Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain
The End Records
Dark Metal
8 songs (59:51)
Release year: 2006
The End Records
Reviewed by Misha

Agalloch has never been a metal band that suffered a lack of quality. So far, most of their albums were written in a high standard, gradually looking for new terrain to explore. Ashes Against The Grain is an exception however, seemingly leaping a few imaginary albums to be a – metal standard referenced – playfully differing album. A hand largely silences the speak of the old driving aspect of Agalloch; the catchy melodies that were closely related to dark and apocalyptic folk such as Of The Wand And The Moon and Forseti. Fortunately, Agalloch is still allowed to breath, and so it does, more than ever.

Pelican: a bird turned into a legend of metal and post-rock in irrational tempo, preaching illumination and heaving sanity in many cuckoo’s nests, left its unmistakable trademark burn mark glowing in the band’s flesh. Ashes Against The Grain therefore unfolds a densely coloured Chinese fan that becomes even more saturated by the addition of Varg-ish shrieks every now and then, and even a drone-bordering song to close the album. Despite the epic and heroic fusion of post-rock and dark metal, some of the elements tend to collide. The clean (boy-band) and flawed raw voice, in example, work together quite nicely, but don’t always fit into the drastically more abstract structures that is their new sound. Admittedly, the vocal branch has never been a top layer in their pile of qualities, and although it has wisely been given a smaller role, its presence remains. The dramatic and desperate “Varg” shrieks proved, logically, much more rigorous, but that didn’t turn out to be a bad thing. Due to the corresponding natures of post-rock and Burzum, these elements fit much better together. Maybe the band would be even better off without any form of vocals, but a violin or cello as a guide.

Basically, Agalloch’s music has morphed into something different, more interesting but not more original, it’s still clearly Agalloch, recognizable of mainly the vocals and riffs. A band can only successfully produce the same record so many times, and Agalloch wisely broke the chains that too many metal bands lock themselves into. An outstanding record that is definitely recommended as a starter for people looking into this band, and mandatory for a fan, as this is arguably their best release to date.

Killing Songs :
Misha quoted 80 / 100
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Daniel quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Agalloch that we have reviewed:
Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Agalloch - Faustian Echoes reviewed by Milan and quoted No Quote
Agalloch - Marrow Of The Spirit reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Agalloch - Pale Folklore reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 90 / 100
Agalloch - The Mantle reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
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