Marrow of the Spirit
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The opening song is a sparse instrumental that contains birds and natural sounds with a mournful melody played by a cello. If you have heard the hard to find White EP, this opener would fit in perfectly. This is followed by "Into the Painted Grey". Starting from the outset with drum blast beats and chiming guitar, this song has the hard pounding Agalloch sound that the metal heads love... followed by the atmospheric chord progressions that lead back again into the driving beats. It mainly has the growls and barking vocals, as this is one of the harder rocking songs on the album with fewer of the slower breakups.
"The Watcher's Monolith" starts acoustically and has some moments that are similar to The Mantle. This song gives you a needed break after getting crushed previously. But then the pounding begins again, and off they go. As usual, the songs progress nicely from hard to light and atmospheric with typical Agalloch ease. The changes in moods in this song are great.
A bouncing, gradual picking up of speed starts "Black Lake Nidstang" before dropping into a very atmospheric and cold melody on acoustic guitar. Complete with dirge-like drum and wailing electric background, the spanish guitar still fits nicely when making an entrance. It takes almost four and a half minutes to start a different chiming melody, with the whispers coming in behind the music. Almost halfway through the song the vocals are yelled as much as sang and was an interesting change.Read more ›
"They Escaped the Weight of Darknes" and "To Drown" respectively initiate and conclude the album, and convey stark, heavy emotions that defy description (by me, at least). "Into the Painted Grey" begins contemplatively, but is an intense tune that will make one recall fellow Northwesterners Wolves in the Throne Room. "The Watcher's Monolith" combines many different elements and speeds to form the musical equivalent of a Thanksgiving dinner plate (with a collection of great tastes). "Black Lake Nidstang" is a monolithic doomy affair flowing like molasses (in a good way) but finishing with a flourish and an explicit curse against those who degrade the earth. "Ghosts of the Midwinter Fires" is mellow, with alternately screeching and jaunty guitar work, and (as always) cathartic vocals from John Haughm.
Hearty thanks to Haughm, Don Anderson, Jason William Walton, and Aesop Dekker for crafting this majestic album. It's my favorite record of 2010 and will provide great listening through the winter and on into eternity. This, like the rest of their discography, deserves room in mankind's ultimate time capsule.
I gave this album 5 stars, but it is more of a 4.5, on the edge of but not meeting perfection. There are a few very minor things in my opinion that they could have done better to where this could easily be a perfect album. The sound is rich and dense, and the music very inventive. If you are a fan of interwoven guitar work, this album displays technicality on the guitar not in how fast the notes are, but in how well the parts are arranged. The brilliance of the bass and drum work might not be as obvious, but for those with a good musical ear there will a lot more going on than what's on the surface. Agalloch as a band form incredible synergy, so the music never becomes about the abilities or talents of one member over the other, making it a lot easier for the listener to focus on their own enjoyment of the music. Also, great album to be anything other than sober to, just throwing that out there.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the first album of their's I purchased, they are now one of my favorites.Published 13 days ago by Andrew
This album shows how excellent black metal composers do music. It is one of my favorite albuns from Agalloch. Simply powerful.Published 7 months ago by Edson Magalhães Tavares Junior
Awesome album. If you like Agalloch you will love this album IMO. If you have not heard them than listen and discover a great form of atmospheric black metal.Published 11 months ago by GW Construction Co., Inc.
Absolutely excellent album! Agalloch never cease to amaze. Highly recommended, it's truly dark and atmospheric. Greatly talented band!Published 11 months ago by Nephilim
Every Agalloch album comes with great expectations. After great first three albums that leave listener stunned with beauty after first listen, it is expected that such feat cannot... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Tech Guy
I love the darkness of this. I will be checking out more for the band.Published 17 months ago by Shawn Keith
Sorry but I loved the first three releases. This one while I appreciate the aggression, sounds like a B rated attempt of too much of the black metal influence and less if that... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Brian Skala
I have really come to love this album. I have two of their albums, the other being Ashes Against the Grain. Read morePublished 21 months ago by jerrygarcia
After four almost excruciatingly long years, fans were finally able to rejoice when Agalloch returned with a new album in 2010's "Marrow Of The Spirit. Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by A. Stutheit