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4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon November 13, 2003
This is the 3rd time I'm submitting this, I keep thinking of more stuff. This album is essential for fans of either full-length Agalloch album. The title track is very similar to the songs on Pale Folklore; one couldn't enjoy one without the other. It is just as dark, and atmospheric yet very agressive as songs on Pale Folklore, with dark, poetic lyrics. It mostly is heavy with a little acoustic plucking on top of heavy distortion. The next two tracks are instrumentals, "Foliorum Viridium" sounds similar to "The Misshapen Steed" on Pale Folklore, but not too similar, and it's the oldest song on here, coming from their 1997 Demo "From Which of This Oak" (which fans should also try to obtain, it is an excellent demo). It contains some piano, and 3 layers of very majestic keyboard playing. Next, "Haunting Birds" is a very nice twin-acoustic instrumental, beginning with simple, dark strumming, adding new ideas along the way, with sounds of the campfire at the end. Anyone who enjoys the instrumentals on both full-lengths (or softer instrumental song parts) should definitely savor these two little ones.

Next comes "Kneel to the Cross," which is a Sol Invictus cover. It starts out with chanting "Summer is-a-coming, Arise, Arise" for about a minute, which was kind of annoying when i first heard it, but turns out to be a great build-up to the rest of the song. Think of songs on Pale Folklore but a little more accessible or simple, but that definately doesn't ruin it.

When I originally got this, I never heard the original, or any Sol Invictus at all, and I was very interested in doing so. Well, a lot has changed since then. Agalloch's cover totally enhances the old, industrial influenced Sol Invictus version of the song, adding so much more atmosphere and melody. In the original, it had monotonous vocals and annoying sounds and beats, and was more repetitive. Agalloch spiced it up so much and that greatly escalates my respect for the band. This is not to say I don't like Sol Invictus, in fact, that is one of the only songs of theirs that I'm not too fond of, and a few years after they made that song, they made a much better one anyway. Over 2 years have passed now and I pretty much own the entire Sol Invictus catalog, and they are my favorite folk-noir band, and it's all thanks to Agalloch covering that song that I got into them in the first place. Even getting into them has sparked my interest in all folk-noir in general; I'm starting to collect albums from Current 93, Death In June, and more to come. The last song, "A Poem by Yeats" is literally a poem by Yeats read over a farily short, very ambient primarily keyboard/piano piece.

Sorry for getting off track, but I want to emphasize how It has inspired a ridiculous amount of new music for me, for a 25-minute EP.

Now I'm going to talk about the demo, "From Which of this Oak" a little.
For a demo, it is really amazing. I believe it was truly a foreshadowing of what the band would do in the future. It is also similar to Pale Folklore, with much more raw production and unrefined vocals (sound closer to death metal style vocals than what they would later be), but it still captures the dark atmosphere of Agalloch and is very addicting to me. It starts off with "The Wilderness" which is a very decent song, contains some excellent riffs, and eventually some essential twin-guitar harmonies found all over Pale Folklore. This song is probably the least exciting on the album though. Next is an older version of "As Embers Dress the Sky" which I think is equally good compared to the later version of it, but it's interesting to hear how it got started. "Foliorum Vidium" sounds exactly like it did on this EP. "This Old Cabin" is the real treat here, I wish they would have also re-recorded it and put it on Pale Folklore. It has 13 minutes of amazing riffs, incredible chilling atmosphere, and is really more interesting than some songs on PF (like Dead Winter Days). This is not attainable on CD or vinyl, and there are very limited and hard to find cassette tapes of it, (like, 10 of them) but I've been enjoying it very much lately on MP3. Try to download this demo, which is pretty much the only way to hear it, unfortunately. If it was actually released then I'd buy it for sure. They should really release it along with the 1998 demo (which I haven't heard anything from and I'm very interested in doing so) but that's never going to happen. If you like Pale Folklore as much as me, this is basically an addition to it.
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on September 26, 2005
Although shorter in length then Pale Folklore and The Mantle, this offering from the masters of ambient metal, Agalloch, is stellar in its own right. The cd opens up with the thundrous and catchy metal title track that, although clearly metal, does not stray too far from Agalloch's noir-folk inspired style. Next comes two of the most beautiful and harmonious tracks that I have ever heard. "Foliordum Volidium" and "Haunting Birds" seem to be completely in-tune with nature and will guide the listener on a walk through an enchanted wood in harmony with the forest and all of its bounty as tied to the bands environmentaly sensitive roots. Track four is a cover of Sol Invictus' Kneel to the Cross done to perfection, and track 5, "A poem by Yeats," opens with soaring pianos and haunting monk-like chants. I recommend this cd most highly to those that enjoyed track four from Pale Folklore (The Mishappen Steed) with its wondrous instramentals and acoustics, as tracks 2 and 3 are very simmilar and equally amazing. There is not one week point in this cd and, although the other two cds from Agalloch are fantastic as well, Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor is my personal favorite. If you are a fan of Agalloch, Tenhi, Nest, October Falls, or any other Noir-folk or ambient band then get this cd.
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on February 15, 2005
This is sort of a compilation of pre-signing and one-off tracks that Agalloch released as an interim before their stunning masterpiece "The Mantle," and is overall up to the standards of the main discs from the band (their languid EP "The Grey" and the fairly meaningless vinyl "Tomorrow Will Never Come" notwithstanding). The first track is sort of similar to something you'd hear on "Pale Folklore," albeit with a more doom-metalish feel. There's some pretty great guitar work on this track, along with very dismal lyrics. "Foliorum Viridium" is a synth piece, a little short but astoundingly beautiful. They did a nice cover of Sol Invictus' "Kneel to the Cross," which is a lot better than the original, and synth man Breyer ends it off beautifully with a fantastic rendition of a poem by William Butler Yeats, therein proving that he is about 65 million times more talented a vocalist than Haughm. The weak spot comes in track 3, "Haunting Birds," which sounds like a first-jam reference piece. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but the guitar work is not precise at all, and it's not a complex piece at all. It's just the usual few-chords Agalloch atmospheric instrumental, but the off-timing gets irritating. Still, it has a strangely attractive aura to it.

So my advice is to get this thing just for the two synth pieces. You're gonna have a hard time finding it though.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 23, 2014
As with some other Agalloch EP's, this one is difficult to find for a decent price. It's limited to 1,000 copies, so if you get one, you'll be one of the few. Also like the other EP's, it has a lighter touch than their full-lengths, offering more folk and ambient music. The one exception is the opening track, "Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor." As this EP came out between "Pale Folklore" and "The Mantle," the title track sounds like the natural middle ground between the two albums. It retains some of the raw qualities of "Pale Folklore," but also shows a progression to the more polished nature of "The Mantle." After this song comes two instrumental tunes, "Foliorum Viridium" (which also appears on their first demo/EP "From Which of This Oak") and "Haunting Birds." "Foliorum" offers the usual lush instrumentation of Agalloch's ambient forays, while "Haunting Birds" features their trademark melancholic folk. Next comes a cover of the Sol Invictus song "Kneel to the Cross." I'm not familiar with the original song, or Sol Invictus, but Agalloch sounds great on this cover. It shows off their ability to create power with acoustic guitar and percussion. The EP concludes with "A Poem by Yeats," another ambient track with Haughm both reciting and singing the poem "The Sorrow of Love." This release might not appeal to those who only like the blackened folk metal of their full-length albums, but I think all of the aspects of Agalloch's sound are entrancing. These songs highlight all of their different traits and make this EP one of the many five-star releases in the Agalloch catalog. The only other place you can get these songs is on "The Compendium Archive," which is even more limited and expensive. Last time I checked, the entire EP was also on Youtube, which is obviously the cheapest option. But if you're a collector and a fan of this band, "Of Stone, Wind, and Pillor" is a great option.
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VINE VOICEon December 23, 2002
Even though these songs are quite incoherent, it makes for a good EP. They were recorded between 1997 and 2001. It sounds more like Pale Folklore than The Mantle. The first song is the only one that's really metal, it's got pretty bad production, but it's pretty good. The next two tracks are instrumentals, "Foliorum Viridium" sounds similar to "The Misshapen Steed" on Pale Folklore and it's the oldest song on here. Next "Haunting Birds" is a very nice acoustic instrumental with sounds of the campfire. Then comes "Kneel to the Cross" which is a Sol Invictus cover. Very well done, but i've never heard the original and i've never even heard the band, However, now i'm very interested in checking them out, which i'm having a bit of trouble doing because i can barely find anything. Anything that inspires Agalloch is worth checking out. The last song is a good ending, very ambient.
If you love the two Agalloch full lengths be sure to get this one too.
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on October 30, 2006
This is a hard to find EP from Agalloch. They extend their cold atmospheric soundscapes/meta/folk, and anyone who knows agalloch will already know this is worth getting. It contains a cover of "kneel to the cross" by Sol Invictus along with more normal agalloch material. Definately worth finding if you know agaloch already, if you dont then it is best to get hold of "the mantle." anybody into neopfolk, soundscape , cold sounding black metal, opeth, doom etc... should definately check this band out as im sure, like me, they will become one of your favorites.
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on November 28, 2015
Very pleased with this CD. I have been looking for it for awhile now. The CD arrived sooner then it was expected to
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on March 29, 2016
Great album. Agalloch is the best.
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on April 21, 2005
Chances are if you're reading this you already know what a great band Agalloch is, mixing folk and black metal into a beautiful and atmospheric whole. My first album by this band was "The Mantle" which the released after this EP. "The Mantle" got me hooked and I'd rate this band as one of my favorites, secondly for this last Christmas my wife bought me their excellent and VERY mature debut "Pale Folklore" which for a debut and any album in general is just about perfect. Now for this EP. The first track which is the title track hints that this short little disk will be as powerful and beautiful as their other two, lush acoustics, brutal metal, good lyrics, and the Haughm's unique and tortured shrieks. Sadly the quality of the disk ends as soon as this song does. The next song a short little instrumental is nice but nothing special, the third is more of the same and the bands most boring song to date. "Kneel To The Cross On The Wall" is as you know by now a cover. I haven't heard the original, nor do I wish to. The song is very well performed and probably the second best on the album. That said the lyrics are idiotic juvenile at the very best. Christians can be hypocrites, blah blah who isn't? The final song "Poem By Yeats" contrary to what other reviewers have stated is a waste of disk space. Bland music played over a garbled and hardly audible reading of one of Yeats' poems. Needless to say Haughm is an infinitely better vocalist. There is then a few minutes of silence and it ends with some odd noises. So on a whole the title track is great and worth the 2 stars. The rest of the album isn't worth it. If you love Agalloch I'd recommend simply downloading the title track and maybe "Kneel To The Cross On The Wall" since it's well performed. The rest you shouldn't bother with 'cos it's simply not worth spending the money on.
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