|Review: Pillorian - Obsidian Arc|
Year released: 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: April 1, 2017
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4/5 (80%) (6 Votes)
Well, no one was sure what would happen after John Haughm's rather acrimonious split from Agalloch. At first it seemed like they might go on without him, but now we know that is not going to happen. I would say that is all for the best, as Agalloch was always very much Haughm's baby, and it shows more strongly than ever on this, his first recording with his new band Pillorian.
Over the years Agalloch flirted with a lot of influences, bringing in heavy folk passages, some post-rock and ambient sounds, all adding to their base of doomy black metal. Pillorian strips all that away and returns to the roots of Agalloch to produce an album that sounds like it could have been the follow-up to Pale Folklore. You get the same heavily compressed guitar sound, the sweeping arrangements and gloomy atmosphere, and Haughm's signature rasps that make it unmistakable. This is, if anything, less experimental than even the earliest Agalloch works, sounding much more like a black metal album than anything since Marrow of the Spirit. This is clearly a direction Agalloch could have gone, rather than the more expansive sound of The Mantle, and while I love that album, it is deeply refreshing to hear this distilled Agalloch sound without any of the other stuff they often crowded it with. A stellar debut from an old hand with a new band.
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