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Agalloch
Ashes Against The Grain
Type: CD
Company: The End
Release: 2006
Genre: Heavy/Extreme
Reviewer: Veritas
Published: 10/27/2006
Extremely diverse both within individual songs
Finland has Moonsorrow. In Ireland, it’s Primordial. One could even make the case for Summoning in Austria. These bands and others like them combine epic metal with varying degrees of folk influence in a highly personalized nature that makes them extremely unique in both their genre and their countries. Bands of this sort do not necessarily sound like each other, but they do tend to invoke emotions in a similar fashion. In the United States, no one does this better than Agalloch. The Oregon-based group manages to combine doom and black metal tinged with atmospheric and folk influences on an epic level on their third full-length effort, “Ashes Against the Grain.”

One of the reasons “Ashes Against The Grain” is such a good album is because Agalloch manage to be extremely diverse both within individual songs and from track to track. Changes in tempo and pace as well as transitions from electric to acoustic are pulled off brilliantly. As a result, the listener is going to constantly be captivated by the ever changing soundscape of songs such as “Limbs” and “Not Unlike The Waves,” which exemplify this characteristic more than others. Guitarists John Haughm and Don Anderson also do a brilliant job of establishing strong lead melodies in certain situations while maintaining a quality atmospheric sound. For example, during the introduction to “Falling Snow,” a brilliant melody is established that persists throughout the song, setting the tone for a slightly faster-paced song. At the same time, however, the song never loses the atmospheric sense that is kept up largely by the rhythm guitar and is seemingly essential to Agalloch’s unique sound. Haughm, who also takes care of vocal duties, has a subtle blackened rasp that fits in perfectly with the pace of Agalloch’s music. Here and there on the album, such as during sections on “Not Unlike The Waves,” some clean vocals make an appearance.

This album is not only emotional and thought-provoking; it is also one of the best releases by an American band in 2006. The level of care with which the members of Agalloch seem to have written and developed this album with is evident. The level of emotional intensity during certain parts or sections of this band’s music is, in a sense, unprecedented for an American band, at least those that I’ve heard. Fans of groups like Primordial, Daylight Dies, and Opeth will surely appreciate Agalloch for their musical style. With that said, every fan of metal in general should give these guys a shot.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: AGALLOCH
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Ashes Against The GrainAgalloch
2006
Veritas10/27/2006
The White EPAgalloch
2008
Raising Iron9/19/2008


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: AGALLOCH

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ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: AGALLOCH
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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