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From Best to Worst: Agalloch

To be fair, this isn't really a band that ever made a bad album. Not even close. So really this is more of a ranking of their albums, all of which I hold in very high regard. I might add on EP's at some point since they had so few studio albums.
The Mantle

This is perhaps the most obvious choice but I got into Agalloch when this was released. Yes it's a nostalgic choice, but I also think it is a masterpiece and the epitome of what an Agalloch album should be; bleak, brutal and melancholic. This is the album that instantly transports me to a cold, barren land even if it's the middle of summer in the city and the AC's out.
Marrow of the Spirit

Perhaps a controversial choice, but since its release I've listened to it more than their other releases (The Mantle not withstanding). Marrow of the Spirit is a near perfect album. The two pieces that bookend the album are my least favorite aspect of the album and probably the only thing that keeps this from being absolutely perfect. What keeps this one so constant in rotation is Into the Painted Grey through Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires. Those four tracks are simply wonderful and some of the best music Agalloch ever composed.
Ashes Against the Grain

Many fans consider this to be Agalloch's crowning achievement and because Agalloch's albums are all so strong, it's hard to argue one over the other. This and Marrow of the Spirit are both near perfect and I only give Marrow of the Spirit the slight edge. With tracks like Falling Snow, Fire Above Ice Below and Not Unlike the Waves, this is yet another timeless Agalloch classic.
Pale Folklore

The ragged production and the still developing band hold this album back from being the best Agalloch has to offer, yet there is some tremendous songwriting and tracks that go down as some of Agalloch's finest. I don't put this album into rotation too often anymore but it's still a very impressive debut.
The Serpent and the Sphere

Last but not truly least, The Serpent and the Sphere is an album that I've had a mixed relationship with and honestly didn't care for until more recently. I don't know why it didn't open up to me initially but songs like Celestial Effigy show Agalloch retaining their signature sound and adding something new to the mix and they're all the better for it. Overall, this is a solid album that has perhaps a few too many minor songs from Agalloch's oeuvre to stand up against the others but regardless, a worthy release and a fitting final chapter to the band.
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