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artist information

Agalloch

Agalloch is an American experimental dark metal band formed in 1996 in Portland, Oregon.

History

Formation

Agalloch began as the creation of John Haughm and Shane Breyer, named after the fragrant resinous wood of the Agarwood (Aquilaria agallocha). In early 1996, songs began to be produced by the duo and, during the summer, Don Anderson was added to the band to further refine the material. These songs would later become the From Which of This Oak demo tape in the autumn of that year. This recording showed a large amount of black metal influence, with an amount of material which would later appear on subsequent albums in one form or another. Shortly after the recording, Jason William Walton was added to the line up as bassist.

Pale Folklore

In 1998, the three recorded a new promotional tape solely for labels. It caught the attention of The End Records, who offered them a record contract, resulting in the Pale Folklore album. The album features less of a black metal influence than before, many totally reworked demo songs, more folk elements and neoclassical interludes. The album was met with much critical acclaim. After the recording was complete, Breyer departed from the band line up.

Of Stone, Wind and Pillor

After a period of quiet, the band released an EP of unreleased material from 1998-2001 entitled Of Stone, Wind and Pillor, revealing even more of a neoclassical and experimental element of the band and generally less distorted vocals. The EP also includes a cover of folk noir band Sol Invictus' "Kneel To The Cross" that would later be released on Sol Lucet Omnibus, French label Cynerfierrd's tribute compilation to Sol Invictus.

The Mantle

During the 2001 to early 2002 period, Agalloch recorded The Mantle, featuring sleeve art of photographs of public statues and fountains found in downtown Portland. This album featured far more of a post-rock influence throughout than previous albums, almost entirely undistorted vocals and an amount of martial music instrumentation. This album marked a change in media attention for Agalloch, landing them interviews with a few mainstream magazines.

Following the release of The Mantle, Agalloch played their first show March 6th, 2003 in Portland, Oregon. This was followed by a few shows in March and a full-scale west coast tour in May.

In 2003, Tomorrow Will Never Come was released and in 2004 The Grey were released. These EPs showcased an even more experimental side of Agalloch, featuring heavily remixed and reworked versions of songs from The Mantle as well as a new, heavily post-rock-influenced title track on Tomorrow Will Never Come. Agalloch also performed a series of shows on the American east coast in 2004, some of them in Toronto, Canada.

A nature-themed split 10" picture disc EP with the Finnish band Nest was also released in 2004, showcasing a collaborative, neofolk effort by Agalloch. The Nest track was a more electronic, percussion-heavy effort with vocals and guitar contributed by Haughm and Anderson.

2005 saw a double vinyl re-releases of The Mantle and a double vinyl re-release of Pale Folklore in a limited wooden box, complete with new artwork for both albums. It was only available to commemorate the band's single 2005 live performance at Day of the Equinox, a music festival held in Toronto on October 14, 2005.

Ashes Against the Grain

Ashes Against the Grain was released on August 8, 2006 by The End Records, featuring less focus on The Mantle's prominent acoustic guitars and instead more emphasis on electric guitars and metal elements, giving the album a different sound than their previous releases.

Influences

Agalloch's music features an intricate layering of vocal tracks and instruments (some of which are not common in traditional metal). Although Agalloch is usually filed under folk or doom metal, their music contains other regularly cited influences, such as neofolk, dark ambient, post-industrial and post-rock music. Common themes in Agalloch's imagery and subject matter are natural beauty and allusions to ancestral Heathenry.

In a 1999 interview done by Dan Tobin with Jason William Walton and John Haughm , the band members have cited other influences including Katatonia, Ulver, The 3rd and the Mortal, Swans, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

In a 2005 interview done by Barry Lee Dejasu for the magazine Modern Fix, John Haughm was quoted as suggesting Agalloch's musical sound was Dark Metal. "Sure, we have progressive and experimental elements but the root is Dark Metal." (Issue 54).

Discography

Full Lengths

CoverDate of ReleaseTitleLabel
July 6, 1999Pale FolkloreThe End Records
August 13, 2002The MantleThe End Records
August 8, 2006Ashes Against the GrainThe End Records

LPs and EPs

CoverDate of ReleaseTitleLabel
1996From Which of This OakThe End Records
2001Of Stone, Wind and PillorThe End Records
2003Tomorrow Will Never ComeThe End Records
2004The GreyVendlus Records
2004Split with NestThe End Records

Compilations

YearTitleFormat, Special Notes
2002Sol Lucet Omnibus (2002)Tribute to Sol Invictus. Agalloch contribute their cover of "Kneel to the Cross".

Other releases

YearTitleFormat, Special Notes
1998Promo 19982-song promotional cassette intended solely for labels - limited to 50 copies.
2005The Mantle2xLP vinyl rerelease in deluxe packaging.
2005Pale Folklore2xLP vinyl rerelease in deluxe packaging.

Members

Current

  • John Haughm - vocals, guitar (Sculptured, ex-Nothing, Landfill, Lotus 78, A Den of Wolves)
  • Don Anderson - guitar (Sculptured, ex-Nothing, ex-Darling)
  • Jason William Walton - bass guitar (Especially Likely Sloth, ex-Subterranean Masquerade, Sculptured, Nothing)
  • Chris Green - drums (The Waking Cold)

Former

  • Shane Breyer - Keyboards