Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)
The fifth full-length album from Portland, OR-based black-ish metal band Agalloch, The Serpent & The Sphere, opens with a 10-and-a-half-minute track called “Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation,” and it is a mindfuck. The song spends some three and a half minutes laboriously building from near-total silence, and upon finally hitting its groove, it proceeds for the next seven goddamn minutes at like 56BPM — a rhythm you might describe as “adagio” or “deliberate” or “glacial.” Frontman John Haughm’s lead vocals are mostly whispered, his rhythm guitar track is entirely acoustic; there’s some portentous plainsong chanting, and at numerous points, components of the already spare instrumentation peel away, leaving only one or two pieces in play, as if the song is buckling under its own enormous weight. It reminds me a lot of the elegant and deeply depressive funeral doom made by Australia’s Mournful Congregation (or Agalloch’s Profound Lore labelmates Loss, from Nashville), although it doesn’t attempt to wring quite the same powerful drama from those sonic elements. It’s not a difficult song, exactly — it’s rather refined and beautiful-sounding, in fact — but on first blush, as an opening track and inaugural statement, it makes no fucking sense.
Following up their acclaimed “Marrow Of The Spirit” album from 2010, “The Serpent & The Sphere” sees AGALLOCH take their progressive musical oeuvre to a challenging new level while maintaining the classic AGALLOCH sound. It captures some of the band’s most forward-thinking and intriguing compositions yet, while at the same time some of the darkest, most meticulously crafted, and most atmospherically potent work of the band’s career.
Collection includes 4 studio albums, 4 EP and 3 compilations by American dark folk metal band Agalloch.
Viva Hate Records will release their fourth album entitled ”Marrow Of The Spirit”. Not only does ”Marrow Of The Spirit”, compared to its predecessors, feature the fundamentally significant fresh qualitites which mark each new Agalloch release, but it is also the first album recorded with new drummer Aesop Dekker…
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
One thing is quite certain: ou can love this album to death or loathe it with every fiber of your being, but you can’t really ignore it. From the gorgeusly disturbing gatefold sleeve, displaying a masterpiece of Gothic artwork by Swiss cult artist R.H. Giger (of “Alien” fame), down to the unabashed self-indulgence of its musical content, “Brain Salad Surgery” is a compendium of everything progressive rock is all about, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is loud, metallic, and harsh, undeniably bombastic, though it can also be melodic and soothing – a true rollercoaster ride of an album, swinging from the beautiful, English choirboy vocals of “Jerusalem” (with wonderful lyrics courtesy of one Mr William Blake) to the all-out progressive orgy that is “Karn Evil 9”.