Agalloch
The White


4.5
superb

Review

by Aaron Arneson CONTRIBUTOR (109 Reviews)
January 26th, 2014 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Mantle’s distant, not so different cousin.

Birds are chirping outside, perched on the nearly frozen trees. Beneath them are children embracing the bitter cold as they repeat an eerie chant. Despite the weather, they sound joyful, but they are soon surrounded by a thick fog. Of course, not everybody will get this same visual, and this is just the beginning of the The White...but that’s the beauty of Agalloch’s music - it means something different to each individual. Using nothing but their knowledge of dark ambient music (with subtle hints of black metal), they are able to create a believable and captivating world in which we can escape from our daily lives.

Those who found solace in The Mantle should have no problem digesting this slightly similar, yet shorter offering. Although it’s an EP, it travels beyond the 40-minute mark and often focuses on the band’s softer side. There are very few vocals throughout the album, but that doesn’t stop Agalloch from creating another highly engaging release. In fact, this EP contains some of the most gorgeous guitar-work of their career, and at times, it’s incredibly intoxicating. With influences ranging from neo-folk to ambient metal, the album is varied, but undeniably focused. It benefits greatly from its shorter length, and unlike some of their work, it keeps a firm grip on our attention until the final note is played.

Due to the vocals being used more sparingly this time around, they feel even more effective when they creep their way through the gloomy instrumentation. Take ‘Sowilo Rune’ for example --it contains almost nothing but light guitar strumming over some beautiful keyboard and piano melodies, but the occasional raspy whispers in the background give the song a sense of completion. It also ends unexpectedly, with a creepy clip from ‘The Wicker Man.’ These small touches are part of what makes The White such a special addition to Agalloch’s discography. Everything just feels more balanced and the the band’s careful attention to detail is to thank for some of the most beautiful moments of their career.

Any fan of Agalloch or ambient metal in general can’t go wrong with The White. Despite the fact that it’s an EP, it evokes many emotions in the listener, and is often on par with the band’s best work. At times it’s dreary, and others it’s completely alluring, but it’s always well constructed. From the intricate guitars that breathe life into ‘The Isle of Summer’ to the accordions that add energy to the folk-inspired ‘Birch White,’ the band doesn’t miss a beat on this varied, yet consistent release. If you haven’t heard this one, do yourself a favor...and don’t forget to close your eyes. After all, half the appeal of Agalloch’s music lies within your imagination.



Recent reviews by this author
The Residents EskimoTrvth Approaching
Agalloch The Serpent and the SphereThe Byrds Mr. Tambourine Man
Somos Temple of PlentyFireworks Oh, Common Life
user ratings (393)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Defeater (4)
The sound Agalloch should have held onto....

Kyle Ward STAFF (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2014


19757 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man this rules. Give it a shot if you haven't already.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR3p1FMCrgE

feedback/constructive criticism encouraged as well

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


3450 Comments


5 it

Ecnalzen
January 25th 2014


6537 Comments


Nice review! Good to see you back in the swing of things.

I forget, is this the one you suggested for me to listen to, Atari?

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2014


5856 Comments


One of my favorite bands, but I still haven't heard this album. That will change tonight, however. Wonderful review, Atari!

Digging: Heathen - Victims of Deception

Mewcopa0
January 25th 2014


1799 Comments


The White is literally a soundtrack to the Nick Cage-less version of The Wicker Man. Having watched that movie recently, I think it's thematically relevant, and really envelopes the entire mood of the film. The White is less and Ep, and more Of a dazzling picture of a very specific situation, contrasting several moods and creating a certain quaintness that is mentioned in the movie. The White is a specific masterpiece not to be perceived equally by the public.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


16397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah if you watch The Wicker Man (the original) it really makes this EP come alive.

Sowilo Rune is nothing short of brilliant.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2014


19757 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@ecnal, glad you liked it! Yeah this is the one I recommended ;) Pale Folklore as well but I'd prolly start with this one as i think you'd dig it more

@JudioRuso, thanks man! I was thinking there are probably some people who love agalloch and haven't heard this (I was one of them until recently)

@mewcopa, that's pretty interesting. I knew the wicker man was used for some dialogue in the album but that's pretty cool to know

@brostep, haha I have it rated as a 5 but my last review was a 5/5 and i don't want to seem too generous

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


6111 Comments


OMG Atari

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2014


6111 Comments


Great review obv

Sold from the first two sentences alone, I want to see ALLADAT

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2014


19757 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha thanks dude. It's awesome check it out

Vakarian12
January 26th 2014


3848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review

Hollow Stone and Sowilo Rune are my two favourites.

Digging: Eternum - The Devouring Descent

manosg
January 26th 2014


6101 Comments


Great review man. I've only heard The Mantle by these guys so I'll need to delve more into their discog.

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

artiswar
January 26th 2014


20 Comments


I still can't believe these guys are from Portland. They sound Scandinavian as fuck. Wonderful review.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2014


16023 Comments


love the mantle, need to hear this

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2014


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There is an extra "soon" in the third sentence, but besides that, good review!

I haven't listened to this in quite a while. Gonna do that today.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2014


19757 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks everyone!

@metalstyles, good catch, fixed. i hate it when there's an obvious mistake like that in the first few sentences and i don't catch it : /

Keyblade
January 26th 2014


14853 Comments


"Sowilo Rune is nothing short of brilliant."

Word, one of my fav Agalloch tracks

Sweet rev Atari

Digging: Strawberry Switchblade - Strawberry Switchblade

Amphoteric
January 26th 2014


1835 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't really agree with the last sentence in the 2nd paragraph (everything they've done minus The Grey EP keeps a firm grip on me throughout), but great review. I've been close to 5'ing this for a while now.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Alastor
January 26th 2014


271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sadly their other EPs are way below this.

SadAndHolyGlow
January 26th 2014


1521 Comments


Well, this review came out of nowhere.

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy