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Agalloch - The Serpent & The Sphere Award winner

The Serpent & The Sphere
by Tuoksu Holopainen at 23 April 2014, 4:35 AM

AGALLOCH is that kind of band that makes it almost impossible for me to classify within a genre without using at least 4 or 5 terms. The American Metal have been around for quite a long while, bestowing an amalgamation of Black Metal, Post-Metal,  Doom Metal, Folk, and a myriad  of other styles. "The Serpent & The Sphere" is the band's fifth album to date, following 2010's masterpiece "Marrow of the Spirit" which has been quite well-received, and so will be this album, for it is another perfectly-crafted piece of art with such enchantingly-gloomy musical landscapes to offer. AGALLOCH has returned with

"Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation" opens the album with its slow atmosphere-building pace paving the way slowly to the doomier parts of this song. This track even has a 3rd and The Mortal-ish touch to it, blending Doom with Black Metal and Avant-garde even,  mingled with Haughm's mournful growls complement with Don Anderson's occasional backing vocals. Absolutely an instant favorite on the album. Later it subtly fades into the mesmerising acoustic piece  "(serpens caput)" that is merely three-minutes but is no short of compelling appealing stemming from its simplicity. The album at the point seems to be flowing smoothly and seamlessly, which is awesomely maintained throughout the whole record despite the (very well-done) rough-cuts on some tracks. "The Astral Dialogue" and "Dark Matter Gods" are  more on the  Death/Doom side yet still feature a strong Black Metal basis. Think My Dying Bride and Swallow The Sun meet early Dissection and Ulver. "Celestial Effigy" has been released a while ago and it’s a great avant-gôut of the material of this album, tempting the Black Metallers. "Cor Serpentis (the sphere)" is another beautiful acoustic interlude in the same vein as the second track, preceding the spectacular latter half of the album. "Vales Beyond Dimension" is of an incredible catchiness with its Proggy feeling, contributing to the very diverse aspect of the record. "Plateau of the Ages" is a massive twelve-minute song, and back to the melancholic, dirge and slow, capturing pretty much the overall sound of this album.

Reaching "(serpens cauda)" even after one single listen to  "The Serpent & The Sphere" I could definitely tell that it's an album that I'll be mentioning again by the end of this year while listening my top favorites of 2014. AGALLOCH fans shall never be disappointed nor betrayed.

5 Star Rating

1. Birth and Death of the Pillars of Creation
2. (Serpens Caput)
3. The Astral Dialogue
4. Dark Matter Gods
5. Celestial Effigy
6. Cor Serpentis (the sphere)
7. Vales Beyond Dimension
8. Plateau of the Ages
9. (Serpens Cauda)
John Haughm - Guitars, Vocals
Don Anderson - Guitars, Piano, Backing vocals
Jason William Walton - Bass
Aesop Dekker - Drums
Record Label: Profound Lore Records


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Edited 26 November 2022

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