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Agalloch - The White (EP) & The Grey (EP)

The White (EP) & The Grey (EP)
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 21 December 2019, 11:21 PM

John Haughm parted ways with rest of the members in May 2016. After a few days of uncertainty, an official statement was issued declaring AGALLOCH to be "permanently laid to rest" on May 18th, 2016. Eventually, in late June 2016, he declared during an interview for Billboard that he had never intended to reduce AGALLOCH to a solo project and that he is completely fine with the split. John Haughm moved into the black metal project PILLORIAN, while Don Anderson, Jason William Walton, along with former drummer Aesop Dekker formed KHÔRADA, which both bands have now also split up.

The White (EP) (2008)

The Isle of Summer” has a creepy ass sample intro from The Wicker Man (1973). The acoustic guitars that begin a beautiful melody, are as relaxing as possible after the creepy start. The guitar intro, which is purely instrumental, is brilliant, it does not special, just keeps the harmony simple, but effective. With less than 30 seconds to go, shit goes dark and it’s a strange sample noise to finish. “Birch Black” does not roll the previous sample sound over, which made it pointless. What it does, is keep the great melodic, acoustic guitar play up. It builds up slowly, but smoothly. Knowing this is another instrumental piece, it leaves you wondering how AGALLOCH will fill the gap, so far the smoothing guitar melody leads the way.  No real changes in pace or direction, but it works well enough

Hollow Stone” does continue with the overall feel set down by its predecessor. Midway through the song, just get the feeling not much will change, the speed set hasn’t moved and you could have though that “Birch Black” hadn’t actually finished. “Pantheist” also keeps the same feel and has no real way of knowing it’s a different song. There is a real theme to this album. Midway through we get some vocals, which livens it all up and feels new, finally. “Birch White” has a new sound, way more folk, but includes vocals, so its new. The guitar play is basically the same as before. The vocals are just spoken word and its hard to work out what real difference they make. “Sowilo Rune” also has a sample from The Wicker Man (1973), but this song starts like the rest of the album. You cannot tell when one song finishes to another starts. “Summerisle – Reprise” proves the point about the songs being hard to work out, starts and endings. There are some piano sections which add something new, which goes towards the album sound well enough. The outro to this song also has a sample from The Wicker Man (1973). “Where Shade Once Was” is the final song and you can actually notice there is a new song. More of a violin feel in this song, but the melodies are swaying back towards the overall sound of the album. Spoken word vocals add depth to the album making this song feel different, a break in the mold.

This album is best heard when its shuffled up with loads of other songs on a playlists, otherwise it gets very repetitive.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

The Grey (EP) (2004)

The Lodge” starts with a very progressive sound, without knowing of the band, you could be fooled as to which genre/subgenre this song reflects. The intro style goes on for longer than perhaps expected without too many changes. Not flexing musical talents, but the melody works well enough to calmly take over. Around the 3-minute mark, the speed picks up, slightly. The song does not lose its composure and or balance. The progression is increasing in pace and you can truly appreciate what is going on here, this is a work of art. Almost every other minute, the speed increases slightly, adding further depth to the song, so not one sound becomes stale. After 9 minutes, it distorts within the sound, almost as if the guitar has just been placed on the floor, as you sometimes hear at a gig.

Odal” sounds like something BURZUM would have thrown out during Varg’s infamous prison term. It is strangely distorted, without seemingly knowing what to do. This lasts just under two minutes, and then a tranquil sound takes over. The chaotic addition of sounds are added, which takes away the balance, it’s a mix of distortion and random sounds. Then its almost like they have got these sounds in a loop and are playing it over and over to finish. “ShadowDub” sounds like it would belong in a German Hardcore Club. It’s not for me. It is hard for me to work out how this plays to their style. I am not sure how to describe what is happening here. I’m scared.

These are 3 very different songs. “The Lodge” isn’t  a bad song for the most part, until the end where it fades away. “Odal” sounds like they just got bored in the studio and played around with some distortions. “ShadowDub”, yeah… it is…well, they… I have no idea. There are not enough songs on here to get a high mark.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

The White (EP) (2008)
1. The Isle of Summer (Instrumental)
2. Birch Black (Instrumental)
3. Hollow Stone (Instrumental)
4. Pantheist (Instrumental)
5. Birch White
6. Sowilo Rune
7. Summerisle - Reprise
8. Where Shade Once Was

The Grey (EP) (2004)
1. The Lodge (Dismantled) (Instrumental)
2. Odal (Nothing remix) (Instrumental)
3. ShadowDub (How Beautiful is Funeral) (Instrumental)
John Haughm – Vocals, Guitars (electric, acoustic), Bass, Baritone horn, Ebow, Percussion
Don Anderson – Guitars (electric, acoustic), Piano

John Haughm – Guitars, Vocals
Jason William Walton – Bass
Don Anderson – Guitars, Piano, Vocals (backing)
Chris Greene – Drums
Record Label: Eisenwald


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