Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Agalloch - Faustian Echoes

Agalloch are undoubtedly one of the most well known blackened atmospheric metal bands of the current generation. Faustian Echoes is the fifth EP release from this Portland, Oregon based group and is based off of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s epic tale “Faust". The EP is comprised of only one title track, and is the longest single song recorded by Agalloch to date. Is "Faustian Echoes" an epic tale worthy of having an entire release dedicated to it, or is it more of the same drone found in previous EPs, The Grey and Tomorrow Will Never Come?

Genre: Atmospheric Folk/Dark Metal
Label: Dammerung Arts
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
  1. Faustian Echoes
Total Playtime: 21 minutes, 34 seconds




Rating: 10/10







Agalloch are undoubtedly one of the most well known blackened atmospheric metal bands of the current generation. Faustian Echoes is the fifth EP release from this Portland, Oregon based group and is based off of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s epic tale “Faust". The EP is comprised of only one title track, and is the longest single song recorded by Agalloch to date. Is "Faustian Echoes" an epic tale worthy of having an entire release dedicated to it, or is it more of the same drone found in previous EPs, The Grey and Tomorrow Will Never Come?

Coming in at twenty-one and a half minutes, "Faustian Echoes" is the longest singular track recorded by Agalloch. Scattered throughout the song are breaks where the instruments die away, leaving nothing but synths and occasionally acoustic picked guitars that lay under spoken fragments from the book "Faust". These areas are used to set the mood throughout the material as a sort of prelude when breaking the content down section by section. About every three to four minutes the track changes, constantly evolving and taking on different styles and composures.


As "Faustian Echoes" begins, it takes on a desloate depressive black metal atmosphere similar to what is heard on the album V: Halmstad by Swedish black metal act Shining. This is caused by the slow, diminished picking of the guitars and the underlay of spoken words by someone else other than the band. Growling vocals ensnare the entirety of the content and the raw production really gives them that creepy, surrounding reverb. At around the six minute mark, this style progresses into a more upbeat guitar solo with tribal-esque drums in the background; it is during this time where guitarists John Haughm and Don Anderson showcase their abilities to play off of each other and create an amazing, melodious back and forth experience.

This eventually slows down to a near grinding halt and once again, at about the ten minute mark, the instruments are interrupted by another voice bridge. Once this is over, everything erupts into unholy pandemonium and the listener gets their first taste of audible acceleration. Typical snare/hi-hat drumming patterns fill the background and work with frantically strummed guitars to create a hectic atmosphere much the opposite of the first ten minutes of the record.

Again, at around the thirteen minute mark this time, the composure changes yet again. The entire album has this same structured pattern and it works. Faustian Echoes in no way sounds like it is just comprised of one singular track, but rather multiple tracks roughly three minutes in length each. The idea behind this EP is genuine and unique, Agalloch have done a great job in creating meaningful, substantial material and convey the message clearly in the first must hear EP of the summer.

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  1. Going to take me awhile to get used to this one...

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