Reviews for Agalloch - The Mantle:
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The Mantle is a masterpiece. It's the best Cd I've heard this years bar none. A mixture of blackish, doomish folklorish metal with different vocal stylings. Agaloch has a very serene sound, unlike some other bands that just become over-emotional. The atmosphere is truly calm and gentle and so are the lyrics. The music is much more mature than in Pale Folklore, more structured and tight. The sound isn´t as melodramatic as Pale Folklore, but it is equally cold and sad. It is very consistent throughout it's 70 minutes of duration.

Review by: supercalme

Great stuff really. Puts you at a strange peace of mind. A lot more acoustic and a lot less of the hammering muddy sound that was most of pale folklore. Reminds me a lot of Opeth, but a touch better in my opinion.

Review by: msatan81

What else can i say "supercalme" Said it all

Great CD buy it

Review by: AngelofDeath

So excellent! The best black metal album in 2002!Join it!

Review by: Soulrockluode

I think this is the best Agalloch CD among all. Just take "In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion", that is like over 12 minutes of beautiful music. I personally like something like that because it helps me to relax and all that. I also like louder music, but the songs in this album were like... perfect. Even some of my friends who hated metal, they would like it also. And as for my friends who are metal fans also, the first time they listen to it and they loved it! Overall I think this album deserves a little bit more than 9.4 rating...

Review by: lilgirl

An absolutly amazing album, like Opeth in ways and sometimes not. Also similar to Green Carnation (Another great album), One of the few bands from the US that has talent, If you want to go on a musical journey then buy this album, you will not be disapointed

Review by: Wintermist

Yes, this album is very nice and original, a bit relaxed in my opinion; if it were more intense would be a masterpiece. But no problem, pretty good songs that makes worth the listen, sad and melancholic music that reminds Ulver or the quiet parts of Opeth.
The best song in my opinion is 'You were but a ghost in my arms', however the final part of the album bores to me a bit.
Ah, the instrumental songs are very cool...

Review by: danchloe

This album is simply masterful. It is perfect. It is beautiful. It is melancholy put music.

Review by: beyond_freezing

The splendour of this piece of metal I found now...

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon and I was browsing through the collection of the local CD shop. Suddenly my eye struck on a silver picture of a deer and some trees. Instinctively the CD got turned around and in that very same silvery colour it showed a nice piece of photographed architecture. The side of the plastic box told me this was an Agalloch album, called “The Mantle”. Never heard of them, but what the heck. I took the album to the listening booth and about two minutes later my mind was made up. I want this album! Why? Well, dear reader, I will tell you in the following.

This record is probably not the most easily accessible of all metal albums. Especially those who enjoy uncomplicated heavy metal will not find “The Mantle” to be their cup of tea, even though that aspect of metal, too is present in this record. The metal in “The Mantle” is powerful, yet never brutal. Why on earth could we possibly be wasting our time on it at Lords of Metal then? Well, because it’s a particularly attractive album that happened to appeal to me very much. The presence of both Paradise Lost (some “Draconian Times” sneaks in after about 6 minutes of ‘Odal’) and Pink Floyd influences (‘The Hawthorne Passage’) will undoubtedly have something to do with this. The same goes for the instrumental songs which are strongly represented (four out of nine). Technically, these gentlemen know very well what they’re doing. Their music has been ingeniously put together. Who exactly plays which instrument has been carefully documented for each song separately, which gives an even better idea of the complexity and diversity of this exceptional Agalloch album. Instrumental diversity? There are the mandolin, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion, piano, bass guitar, contra bass, trombone, samples, accordion, synths (albeit very minimal), etcetera.

Samples of sounds of nature, heavy guitars, pounding drums and a deep bass create an atmosphere which doesn’t qualify for anything even remotely close to cheerful. Searching the internet tells us that Agalloch are a group of four which hails from Portland, Oregon and according to the sticker on the CD, they make Melancholic Metal. Melancholic Metal, with references from Pink Floyd (one of my all time favourite bands), Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Sol Invictus (they covered “Kneel to The Cross”, which can be found on the Sol Invictus tribute-album), Ulver (a reference I cannot confirm), Dissection and Fields Of The Nephilim, no less. This should be good!

I put the disc in my CD-player and again, I’m swept of my feet by Agalloch and become one with “The Mantle”. The singer’s voice reminded me at times of Johan Edlund at the time of Tiamat’s splendid “Wildhoney”. In fact, the entire atmosphere has something in common with that particular Tiamat album, which can be considered to be one of the finest of the nineties… Another strong asset of “The Mantle" is the way it deals with a large variety of emotions, in music as well as singing styles (both clean voices and grunts are being used) and in the lyrics. Religious doubts (‘In The Shadow Of Our Pale Companion’) are alternated with an emotion which comes close to yearning for Death (‘... And The Great Cold Death Of The Earth’) and missing one particular lady (‘A Desolation Song’ and ‘You Were But A Ghost In My Arms’). Of the latter I would like to share these beautiful, almost poetic lines with you: “Each night I lay / awakened by her shivering silent voice / from the shapes in the corridor walls. It pierces the solitude like that of a distant scream / in the pitch-black forest of my delusion…”

All in all this is a very well balanced album, which I will be playing quite frequently this year. There’s only one question left, really... Do you think they might have band shirts?

Review by: Aernout Casier

Wow. Just when you think that Pale Folklore can't be topped then something like The Mantle comes in. This is really a masterpiece. I'm constantly amazed how good this band sounds. And I'm also appalled by the fact that they don't get the reconnection they deserve. Anyway this is mostly an instrumental album. However it is one of the most relaxing albums I've ever heard. Get this Album if you can you won't regret it.

Review by: illnath

I recently picked up this CD because my musica tastes tend to span from Death In June and other apoctaliptic folk bands to progressive to metal. From description I read of this CD it appeared The Mantle would be a great match for my tastes. What I got was that and much, much more. Yes it has those various musical influences but the style of The Mantle is unique as well. It has a subtle but very present power. The music is at time simple in a folky way and then it morphes into glorious complexity. The vocals can be like the typical black metal style and then become quite melodic. The overall mood of The Mantle is melancholy with power. It revels in the gloomy without being forever gloomy. This is just a fine work.

Review by: Raven10567

What is every reviewer on this site talking about...... this album is uninspiring clap-trap, with ridiculously simple chord progressions and poor vocals. Every song is unoriginal and totally predicable, not to mention the numerous guitar playing mistakes - yes they r there, did they record it in a garage with no playback? I was stupid to think an american band could come up with emotive interesting material. Trust me, dont listen to the other reviews and buy this album, otherwise u will end up with a steamy terd sandwich of a cd like me !!!

Review by: HoLeeCrap

WOW ! Well, I dunno much bands with such an atmospheric tune like Agalloch but I think they are one of the best bands with melodic Metal. It's again a great album and I cannot wait for their next album.

Review by: Caine

Unfortunately, I have to agree with HoLeeCrap.. this album is terribly overrated. The opening riff of "I am the wooden doors" reminds me of some kind of weird lounge rock... and the rest of the song (and album) just isn't written well enough to be as simple as it is. Although Pale Folklore was a bit better... the band is still crap in my eyes. Americans can't write folk metal. period.

Review by: Kulden Morket

excellent ambiental doom album...

Review by: Nauthiz

As I write this, I'm sailing through "The Mantle" for yet another time. I listened to this LP countless times and I will continue to do so for many more times, that's for sure. Is this enough to tell you that it's a music worth buying? It wouldn't be enough for me. So I'll go ahead and continue to explain exactly why it is.

"Pale Folklore" was ok. I liked it especially for the wonderfull "She Painted Fire Across The Skyline". But this album really tops everything. It's a real masterpiece of guitar instrumentals.

For me, Agalloch is the absolute best Metal band ever in terms of guitar and traditional instruments. Agalloch really learned to do an excellent composition without using modern synths or keyboards. They used all sorts of innovations in Metal which you can hear all the way during "The Mantle".

Last but not least, this album is a masterpiece because it actually has a melody which is an amazingly almost 15 minutes long and it doesn't bore you. These guys are really good in composition and this is a well structured and well built album.

Moody and depressing at times, inspiring at other times, but yet always in the same tone and spirit. A record with a rare unity and quality.

10 out of 10 for "The Mantle" and I hope that Agalloch will continue their career, 'cause they make some really excellent music, I assure you.

Review by: theaxonn

While released in the shadow of Agalloch's masterpiece, "Pale Folklore," "The Mantle" still holds its own. "The Mantle" is a beautifully crafted album, and is by far one of the best albums you can buy. 'A Celebration..' is a harbinger of what is to come; 68 minutes of melancholic, brilliant music. With songs like 'Odal' and 'The Hawthorne Passage,' Agalloch breaks the bindings that normally limit a metal band's creativity; these songs can be compared to bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt. Zion. While this album revolutionizes Agalloch's sound, "Pale Folklore" is echoed in 'I am the Wooden Doors,' and the epic 'You Were But a Ghost in My Arms.' The real conclusion of this album is '...And the Great Cold Death of the Earth'; 'A Desolation Song' is more of a bonus track, and an amazing one at that. Agalloch is by far one of the most creative and most talented bands around today. 10/10

Review by: nathanielatr

Being the first Agalloch album I listened to in full, I may be a little bias as to my preference for this album. Lets just say that this could be the type of album that you could use to get your girlfriend into Black Metal. I sinks you into the mood right away and has a guitar sound unlike anything I've ever heard. Many of the tracks on this album would almost be suitable for radio use if it wasn't for their extremely dark, depressing and non-conforming song structures. I get a real natural, outdoors type feeling on this album which makes it really good to listen to by a campfire - or anywhere out in the wilderness really. One song even has a drum sounds which is actually the sound of a drum stick hitting a caribou antler, giving a really hollow, eerie feeling. The last song on this album is the most depressing (lyrically especially) folk song I've ever heard. Makes your blood flow. Masterpiece 10/10

Review by: shanewick

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