Agalloch - _Pale Folklore_
(The End Records, 1999)
by: Brian Meloon (
This is Agalloch's debut release. Their music is a dark brand of gothic rock mixed with metallic elements. The best comparison I can make is to The Nefilim's _Zoon_. Agalloch are generally lighter, but are similar in atmosphere, their use of clean and distorted guitars, and especially the jangly, twangy clean guitar tone. Most of the music is slow and gloomy, but in a goth rock vein rather than a doom vein. However, the songs are generally quite long, and go through a variety of tempo and style changes. The band does an excellent job of building and maintaining an atmosphere. Keyboards are used tastefully, and aren't thrown in where they aren't needed. The vocals are mainly male rasped/growled vocals, with ethereal female vocals and clean male choir vocals added in a few places. The production is very good, although some of the lead guitar tones are a little weak at points, and this really hurts the effect that the band is going for. The playing is solid, though there isn't much here that is technically demanding. The guitar leads are tasteful and appropriate, focusing on melody instead of flash. Overall, this is an impressive offering. It has a maturity and confidence that one wouldn't expect from a debut album. This should please fans of heavier gothic rock and many metal fans as well.
(article published 7/7/1999)
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