Rating:
7.5
Agalloch - Faustian Echoes [EP]
26 June 2012


01. Faustian Echoes


Here's a little game I like to play: guess what genre the next Agalloch EP will be? From the blasting lo-fi of From Which This Oak to the strange semi-electronic remixes on The Grey to the acoustic laden, Wicker Man-themed The White, Agalloch has managed a wide spectrum on their music palette, which makes this guessing game downright impossible. One thing's for sure, the EPs are never similar in genre to the preceding album, right?

Oh, how wrong I am. Again Agalloch do something I don't expect and actually carry on a sound from full length to EP. For all of you who loved Marrow Of The Spirit (there are a lot of you and I for one can't understand the obsession) go listen to this right now. You will like it, guaranteed. Hell, listen to Faustian Echoes three times in a row, as an album that would be better than Marrow Of The Spirit.

For those of you still scarred by the mediocrity of their last album, fear not! While the big tagline of Faustian Echoes is that it's the longest song ever written by Agalloch, there's more to it than that. Yes, it's long. Unnecessarily so really, considering they claim it's actually two parts in one (why they didn't simply make separate songs is beyond me). Fortunately Agalloch managed something on Faustian Echoes that Marrow Of The Spirit didn't really have. I'm not sure exactly whether it's feeling, atmosphere, or something else entirely, but the EP is fairly entrancing. The extreme elements from Marrow are still here, yet in moderation. The void is filled by passages reminiscent of The Mantle era atmosphere. The production is worse, in a good way. Marrow felt too clean, and that had never been Agalloch's style. They remedy that a bit here.

However, the whole EP is only a partial remedy to Marrow Of The Spirit. I don't want to sound as if I hate the album, I don't. It isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't particularly good either. Faustian Echoes is better but many of the problems from Marrow Of The Spirit persist here, and at times it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you like Marrow ignore everything I've just said, this part isn't for you. But if you loved their mellower, folkier EPs like The White or their split with Nest then you may be disappointed yet again. Maybe you have to watch Goethe's Faust to truly appreciate Faustian Echoes, like The White and The Wicker Man, but I don't think so.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Agalloch
Album: Faustian Echoes


 


written by Marcus | 09.10.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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essbee - 09.10.2012 at 06:16  
I liked Marrow but I didn't really liked the EP.
Dentura - 09.10.2012 at 08:23  
I thought Marrow of the Spirit was great, even though it did drag sometimes. This song may be even better, it's awesome.
malaikat - 09.10.2012 at 15:06  
Im sorry, but I don't dig this review. You can't avoid the subjectivity, of course, but the entire premise of this text lies on the fact that MotS is a mediocre album, and right there this review looses all relevance to a lots of people that actually like that album.

Good way: explain that this EP is a logical progression of the MotS sound, then review it on it's own merits.
Bad way: constantly imply that MotS is a subpar album and that this EP is in fact it's remedy; always putting the songs in the context of a previous release.

With this review you actually reviewed MotS and not FE, saying "Yeah, this is mediocre because full length was mediocre too, and the good parts are good because they're better than MotS". Again, it's ok if the EP carries the sound of the previous album, but this looks like you're reviewing expansion pack for a video game and not music release made by band who usually doesn't "connect" their albums, even if they share a similar sound.
Marcus - 09.10.2012 at 20:36  
Written by malaikat on 09.10.2012 at 15:06

Im sorry, but I don't dig this review. You can't avoid the subjectivity, of course, but the entire premise of this text lies on the fact that MotS is a mediocre album, and right there this review looses all relevance to a lots of people that actually like that album.

Good way: explain that this EP is a logical progression of the MotS sound, then review it on it's own merits.
Bad way: constantly imply that MotS is a subpar album and that this EP is in fact it's remedy; always putting the songs in the context of a previous release.

With this review you actually reviewed MotS and not FE, saying "Yeah, this is mediocre because full length was mediocre too, and the good parts are good because they're better than MotS". Again, it's ok if the EP carries the sound of the previous album, but this looks like you're reviewing expansion pack for a video game and not music release made by band who usually doesn't "connect" their albums, even if they share a similar sound.


I appreciate your criticism, but I think my review defends against it through the preface of "For all of you who loved Marrow Of The Spirit...You will like it" coupled with the constant references to Marrow of the Spirit assumes a progression (or at least connection) to the two. I do say it's a progression from MotS (or positive regression since they actually borrow stylistically from their back catalog) but because I didn't like MotS it isn't a progression from great to greater, but rather from average to above average.

Therefore, to people who like MotS, and I explicitly state this twice in the review, most of what I say isn't relevant. All that would be relevant is that, while similar, Faustian Echoes has a lesser tempo and more appropriate production. It's more atmospheric and feels less polished. I think the context is important with this EP since the two released are actually somewhat similar, as opposed to almost any other Agalloch EP. That said, if someone were to review The Grey, I would expect ample connections to The Mantle (although of course those similarities are far more pronounced/obvious than with these two).

I guess to sum up, I think the comparisons matter and whether you think MotS is terrible, average, or the best album ever, the text still holds true; Faustian Echoes is mellower, more atmospheric, and with better production. For me, that makes it better. Still, I see exactly where you're coming from but I'll stand by what I wrote
Oaken - 09.10.2012 at 21:46  
Nice review and fair rating. I liked this very much, even though I really liked Marrow. The dark subject was extraordinarily intriguing, especially with those gloomy spoken parts.
MJLUYA - 07.11.2012 at 01:46  
Why the hell cant i buy this anywhere on CD?
Daniell - 07.11.2012 at 10:29  
Something wrong is going on with Agalloch. First, the disappointing "Marrow of the Spirit" and now this. No matter how you stretch a song, if it's bad, the length won't hide this fact. Which is the case here...
Boxcar Willy - 18.01.2013 at 18:26  
Written by Guest on 07.11.2012 at 01:46

Why the hell cant i buy this anywhere on CD?

I believe this was only a digital release an vinyl release.
tea[m]ster - 19.01.2013 at 17:39  
I liked Marrow much better than this although there were some good parts in the song. Not enough however.
drf1223 - 29.03.2013 at 19:23  
This is a terrible review. Very partial, subjective and hard to comprehend if not over-familiarized with Agalloch's work.
hyster - 01.05.2014 at 03:04  
Read the book guys! You will understand! For me the song seems AWESOME!
no one - 01.05.2014 at 03:38  
Written by Boxcar Willy on 18.01.2013 at 18:26

Written by Guest on 07.11.2012 at 01:46

Why the hell cant i buy this anywhere on CD?

I believe this was only a digital release an vinyl release.

you can buy the cd, its on there website and discogs and probably other websites too
Boxcar Willy - 01.05.2014 at 17:17  
Written by no one on 01.05.2014 at 03:38

you can buy the cd, its on there website and discogs and probably other websites too

Must have been pressed after my comment then.

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