own way.

Hawks
September 27th 2008



34330 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I havent listened to this in a long time actually. I need to get on that. This album is great.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

Eakflanderyof
September 27th 2008



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I SAW THE NIGHTFALL IT CALLED TO ME LIKE A RIVER OF SHADOWS AND IT SANG TO ME WITH THE CRIES OF A THOUSAND RAVENS THAT BLACKENED THE SKY AS THEY TOOK FLIGHT AND SANK THE SOL



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