Agalloch
The Mantle


2.0
poor

Review

by Kyle Banick USER (30 Reviews)
April 29th, 2006 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


I really wanted to like this album. At first, I listened to the three opening tracks, and wow! was I impressed. Seamless integration of styles, great songwriting, incredible atmosphere.

Then I bought the album. And so excited was I; but by the time I got to the end of track nine (a very good song), I realized I had just listened to the first three tracks over and over again. Acoustic guitars abound, but they could all be copied and pasted from the first track for all I know. Are those the exact same four chords I hear the entire album? Possibly.

"Heavy tracks" like I Am The Wooden Doors suffer from repetition and terrible production, as well as cliched riffs and so-so integration of melodies within the walls of guitar static-whoops-I mean, guitar distortion.

The "diverse instrumentation" seems interesting at first, but these instruments are generally incorporated in such a way that anyone who simply has access to them could replicate it quite easily.

Strange sections such as when the singer begins talking over the music pretend to be intriguing, but just sound like a psuedo-Puissance ripoff. Not unique, nor is it executed well.

The enigmatic atmosphere is all this album really has going for it, but even that gets tiring after the hour-plus duration. None of the songs truly reach any kind of epic proportions, instead only hinting at them (see: "You Were But A Ghost in My Arms"). This band really doesn't bring anything new to the table; This type of songwriting is NOT innovative by default, but that's how it's often treated by fans.



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user ratings (1763)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neurotoxin
April 29th 2006


90 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You deleted the wrong ones... haha. Why?!This Message Edited On 04.30.06

Neurotoxin
April 29th 2006


90 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

asdThis Message Edited On 01.19.07

Kage
April 30th 2006


1172 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haha! I like it, a heated and emotional response to my blurb; excellent. I knew it was going to happen.

Anyway, I stand by everything I said, so I don't feel the need to write out a full refutation, but there are a few things I'd like to clarify in regards to what you posted.

First of all, what I meant when I said that "anyone who simply has access to [the diverse instruments] could replicate it quite easily" was that anyone who had access to those instruments could do what the band does, not copy what the band does. In other words, what the band does with that instrumentation is not worthy of any kind of praise, aside from the fact that they had the money to have those instruments there. Plus, the fact that those instruments are not a driving force is even worse, because then what is left are droning guitar passages and borderline awful vocals.

Second, on the subject of motifs: there are a lot stronger ways to implement motifs than strumming the same damn chords over and over again. Look towards bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor and Dredg for this. Obviously, for someone who analyzes the album, you can find that element, but for someone who is just listening to enjoy, it comes across as a lazy way to add consistent themes.

Regardless of that, however, even the acoustic/electric passages that aren't the exact same don't vary much from it. Their style is droning, and not in an effective way.

My last point: Since when should rating music be objective? Even more, how COULD it be? Okay, I could be objective and analyze the theory behind it, but what else is there? Why rate music objectively when its entire nature is based upon subjectivity? I rate Porcupine Tree's In Absentia a five, because, for me, it epitomizes everything I love about rock music, and that's pretty worthy of a perfect rating.

canadapantsman
September 5th 2006


236 Comments


ive heard a lot of good about Agalloch, ive got Pale Folklore, and i think im starting to side with this side of the fence.

ive downloaded a few songs, and truthfully, the acoustic passages are kind of boring and uninteresting (Sunn O))) is more involved and exciting, id say) and the heavy sections sound like they have potential, cliched as they may sound, but the production takes any power they had and threw it out the window.

however, ive heard that the new album is supposedly better... so i guess ill check that before writing off Agalloch as one of the most over-hyped bands that ive encountered.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2007


16410 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Truly this kind of music isn't for everyone. At first I didn't like them much, but now I've grown to their music and think it is very thought provoking and well executed, this CD in particular.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry

TheHamburgerman
April 8th 2007


1292 Comments


borderline awful vocals.
Seriously? I thought they were kinda brilliant.

LifeInABox
August 21st 2007


3709 Comments


Not so good, man.

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14546 Comments


Nice work on going against the grain, but for something like this, your review is a little on the short side. Still, I can understand how you came to your conclusions, and you do have good reasons as to why you don't like the album. Voted.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 5th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty sure Kage does like this now, or did at one point.

rasputin
December 5th 2007


14546 Comments


By 'at one point', do you mean after writing this review? I can imagine the album being one of those that grows on you.

Pebster49
December 5th 2007


2992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

It does, for me I started this album around 3.5, now its a 4.5 on the very border of a 5. This album is so freaking awesome, I don't have words to discribe it. When I have a tough day, this album is what I pop in.

dankeyes11
November 20th 2008


453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why is this the main review? First of all, it's not the best review. Second, the rating represents the general opinion of 4 out of the 210 people who rated this album. That's ridiculous.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2008


16410 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is the main review because a Staff member wrote it, not because it's the best. Welcome to Sputnik.

zaruyache
November 22nd 2009


6587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The clean vocals are pretty decent. Pretty good, actually. The black metal vocals aren't the greatest, but they fit the music.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Bullitt
December 9th 2009


1666 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The clean vocals are some of my favorite of all time.

McCopper
June 10th 2010


1367 Comments


Terrible review...

Hawks
June 10th 2010


35824 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha dude this was reviewed over 4 years ago, I don't think it matters now.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Kinda sad the defense of the review is longer than the review itself.

McCopper
June 10th 2010


1367 Comments


Well I saw it now, so I comment now...
I don't think there's such a thing as threadomancy on sputnik.

vanderb0b
June 10th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The review is pretty terrible.



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