Review Summary: SHE KILLED HERSELF IN THE FALL
By now it's pretty evident that most of us around these parts have heard of Agalloch. Without a doubt a band that stands tall as one of the best metal acts of the past couple of decades. Let's just face the facts, the first 3 Agalloch albums can be considered amongst the best first 3 album stretch in the history of metal music. Whether it's the well produced slab of post/black metal that is Ashes Against the Grain
, the more laid back mix of folk and metal found on The Mantle
, or the suffocating wintry folk black metal style of this album Pale Folklore
, John and company usually don't disappoint. Although all 3 albums are classics, the other 2 can't hold a candle to Agalloch's debut album.
The main thing that makes Pale Folklore
stand out above the others is the production job. Not in the way that it's more polished than the others because that's the opposite of the truth with this one. It may sound a tad muddy, but that's the main reason why this album stands out among the pack. Imagine being caught up in a blizzaed on your drive home. The snow keeps falling and you're feeling like its never gonna end, like its suffocating you. That's pretty much the experience you get with this album. It's like being caught in one big cluster*** of a snow storm and slowly finding your way out of it. Every instrument, while they may sound "sloppy" at times, creates a perfect atmosphere that few, if any, have been able to match. Tremolo picked riffs are often present, but so are clean guitar breaks and the occasional solo, which is rare on a black metal album.
Vocals from John are absolutely perfect for the sound here. Cold and raspy, yet decipherable screams are the main style here, but as Agalloch fans now know and love, there are haunting cleans as well to help balance out the harsh vocals. John also handles the drums on the album and while they're nothing to really write home about in terms of technicality and what not, they absolutely get the job done when it comes to help build the desolate and bleak vibe that they're trying to give off and they do just that.
Overall, this is one of my personal favorite albums of all time. There's so much emotion behind this release that it makes a lot of other things simply pale in comparison, even the other 2 masterpieces that this band created just some time after this came out. While the roots of this album are in black metal, any fans of folk, progressive, or post metal would most certainly find something to love in Pale Folklore