Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Pertinent addition for any Agalloch fan
on 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.