Rating:
10
Agalloch - The Mantle
13 August 2002


01. A Celebration For The Death Of Man...
02. In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion
03. Odal
04. I Am The Wooden Doors
05. The Lodge
06. You Were But A Ghost In My Arms
07. The Hawthorne Passage
08. ...And The Great Cold Death Of The Earth
09. A Desolation Song


Agalloch are a band that I have only recently started listening to, but they are the first band in a long time that I have fallen in love with instantly. Most of my favourites have grown on me overtime but there was something about The Mantle that captured me immediately.

I tend to listen to cleaner vocal songs, although there are death metal bands I like, but I thought I would be put off by Haughm's raspy blackened vocals. Instead I found them really beautiful the way they weave in and out of the music. That was the thing that struck me most about Agalloch: the beauty of it. The general formula seems to be power chords on electric guitar with gentle twangy acoustic melodies over the top. This works really nicely and the juxtaposition of the heavy and the soft is mirrored when Haugm's vocals become more tuneful. The first time this occurs is in "In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion"-the magnum opus of the album and Agalloch's best along with "Not Unlike the Waves" four years later. The rasps and whispers build up to an epic sounding tuneful cry which gives me shivers every time. The vocals then vary between these two styles, as well as monotone almost talking and whispers through the rest of the album, in a very fluid way. There is no clean verse to harsh verse pattern; it all blends into each other.

The lyrics can be a little hard to understand at first (for me at least), but reading along with them you will realise the poets that the band are. Every song tells stories of lost love, death and sorrow but all centred around natural metaphors. The album has few words, but this is for the best as they seem streamlined to only say what has to be said to get the message across in the best way.

The instrumentals on the album are long. "Odal" is seven minutes and "The Hawthorne Passage" is eleven. These can seem a bit too long if they come up on shuffle, for example, but fit perfectly when listened to as part of the album. This whole CD should be listened to from start to finish. Do not put it on in the background while you do something else, just sit there and take it all in. The music, the vocals, the words, the album art and right down to the RW Emerson quote on the disc has been meticulously planned to make this album a real work of art. Perfection.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10


Band profile: Agalloch
Album: The Mantle


 


written by telephonebear | 30.01.2014


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

Staff review by
Demonic Tutor

Rating:
9.5
In the true musical lineage of Opeth and Katatonia, Agalloch is one of these mystic and melancholic bands, excelling at playing a smart blend of Doom Metal and few elements from Melodic Death Metal, such as the voice a la Dark Tranquillity. Established as one of the best combos in their style and one of America's most interesting bands, Agalloch was founded in Portland, Oregon in late 1995. After a couple of demos, they scored a deal with The End Records in 1998 and their debut album Pale Folklore was released in 1999. In 2001, a limited MCD entitled Of Stone, Wind and Pillor was released and they then worked on today's chapter, their second full-length album, The Mantle. Agalloch is composed by John Haughm , Don Anderson and Jason William Walton .

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published 03.06.2004 | Comments (19)



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telephonebear - 30.01.2014 at 21:14  
Thats my point
rdhelli@gmail.com - 30.01.2014 at 22:40  
Blame spotify (and also the public opinion I guess) for not understanding the concept of music albums. a song is only part of a whole.
Ace Frawley - 31.01.2014 at 03:22  
I'm with you guys - I only listen to albums from start to finish.
deadone - 31.01.2014 at 03:24  
Start to finish as well.

If an album is better off listened to in chunks, then it's probably a bad album IMO.
Karlabos - 31.01.2014 at 03:34  
I can understand putting all your 4000 favorite songs in a sack and playing them on shuffle, but shuffling a single album with 9 songs seems indeed pointless =P
-DC-002- - 31.01.2014 at 05:22  
Agalloch should name their next album, DisMantle and become a Brutal Death Metal band So it is written, so it shall be done.
Erik M. - 31.01.2014 at 20:41  
"This whole CD should be listened to from start to finish"

Oh, do you think so? I don't think any music lover would listen to an album on shuffle. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. If you're going to listen to the whole album anyway, it's best to do it from start to finish.

Aside from that, good review. I don't agree though. While I think it's an excellent album, I wouldn't rate it a 10 at all. I'm not too fond of instrumental tracks so the 4 instrumentals here are overall much less appealing to me than the other non-instrumental tracks. And you only call this album perfect if it doesn't have a single (minor) flaw. For me this is a 9/10 album, or maybe a little higher.
-DC-002- - 01.02.2014 at 22:18  
^ I do not agree about Shuffling an album being pointless. I love music and I shuffle a single album all the time. You can't say you love music more then me either . Albums can sound very different shuffled but not worse. It's a neat dynamic and way to be a bit more interactive with an album. I shuffle single albums all the time (because it's so easy with an Ipod Nano) Things flow together differently and you'll hear new connections in the music. Sometimes it doesn't work Ex. Tiamat's Wildhoney generally sounds more cohesive with its original track set or others with such forethought.... A good album should still hold itself together while being shuffled though. The Mantle works great being shuffled because most of the songs are well length-ed and related to the same sound. A Desolation Song can actually makes more sense then too. Loosen your butt up a lil.
Mr. Doctor - 01.02.2014 at 22:57  
Nah. I consider myself pretty extreme regarding shuffling and I will always consider it an ideal way to completely ruin an album. Songs are in that order for a reason.
Doesn't have anything to do with "lossen up". Some people consider it interesting, i call it blasphemy. Different strokes for different people.
Troy Killjoy - 01.02.2014 at 23:11  
Poor guy writes a review and all anyone can talk about is whether or not shuffling is the way to go. Congrats on your first review kid, keep 'em coming.
-DC-002- - 02.02.2014 at 06:07  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 01.02.2014 at 22:57

Nah. I consider myself pretty extreme regarding shuffling and I will always consider it an ideal way to completely ruin an album. Songs are in that order for a reason.
Doesn't have anything to do with "lossen up". Some people consider it interesting, i call it blasphemy. Different strokes for different people.


I'm sure you'll be happy to know then that I shuffle The Maniacle Vail regularly and it still one of the best.
telephonebear - 02.02.2014 at 19:45  
Im sorry that i mentioned the forbidden s-word. i never shuffle one album as that seems pointless but i do sometimes shuffle my whole collection. other than that i hope my first review was okay
deadone - 03.02.2014 at 02:11  
Does anyone else think that awarding an album 10s across the board is a tad much? I mean there's nothing that's absolutely 100% perfect.
Karlabos - 03.02.2014 at 02:18  
^ Well there's always that album that changed your life, which you are bound to for personal reasons, which you can listen to it times and times and it keeps becoming better.
I can understand the rating if the mantle actually means THAT much for the reviewer.
However, judging by the amount of straight 10 reviews we get on this site I agree that it's becoming pretty hackneyed.
deadone - 03.02.2014 at 02:22  
There's not a single album I'd rate 10s across the board, even if they mean a lot to me presonally.

And don't worry, I haven't been giving any scores of over 9.3 for any of my reviews. My average score is 7.97.
Ellrohir - 03.02.2014 at 14:54  
You can write more decent reviews if you dont like 10s...
Dima - 04.06.2014 at 13:33  
Written by deadone on 03.02.2014 at 02:11

Does anyone else think that awarding an album 10s across the board is a tad much? I mean there's nothing that's absolutely 100% perfect.


Review scores are not a metric of quality, but a metric of recommendation.
Daniell - 04.06.2014 at 16:01  
Written by deadone on 03.02.2014 at 02:11

I mean there's nothing that's absolutely 100% perfect.


Giving all 10's across the board is as arbitrary as what you said here.
!J.O.O.E.! - 04.06.2014 at 16:13  
Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 13:33

Review scores are not a metric of quality, but a metric of recommendation.

I think people have trouble with numbers sometimes. Numbers represent all kinds of things. All my 10/10 albums represent the most significant records in my life that I wouldn't change. I think anyone that's listened to music for years and years and actively seeks out things in his or her most favourite albums to pick out as not being perfect clearly doesn't like music very much. I think it's funny that people adhere to the 10 / 10 system yet refuse to use the 10 marker. That's not a 10 / 10 system then. People are just kidding themselves with bizarre self-deception.
Dima - 04.06.2014 at 17:16  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 04.06.2014 at 16:13

Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 13:33

Review scores are not a metric of quality, but a metric of recommendation.

I think people have trouble with numbers sometimes. Numbers represent all kinds of things. All my 10/10 albums represent the most significant records in my life that I wouldn't change. I think anyone that's listened to music for years and years and actively seeks out things in his or her most favourite albums to pick out as not being perfect clearly doesn't like music very much. I think it's funny that people adhere to the 10 / 10 system yet refuse to use the 10 marker. That's not a 10 / 10 system then. People are just kidding themselves with bizarre self-deception.


Ye, this is why, at the end of the day it's the reason as to why someone likes/hates an album that's more important, not the rating they give it. For most people, ratings sway depending on the mood they're in when they listen to it. Ye, the quality of the album sets a broad benchmark but it's how the album affects the mood that you're in at the time of listening that ultimately pushes the album up from a 9 to a 10 or 8 to 9 or whatever. Some album might have helped someone overcome depression. Obviously they're gonna rate it higher than if they weren't suffering from such a disorder. If it was all about the fundamental quality of an album then I believe no vote, ever should change. Hence why I like to consider ratings as recommendations and not a calibre metre.
!J.O.O.E.! - 04.06.2014 at 17:26  
Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 17:16


Ye, this is why, at the end of the day it's the reason as to why someone likes/hates an album that's more important, not the rating they give it. For most people, ratings sway depending on the mood they're in when they listen to it. Ye, the quality of the album sets a broad benchmark but it's how the album affects the mood that you're in at the time of listening that ultimately pushes the album up from a 9 to a 10 or 8 to 9 or whatever. Some album might have helped someone overcome depression. Obviously they're gonna rate it higher than if they weren't suffering from such a disorder. If it was all about the fundamental quality of an album then I believe no vote, ever should change. Hence why I like to consider ratings as recommendations and not a calibre metre.

Makes sense to me. No matter how well you describe an album a number is still going to be an arbitrary score, especially on MS's review rating system which gives you the ability to rate an album out of 100 possible individual scores. People who go "Oh, I never rate anything above 9.3", well, I'd like to see you whittle down the reason for giving something a 9.3 as opposed to a 9.2.
Dima - 04.06.2014 at 17:37  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 04.06.2014 at 17:26


Makes sense to me. No matter how well you describe an album a number is still going to be an arbitrary score, especially on MS's review rating system which gives you the ability to rate an album out of 100 possible individual scores. People who go "Oh, I never rate anything above 9.3", well, I'd like to see you whittle down the reason for giving something a 9.3 as opposed to a 9.2.


Ye it's pretty stupid. This is why way back I said to you that adding ratings that enable scoring to the .5 would be a mistake.
!J.O.O.E.! - 04.06.2014 at 17:44  
Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 17:37


Ye it's pretty stupid. This is why way back I said to you that adding ratings that enable scoring to the .5 would be a mistake.

I think that's a good balance gives 20 possible levels of quality to an album, rather than 100. 10 just doesn't feel enough sometimes.
Karlabos - 04.06.2014 at 17:58  
Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 17:37

Ye it's pretty stupid. This is why way back I said to you that adding ratings that enable scoring to the .5 would be a mistake.

I think that the more options, the better. I don't see reason not to put more options.
Now the way the users are going to use those options, then that is other story...
Dima - 04.06.2014 at 18:05  
Written by Karlabos on 04.06.2014 at 17:58

Written by Dima on 04.06.2014 at 17:37

Ye it's pretty stupid. This is why way back I said to you that adding ratings that enable scoring to the .5 would be a mistake.

I think that the more options, the better. I don't see reason not to put more options.
Now the way the users are going to use those options, then that is other story...


Well you know my reasoning for it...it's explained in my talk with joe. Maybe calling it a mistake is the wrong term but I personally wouldn't implement it if I ran this site. Now, implementing a rating system to the .1 would be a diabolical mistake but that's never going to happen so there's nothing to worry about there

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