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Marrow of the Spirit

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 23, 2010
$19.98 $30.00
Vinyl, Import, August 16, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

2010 release from the Pacific Northwest Dark Metal band. Building on a foundation of Black Metal and Neo-Folk with lyrics exploring heathen lore, they add influences from Post-rock, Noise, Experimental and Ambient music for something distinctly their own. Marrow of the Spirit, Agalloch's fourth album, is the band's defining statement and the first Metal release of the new decade that can truly be considered a masterpiece. Darker, colder and more aggressive than anything they have done in the past, it is their most accomplished work to date. Quite simply, Marrow of the Spirit is Agalloch at the height of their powers.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 23, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Profound Lore
  • ASIN: B0044RP1I6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,290 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It takes a few listens to appreciate this group's albums, so I waited to write this review until giving it that opportunity. Having heard most of their music, I think Marrow of the Spirit has all the elements of previous Agalloch releases but keeps it fresh by adding some new flavors as well.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
An Agalloch release is a work of art to be considered an event, and deserves all the listening time one can spare. I just received my copy of the album, but have listened online and been blown away by the wondrous world contained in "Marrow of the Spirit." This may be the album that drives me to purchase a record player once it comes out on LP. The November release date is, of course, perfect timing for the band. Hopefully, you'll listen to this in the proper autumnal wooded setting, but regardless, the music will transport you there if you close your eyes.

"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.
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Format: Audio CD
Having been a fan of Agollach since their first record (Pale Folklore) came out It has always been a pleasure to hear something new from them--as they never disapoint. Marrow of the Spirit is no exception and is brilliant in everyway. This is a darker album and gone is the Bathory inspired mid-paced metal of Ahes against the grain. On this album the band really embraces the old school black metal sound of the 90's which is simply done with artistic grace and precision that in no way does it sound contrived or nastaligic, instead what we get is pure black metal art mixed with some folk and ambient parts. The musicianship is top notch and the drumming is simply just amazing. I know a few people have complained a bit about the production but this album was recorded in analog so it is meant to be heard on actual speakers not earphones, so I recommand you throw this into your bose or home system and sit back with a drink and absorb this amazing album!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If "black metal" orginated as an expression of occult sprituality, "folk metal" could then be for those who like metal, but seek the influence of nature-based spirituality, although for some the line between pagan and occult is a blurry one. Folk metal could also be for those who like the "folk" mentality, but hate how the folk genre doesn't allow for or even tends to downplay the role of chaos and power in both the natural and spiritual world. Metal therfore becomes the most appropriate form of musical expression to emphasize these concepts in a musical art form. Agalloch's Marrow of the Spirit fits the description "folk metal": It is folk in its reverance for nature and simplistic ways of life, and it is metal, so it communicates folk ideas in ways that are "heavy" rather than "hippie." If this sounds like a welcome change from what you are used to, I strongly encourage you to buy this album.

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.
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