Artist:  Agalloch
   Title: The Serpent And The Sphere
   Label: Profound Lore Records

Portlandís atmospheric folk / doom quartet Agalloch have an extensive career spanning nearly twenty years and they have produced some of the finest modern day metal music to date.  Their back catalogue is near faultless and they continue to build on their growing reputation with this latest stunning release.

What I really like about Agalloch is that they have the ability to create an atmosphere in their songs by playing the simplest of phrases and building upon short musical passages.  They have a certain aptitude with dynamics as they capture particular feelings and emotions throughout every song and this really brings the album to life.  In songs such as 'Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation', the band play on the fringes of complete chaos, only to then quickly bring the listener back down to a quiet very mellow acoustic breakdown.  This adds so much depth to the songs, but at the same it time does not stop the momentum that the album carries from start to finish. 

There are many influences ranging folk, doom, black metal with classical and subtle guitar passages along with prog rock influences.  It would be very hard to pick a favourite track as every song adds something a little bit special that really captured me.  To put it simply, there is not a bad song on this album and it is a near flawless record.  This is easily going to be one of my contenders for album of the year and 'The Serpent and the Sphere' solidifies Agalloch as one of the most important heavy metal bands to emerge in the past twenty years. 

Review by: Rob Herald


1. Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation 
2. (Serpens Caput)
3. The Astral Dialogue
4. Dark Matter Gods
5. Celestial Effigy
6. Cor Serpentis (The Sphere)
7. Vales Beyond Dimension
8. Plateau Of The Ages
9. (Serpens Cauda)



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