Agalloch – The White (Vendlus Records)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Limited to only 2,000 copies, The White is an EP featuring various ditties Agalloch has recorded the past three years. ‘Tis a cool thing because their latest few length, Ashes Against The Grain one was one 2006’s shining moments, a picture-perfect collage of atmospheric dark metal, augmented by Agalloch’s penchant for dreary and horrid acoustic guitar work and leader John Haughm’s attention to detail. One would have to be remiss to say Agalloch could do no wrong and The White is a justification of that claim.

Relying mostly on those gorgeous acoustic guitars (lots of strumming, dark chords), The White starts off with the strains of children singing on a playground, only to segue into one of their somber acoustic intros. No vocals, just a lot of groundwork laid with delicate hands. The brief, but harmonious “Birch Black” would be a wonderful interlude on an Agalloch full-length, while “Birch White” introduces some of Haughm’s morose vocals; the only song to feature any type of vocal work. “Sowilo Rune” is a marvelous keep-sake of ambient folk, as is closer “Summerisle Reprise.”

Now having the benefit of a major cult following in the underground, Agalloch can do whatever it pleases. This is not the first EP for this Northwestern US crew, staying with the trend of keeping their name out there before the next full-length monster arrives. When that time comes, no one will know (Haughm is a notorious recluse), but be sure that it will embark on a journey through the darkened enclaves of Haughm’s mind that will easily outdo a lot of folk and atmospheric metal coming from Europe and the States.

The White is an absolute gem, thus furthering the notion that Agalloch are the undisputed masters of dark metal.

http://www.myspace.com/agalloch/

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)