AGALLOCH are a “neofolk-metal” act formed in mid-90’s Portland, Oregon, a strange time period and place, musically, for a metal band to form, as then Portland was mostly Grunge and Riot Grrrl oriented *(thank fukk that’s over with). They were founded by vocalist/guitarist/drummer John Haughm. Since their formation, they have released five full-length albums, four EPs, two singles, one split single, two demos, four compilation albums and one live video album.
AGALLOCH’s music falls under the realms of “Black metal neofolk,” which is a pretty good way to describe its really beautifully odd blend of genres. Don’t expect DEATH IN JUNE, nor IMMORTAL either. Or really anything in between, but something that is very much it’s own thing.
THE SERPENT & THE SPHERE is their fifth full length, and something quite different in their ongoing legacy of experimentation and different sounds, as well within the realms of both metal and neofolk musics alike. With words (and worlds) of depth and meaning, music that ranges from a light and beautiful softness to sudden crushing speed to catch-chorus melodies to amazing and early ULVER-esque acoustic interludes, accompanied by a voice that uniquely switches between actual singing and black-metal-esque growls of soul torn fury *(again, often in the vein of ULVER’s first album, not a complaint).
Lyrically, it seems to be about various aspects of reality, perception, cosmic connectedness, time, and the infinity thereof all things mentioned, as visually portrayed by the beautiful album cover of a golden and multi-curled dragon-like Ouroboros *(the snake that eats its own tale, for those who don’t know), against a deep magenta inlay, with different bits of worlds beyond-yet-part-of ours caught within the rings of the dragon. A perfect visual to capture the many layers and moods that AGALLOCH evoke deep within the fabric of the mind as listening.
One important thing, however. It is best to sit alone in a darkened room, close your eyes, *(smoke it if ya got it, if that’s your thing, as it is mine), and let the music soak into your being. The arrangements and instrumentation say as much as the lyrics do. Another not for the average metal fan. And if you’re looking for some kind of “satanism” in your black metal, you won’t find it here. This isn’t facepaint and spikes based *(nothing wrong with that, however.) This is deep, real in its challenging of “reality.” This is cosmic-based. This is for the thinker. *(You white-power black metal & neofolk types can just fukk yourselves off – – – sorry, it just had to be said. The scenes are both weird in that particular division of foul elitism).
Again, another one for the more adventurous and open minded of both metal and neofolk fans as well. It’s not something I personally could listen to everyday, but it was something refreshingly different, something carefully crafted for a certain mood and mindset, thoroughly epic in scope and concept. Pick this up, disappointment is bound not to be had. SUPPORT THE UNDERGROUND.
Support Agalloch by buying their stuff: http://www.agalloch.org/shop.htm
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/ Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org