Review: AGALLOCH - Marrow of The Spirit (2010)

Country: USA
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Release Date: 2010
Label: Profound Lore Records
Format: CD & LP (Buy Online)

Hailing from the USA, Agalloch released their 4th and long-awaited album ‘Marrow of the Spirit’ two years ago in 2010. I recently found this CD hidden at the back of my collection and gave it a listen after so much time and… wow! Agalloch were formed in Portland around 2005 and they play a mixture of Atmospheric/Depressive Black/Doom Death with folk elements...well you can’t actually label their music as it is so unique, and there’s really no need to! Just like their previous releases, ‘Marrow of the Spirit’ follows the same dark path, both musically and lyrically but this time taking it to another level.

The album consists of one mournful intro and 5 long masterpieces, each one being a magic journey through the cold and snowy forest. The band has managed to make their coldest and darkest album ever and John Haughm (guitars and vocals) has nearly eliminated all use of cleans vocals which is the major difference with their previous work. While all their compositions are exceptionally perfect, special mention needs to be made for track #4 ‘Black Lake Nidstång’.

It’s an 18 long masterpiece and I will dare to say that it is their best song so far. From the magical acoustic intro to the peak in the middle and the ‘catharsis’ at the end, this track is nothing short of thrilling. Through the whole song Haughm sings like he has never before. The cold whispering at the beginning of the song representing the voice of the dead which rest at the lake completely haunts your mind. His screams at the middle of the song are breath-taking, full of emotion and my personal opinion is that this part is the highlight of the whole album.

Agalloch have this rare skill of marrying atmosphere and music together creating powerfully emotional compositions, truly works of art. All of their releases are brilliant and they get better with time as they have proven with ‘Marrow of the Spirit’. I highly recommend this album or any other of their previous releases and I guarantee that nobody will be disappointed. Their music is not just entertainment; it takes you through a mystic journey through cold pathways that no one has ever walked before.

Alexandros Vacanas
September 2012