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Review: Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Marrow of the Spirit

Label: Profound Lore Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 65:55
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 8, 2011
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
Readers Rating
Marrow of the Spirit

Rated 3.11/5 (62.22%) (81 Votes)

Originality is rare in metal. Very rare. In a genre where "sticking to your roots" and having respect for a genre's progenitors is considered a necessity, iconoclastic bands who can have that reverence for the classic and also push the boundaries of the genre are scarce. Agalloch are one of those bands. Their eerie, atmospheric post-rock, dashed with traditional folk music, all supported by a black metal base is theirs alone – inimitable. With a string of unique, relatively unvaried, yet staggeringly compelling albums to their name, fans ended up with a painful wait for their newest offering, Marrow of the Spirit. Some metalheads will continue to dismiss the band for their disinterest in the black metal tradition, but those with an open mind who treasure artistry in their music will find depth and beauty on Marrow of the Spirit.

Like their previous albums, each song stretches on and on. The songs never drag, but simply continue. Instead of getting bored, the songs enter new movements, becoming evocative in new and exciting ways. This album is a collection of thematically linked songs, rather than an album where the songs meld themselves together. Beginning with a calming violin piece accompanied by the sounds of a flowing creek, the album immediately sets its themes. Just like the stream, Agalloch's music is flowing and earthy. It takes you around curves but seamlessly transitions you from one place to another. Even when they play uncompromising black metal, the music is brought to you with unmatched serenity. Ranging from sumptuous to morose, to ethereal and spiritual, Marrow of the Spirit is underlined by an omnipresent wintry melancholy, one that is effete and borders on the sublime.

This is Agalloch's fourth album. I'm sure we'll be in for another long wait for the next. But if this is any indication of how good the next album will be, then it will be well worth the wait.

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