Friday, July 17, 2015

Ethereal : Agalloch's The Mantle (2002)

Agalloch are one of the few outfits who had managed to create their own distinctive tone and atmosphere. Haughm's creativity is not only reflected from the diverse use of instruments and effects but also from the lyrical theme that has created an ambience with meaning and concept. I have been the admirer of Agalloch for many years. I have listened many similar acts like them but the overall atmosphere, effects and multiple instruments use, Haughm's use of clean/raw vocals, concept behind each track and last but not the least the cold narcotic feeling I feel is just what I can't explain. Their music is not for mainstream, I can deliberately say.

I personally decided to review this album conceptually as there are many reviews revolving around talking generally about the overall music and comparison.
"The Mantle" brought another masterpiece from Agalloch, Death in June & Godspeed inspired guitar blend is the foreground of this LP. Their influence from the filmography is reflected from "The Hawthorne Passage"; the influence from a folklore is much more reflected from "...and the Great Cold Death of the Earth" and from the deer skull chants on "The Lodge" and Nietzsche is reflected from "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion"; the use of accordion, mandolin had brought a mellow tone in "A Desolation Song" and somewhat the sing-speak structure made this a little different from the other songs.
Well, I was reading their interviews and they said they were actually portraying some images and wanted to express those via this album and this is what they did. Each song is actually depicting its own story. Long passage of instruments mainly acoustics and leads are making a soothing and melancholy environment. 


Besides from the concept and other things, I had been remain curious about the use of effects that Haughm does and I got lucky to see his pedalboard on and he said in the interview that his effects always give birth to songs mainly like the Nova Delay is behind “Ghosts Of The Midwinter Fires” which you can listen in the intro. Delay is the main secret behind many of his composition that's why he has three units of delay (MoogerFooger Analog Delay, the Boss DD-6 and the TC Electronic Nova Delay). The noticeable use of flanger can be listened in the mid of "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion" and MXR Micro Flanger is behind it. A must read for any Agalloch admirer:

Their music varies from atmospheric black metal to post-metal and post-rock with progressive rock influence but they describe it simply as dark metal and yes they are dark and cold. A best companion on a frosty night with nocturnal silence everywhere. You just can't get enough of this album, I bet. 

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