Agalloch- Ashes Against The Grain (2006)
Sort of a track by track review on this one. Ashes Against The Grain continues exactly the path which was forged with the previous 2 albums, moreover, this one is more metallic than The Mantle was. The album unites elements of Black Metal, doom metal and folk music. Harmonious dark riffs, sometimes still reminding me the Brave Murder Day/Discouraged Ones period of Katatonia fused with strong and melodic leads sauced by unique vocal parts, both harsh and melodic ones. The first song begins with a weeping tune, which reminds me of My Dying Bride’s grief-stricken guitar leads, and after a few minutes turns into a monumental part. Second song starts very dynamic bringing excellent riffs and beautiful acoustic breaks. A very well-assembled and memorable song. After 20 minutes comes the 3rd song, a short interlude, which is only made of a few resonating notes and a dreary industrial noise in the background, showing new nuances of the band. Fire Above, Ice Below is the longest track, and has everything which makes Agalloch only one of its kind. Many acoustic dreamy folk parts, a sad and warm voice, crescendo drumming, gradually growing into more epic parts, then the metal riffs in the last part of the song are surprisingly sustained by a U2-type of rock drumming. Next song – Not Unlike The Waves - has the heaviest riffs, but also the most beautiful acoustic moments and clean vocals. The last part of the album is the “Our Fortress Is Burning” trilogy with all the 3 tracks spinning around the same musical theme. Part I is totally acoustic, part II is a prog-rock/post-rock song with Black Metal vocals, while part III is unexpectedly a drone/noise/ambient track. I owe Wine and Slap for introducing me to Agalloch back in 2010 and I'm damn glad that they did.
Fire Above, Ice Below
Our Fortress is Burning... II - Bloodbirds