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From the forest to the distant stars...,
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This review is from: The Serpent & The Sphere (Audio CD)
THE SERPENT AND THE SPHERE is another superb album from Agalloch, with disparate sections interwoven to create a progressive sonic tapestry that is greater than the sum of its parts.
John Haughm's lyrics turn here from the dark forest, which has been the central image through all Agalloch's music until now, to the Cosmos. More specifically, to the Cosmos as Macrosphere and the spirit within as the Microsphere which is the Cosmos in miniature.
As expressed in "Vales Beyond Dimension":
"I have peeled away layers of my humanity
No longer a being, the core of entity
For each layer reveals the key to the gates of the multiverse.
Through the doorway of a shaman's reality
A universe within the skull."
Haughm's harsh vocals are more restrained than in the past, a whispering rasp, but no croaking. There are no clean vocals. Nathaniel Larochette composed three solo classical guitar pieces which he performs, and they serve as segues between the six long, electric songs performed by the band, one instrumental, providing a medieval feel.
THE SERPENT AND THE SPHERE sounds more like Marrow of the Spirit than any other Agalloch album, but it is more restrained, less sprawling, and more meticulously constructed. While excellent, I hope Haughm doesn't stray for too long from his concern for the forest and for the Earth.