Agalloch - Faustian Echoes
Dammerung Arts
Atmospheric Black Metal/Neo-Folk
1 songs (21:34)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Milan
Major event

Agalloch like to take their sweet time when it comes to releasing full-lengths, their latest album Marrow of the Spirit being released last year, five years after the terrific Ashes Against the Grain, which in turn was released another five years after the masterful The Mantle. Luckily for those who, like me, wouldn't know how to cope with five years devoid of new Agalloch material, these nice chaps from Oregon have made a habit out of releasing an ep in between two full-lengths, making the wait a bit more bearable. These ep's have shown Agalloch experimenting with their sound and while this is something to be admired, the results haven't always been as good as one has come to expect from this band, the mediocre The Grey being the last example of this. So when I heard (or read) that they were going to release a new ep called Faustian Echoes featuring only one twenty-minute long song based on Goethe's play Faust, I was incredibly curious and admittedly slightly worried whether they could pull this off. Thankfully they did, and how!

The song is a true rollercoaster, beginning with a massive black metal riff propelled forward by rapid drumming that leads into more subdued acoustic guitarwork. From then on Agalloch keep you on the edge of your seat by constantly changing the tempo (the song even nearly coming to a full halt between the eight and nine minute mark only to pull you back in with more violent black metal riffing and blast beats) and alternating between crude and cold or more epic, thrilling riffing, as well as acoustic breaks between the two. The icing on the cake is the tremendous soloing and leadwork, adding some warmth to the mostly harsh and cold atmosphere. An interesting aspect about the song is that it's filled with fragments from Jan Švankmajer’s film rendition of Faust which do not sound out of place at all.

Sonically this is very similar to Agalloch's last album Marrow of the Spirit. This also applies to the production. The sound is pretty bare-bones but very clear. Every instrument has been treated equally and is perfectly audible. If I could nitpick I'd say this sounds a little too much like something off of Marrow of the Spirit instead of something more experimental you'd come to expect from them. Yet this is a complaint barely worth mentioning, the lack of innovation being made up in spades by the overall songwriting quality.

Although this isn't as experimental as one would expect (or want) from an Agalloch ep, they did write a twenty-minute long song, their longest to date, about Goethe's Faust with excerpts from a film rendition of the same literary work, without coming off as pretentious or boring you to tears. The fact that, despite all this, I have to whine about "a lack of innovation" just for the sake of having something to whine about, goes to show how succesful this ep truly is. I, for one, can't wait for another full-length by this terrific band. This ep is so good that, instead of satisfying my hunger for new Agalloch, it has made me more impatient than ever.

Killing Songs :
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Milan quoted No Quote
Other albums by Agalloch that we have reviewed:
Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Agalloch - Marrow Of The Spirit reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain reviewed by Misha and quoted 80 / 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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