Agalloch
Ashes Against the Grain


4.5
superb

Review

by Serapheus USER (9 Reviews)
September 5th, 2006 | 1834 replies | 71,519 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


16 of 16 thought this review was well written

The fact that ‘Ashes Against the Grain’ is my favourite album of 2006 (yet) isn’t because they have perfected a style that the band has been growing towards. It is because Agalloch have totally changed their sound in their latest album and have perfected that change simultaneously.

Agalloch is the fragrant resinous wood of the Agarwood but also the name of an American band who have gained a small growing fanbase due to highly acclaimed previous releases ‘The Pale Folklore” and ‘The Mantle’.

The current line-up of the band features:
-Don Anderson - Guitar
-John Haughm - Vocals, Guitar
-Jason William Walton - Bass
-Chris Green – Drums

One of the first evident qualities of 'Ashes' is the lack of focus on acoustic guitars, ‘The Mantle’ contained a large proportion of acoustic guitar-work and even an acoustic theme riff. As the first song from ‘Ashes’ plays the focal point is based on the slow, melodic and crystalline electric guitar leads, which are very reminiscent of Post Rock bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai (with the melodic element sounding very much Gothenburg inspired) . This new Post Rock sound that Agalloch have displayed gives the music on ‘Ashes’ a sheer beauty and melodic emotiveness. Haughm’s vocals have improved and the range of styles including gentle and unobtrusive clean vocals and excellent Black Metal-type vocals with all their raspy and evil glory. The proportion of vocal parts has decreased but this allows more time for massive riffs to develop and increases the atmospheric quality of ‘Ashes’.

The heaviness of the album is another contrast to ‘The Mantle’ as a lot of emphasis is put on their electric guitars - this means dense and mammoth riffs. The unrelenting riffs are similar to the powerful sounds of Post Metal bands like Isis and Pelican but also remind me of bands like Opeth and Katatonia. The soft leads are usually accompanied with the dense potent riffs which give this album two contrasting features and a distinct kick. The upbeat intro riff of ‘Falling Snow’ is made divine by the excellent criss-crossing guitar leads whereas the opening of ‘Bloodbirds’ is laden with exquisite feedback and layered melodies. The drumming on ‘Ashes’ is excellent and very solid. The sheer heaviness has allowed Chris Green to show his chops and groove. The remarkable grooves he has recorded are reminiscent of various drummers who have fused them with heavier styles like Martin Lopez (my favourite drummer). ‘Ashes’ sees Chris exploring more sonic variations and changing tempos frequently.

The consistency of the album is debatable as it includes a segue ‘This White Mountain on Which You Will Die’ and a trilogy that ends with ‘The Grain’ a chaotic instrumental of feedback. These tracks don’t render the album a bad one, they add to the atmosphere, soundscapes and general scope shown in ‘Ashes’. 'Fire Above, Ice Below' is a song truly reminiscent of 'The Mantle' with dense acoustic lines which eventually explode into a section of massive riffs. Fans of 'The Mantle' may miss the prominence of acoustic guitars and subtle soundscapes but this album is certainly no 'Mantle 2'. The ‘Our Fortress is Burning...’ trilogy is the peak of the album with its epic and layered merits and 'Bloodbirds' is definitely the recommended track to check out. But for someone relatively new to Metal and this band should check out 'Falling Snow'. I recommend ‘Ashes Against the Grain’ to fans of Isis, Pelican, Opeth, Katatonia, Explosions in the Sky and general metal.

Serapheus :)



Recent reviews by this author
Pat Metheny Group The Way UpKatatonia The Great Cold Distance
Opeth My Arms, Your HearsePorcupine Tree Voyage 34: The Complete Trip
Interpol Turn on the Bright LightsThe Black Keys Thickfreakness
user ratings (1606)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nepenthe
September 5th 2006



62 Comments


Very good review. Love this album, though I think The Mantle is slightly superior.

And how could you not mention Fire Above, Ice Below?!?! My favorite song off this album.

Kage
September 5th 2006



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[QUOTE=Quorthonace]And how could you not mention Fire Above, Ice Below?!?! My favorite song off this album.[/QUOTE]
Big 123. That song is everything I've always wanted out of Agalloch, and more.


Tyler
Emeritus
September 5th 2006



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I voted. Good review.

Phil
September 6th 2006



1473 Comments


Very good review. I need money, I may get it if I get some soon.

loathed
September 6th 2006



174 Comments


i saw one of agalloch's album the other day at HMV, i gave it a listen and it sounded great. i might check this out

br3ad_man
Emeritus
September 6th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the second best metal album of the year and probably one of my favourites ever.

Serapheus
September 6th 2006



251 Comments


^ What is your best metal album of the year?

JamJar
September 6th 2006



16 Comments


Very good review. You've made me want to hear thi salbum now.

loathed
September 6th 2006



174 Comments


im still stuck between the mantle and this, recommendations? i'd prefer to try and get into the more melodic one first

pixiesfanyo
September 6th 2006



1222 Comments


I'm guessing Br3ad's top metal album is Kayo Dot.

Txus
September 6th 2006



75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my favorite Agalloch album with Pale Folklore, everything about it it's jaw dropping especially Fire Above, Ice Below.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
September 6th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Seraphus]^ What is your best metal album of the year?[/quote]

Yeah, Kayo Dot.

Shadows
Moderator
September 6th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm listening to this right now. Thanks to the song lengths I'm not very far in, but I like it so far. Limbs was very depressing but Falling Snow was awesome in every sense of the word.

Cravinov13
September 6th 2006



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album PWNs

IAmLegend
September 6th 2006



15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Cravinov13] This album PWNs[/quote]
qft my friend q.f.t.

This is my first agalloch album and was astonished by its mealodic atmosphere and its overall chill out effect on me. This is a good investment for anyone a fan of prog/metal/folk/good music.

slack
September 6th 2006



249 Comments


Probably pick this up next week. These guys never disappoint.

Shadows
Moderator
September 7th 2006



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Would y'all recommend this over The Mantle?

metallicaman8
September 7th 2006



4677 Comments


Whoa, this album came out on my fourteenth birthday. Nice review.

Hatshepsut
September 7th 2006



1997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is freaking awesome.

Shattered_Future
September 7th 2006



1540 Comments


I'll give props to the review, but I don't like this album at all. It drags on a bit too much for my liking.



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