Review : Agalloch Faustian - Echoes EP
PitchforkFor most bands, writing and recording a 21-minute track that constitutes an entire EP would mean exploring and fostering new elements of their sound. From transitions and dynamics to concepts and stamina, such a long expanse makes different demands than several three- or four-minute songs, even if they're strung together into a much longer record. A tune that becomes a trek must be cohesive but not complacent, or built on a small set of ideas that can stay compelling without petrifying into boredom. But Portland's Agalloch aren't strangers to the epic or ambitious. For the last decade, they've crafted album after album of seamless grandiosity, surrounding hard-edged black-metal bursts with meditative rests and triumphant rises. Though its 65 minutes came split across six tracks, the band's last release, 2010's glorious Marrow of the Spirit, was an album in the most unified sense, where each track seemed to bleed into the next and in which repeated sounds and thoughts blotted the entire experience.
While "Faustian Echoes", the lone monstrosity on the new EP of the same name, is in fact the longest song Agalloch have ever released, neither its flow nor its shape are foreign to the band's longtime listeners. Based upon Goethe's tale of the mythical scholar who trades his religious servitude for the possibility of transcendence and impossible knowledge, Faustian Echoes keys upon a series of dramatic readings from the text and excerpts occasionally howled by frontman John Haughm. The band lurches in and swells slowly, a theatric exchange between Faust and his literary tempter, Mephistopheles, cutting over a din of electronics and electric guitar. Within the first eight minutes, there is, in sequence, a systems-go blitz, a down-tempo shift, a forlorn drift, a determined build, and a horns-up solo that goads Agalloch back into another blackened onslaught. That's the gist of Faustian Echoes, which ebbs and cascades in prototypical Agalloch fashion; indeed, aside from the lack of track breaks and the addition of tawdry readings, this EP feels only like an addition to the band's catalog, not at all an extension of it....full text
AllmediareviewsSo this new EP is what they are supporting on this tour, not surprising. What is kind of annoying though is in order to get a copy, you actually have to attend one of these shows, lol. THANKS!
It does say hard copies will be made available in the mail after the tour, which is the 2nd week of August. Hopefully SOON after, assuming the EP will be worth purchasing.
I wouldn't be all that upset about that fact, but the fact The White EP is now out of print (hopefully there will be enough demand soon for it to get reprinted), and the lame fact the promoters in Minnesota had their heads up their ass's by not finding a way to bring them here, and thus, they end up playing a show in the middle of bumfucknowhere/Omaha, Nebraska.
that being said, along with The White, 2010's Marrow of the Spirit is another recent favorite of mine and others, I can only expect something cool with this EP.
Hopefully the usual artwork and location to find it should be included hopefully sooner rather than later....full text
SputnikmusicFrom an arguably divided fanbase, it's not hard to see why some people meet Faustian Echoes with equal measures of anticipation and apprehension. Their last album released a year and a half ago, Marrow of the Spirit, had many fans completely polarized. Some adored it to the point where it totally overshadowed the rest of their discography, others claimed it to be a total abomination in comparison to the albums we've grown so accustom to. Some were just bored by it, completely underwhelmed. From my point of view, the quality of Agalloch's music has never wavered. Stylistically they offer something very different every time, and this is a very good thing. For a band with such a mutual creative talent, it's a lot better for them to just continue forging their own path and not pay attention to what people want or expect. Faustian Echoes proves they do just that, by offering what could be seen as their most surprising work yet. Many thought that the next offering from them would be a re-creation of what was on Marrow of the Spirit, or a continuation of that particular direction. Some thought they'd go back to their classic style (not that they ever deviated too far from that) on the highly-revered albums from their past. Marrow of the Spirit, for many, stylistically went against all expectations. Faustian Echoes continues that trend.
So what is Faustian Echoes, exactly? It's worth starting off with the fact that it is very distinct that this is an Agalloch track, that fact is doubtless - but it's a far cry from their last album or any album before it. The misty, cold atmospherics of their past albums are all but gone from this EP. It's worth noting that I 100% doubt that is a permanent direction, the band have stated many times before that their EP's are their "experiments" and every past EP they've put out has barely been an indication to the style of their later work. The acoustics are pushed even further back, which is an even bigger surprise due to the acoustics being subdued on the last album being a surprise to many. The instrumentation remaining, for the most part, is mostly comprised of everything that you would expect in black metal. This is undoubtedly the closest that Agalloch have ever got to being a black metal band, a good portion of this album being blastbeat-oriented. This might concern you if tracks like "Into the Painted Grey" on the last album didn't rub you in the right way, but it's definitely worth mentioning that it's a lot tighter here. Faustian Echoes was recorded live in one take, and with how this has been pulled off there's no doubting that Agalloch are more dynamic than ever. Coupled with the production being a lot tighter (apart from the odd audio cutouts here and there, but they're not too distracting), Agalloch sounds much more like a dynamic and fluid band than what their last album displayed....full text
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