Agalloch
Marrow of the Spirit


4.0
excellent

Review

by psite45 USER (4 Reviews)
December 25th, 2010 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Retaining some of the bands heaviest moments to date while still holding true to the vast atmospheres that we know and expect from these guys

Being a fan of Agalloch for some time now I was a little surprised by the sheer heaviness of this album. After the acoustic laden Mantle and catchy harmonics of Ashes Against the Grain this album seems much colder than any other of their previous efforts. Agalloch has always been associated with black metal but never before have they sounded more Scandinavian or darkwave, the first real track after the opener/intro starts with a full sweep across the drumset and moves directly into a full on blastbeat that sounds like it's manned by Tyrm or Hellhammer. That doesn't mean this album is completely devoid of good melody and how could it, Agalloch is known for their beautifully crafted atmospheres consisting of a good balance between heavy and soft melodies while always retaining a certain catchiness. All of these qualities are here this time around it's just a little harder to grasp onto. Guitar melodies that in the past would have typically done with acoustic guitars are predominantly done with electric distorted guitars over top of a larger wall of noise than this band has experimented with in the past. That being said this a rewarding album to get into because you're probably going to notice and appreciate new things every listen.
Some of the vocals however are in my opinion the albums weakest points. There are a few parts that I feel the vocals just don't work and since Agalloch's vocals are few and far-apart that's saying something. Some lines Into the Painted Grey are whispered over loud distorted guitars and drums, some of the vocals in Black Lake Niostang are harshly yelled and although I admire the creativity and risks they took I feel some of these vocals just make you wish they stuck to a more traditional style. And although I don't find everything impeccable here that doesn't necessarily hurt the songs that much. Considering the length of the songs (if you know Agalloch you know their songs are generally longer that 10 mins long not to mention Agallochs longest song of their career is on here clocking in at over 17 mins) experimentation (even if some are truly iffy attempts) is truly welcome here.
Although this is the bands heaviest outing to date that doesn’t mean this album is devoid of it's softer/earthier moments. The intro to the album is a good example being a viola (I think) being played over the sound of a babbling brook that clocks in at over three mins. These softer elements are intertwined through the heavier songs and truly come through and shine on the album closer To Drown, a 10 min heavily atmospheric track that relies heavily on softer melodies and synths just as much as guitars. Agalloch has always relied heavily on emotion and is in part what catches the majority of their listeners attention and that’s all here on this release it’s just done a different way than what they’ve done in the past and sometimes it works beautifully. The build up on Into the Painted Grey that climaxs with the line “How long shall I suffer here?” growled with all Haughm’s intensity and passion come across as a classic Agalloch moment and a unique one since as I said before this is a whole new sonic landscape for these guys.
Although this is probably not what fans (I wasn’t) were expecting from the new album and may not even be their strongest outing this is defiantly a worthwhile edition to the bands catalogue. Retaining some of the bands heaviest moments to date while still holding true to the vast atmospheres that we know and expect from these guys makes this a vital release if you want to hear all side of this band. Defiantly a favorite for 2010.


user ratings (1457)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • AngelofDeath EMERITUS (4)
    Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue....

    Kyle Ward EMERITUS (2.5)
    Marrow Of The Spirit seems like a failed retreat for Agalloch; an introverted back-trackin...

    JohnnyoftheWell STAFF (3.5)
    Agalloch reinvent their sound again to create an album that takes a while to sink in...

    Thronewolf (4)
    Cold, bleak, and moody. On the surface some may find it too long-winded and pretentious wi...

  • DeadBeat (3.5)
    "An album filled with change and progression. At the same time being disturbing and beauti...

    i want to mort. (4.5)
    A different kind of beast for Agalloch, yet far from being the misstep many perceive it to...

    AndrewHM (5)
    Perfect sad black metal...



Comments:Add a Comment 
psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Although this has nothing to do with this album something these guys have got to improve on is trying not to have the other band members mouthing along the lyrics on stage. Looks really bad and somewhat kills the atmosphere for me.

DarkNoctus
December 25th 2010


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

some of the vocals in Black Lake Niostang




review isn't bad but not as good as the others. you didn't really talk much about the instrumentation

and the whole review is pretty vague.



something these guys have got to improve on is trying not to have the other band members

mouthing along the lyrics on stage




...why?

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

because it looks really cheesy and to me this band should retain a certain mood live. Just sayin... it really has nothing to do with their music which i like alot. Also i don't get why you highlighted black lake Niostang

vanderb0b
December 25th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nidstång. Review needs paragraphs.

DarkNoctus
December 25th 2010


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what it looks like to me is the band really getting into the music they're playing, which is good.



Also i don't get why you highlighted black lake Niostang




because it's spelt wrong. it's Black Lake Nidstång



oh and yeah, paragraphs as above poster pointed out.

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not where i read it. also i don't know how to make the little things above the letters

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy shit you guys are right. my ipod screwed up the spelling. i'll correct

DarkNoctus
December 25th 2010


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

where did you read it exactly? everywhere i read it (including my own copy of the cd) reads Black Lake Nidstång, including in the official release, from Agalloch themselves etc. it's Black Lake Nidstång.



also, copy and paste the symbol?

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wikipedia also spells it Black Lake Niðstång (copied and paisted)

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'd check my cd but it's at home and i'm not there

DarkNoctus
December 25th 2010


11474 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

to most bands it would be spelt Niðstång (Black Wreath also used that particular spelling) but Agalloch spelt it Nidstång. don't know why.

psite45
December 25th 2010


275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i want to check my cd.

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 25th 2010


37439 Comments


i only just listened to the mantle the other day, but i'll check this out eventually

Digging: Squid - Bright Green Field

vanderb0b
December 25th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sowing listening to metal? That's new...

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 25th 2010


37439 Comments


i listen to metal haha. only about 10% of the time though according to my pie chart

vanderb0b
December 25th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never though of you as someone that even remotely enjoyed the genre, tbh. You should review something kvlt.

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 25th 2010


37439 Comments


i don't blame you for thinking that, all i ever review is indie, rock, pop, alt, etc. plus most of the metal that i listen to is melodic or progressive to a large extent, like opeth's watershed, dream theater, or now agalloch

FilthyBorgir
December 25th 2010


1334 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Much better than your first two. But I did see a lot of run on sentences. Try breaking some of them up, and space out your paragraphs so it's easier to read.

TheSpirit
December 25th 2010


27630 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Awful album

Digging: Gonemage - Mystical Extraction

Hawks
December 25th 2010


74145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The review wasn't too bad. Definitely break up the paragraphs and fix spelling and grammar mistakes.

Digging: Dvne - Etemen nka



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