agalloch are an american metal group,yes they are metal but on listening to this album there are plenty of moments when the word metal can not be used,this is a very experimental album,an album that is diverse in sound and style,an album that is quite clearly a masterpiece.
The band twist elements of black metal with folk and much more besides,post rock is also evident here,ambient styles flood graciously throughout and the styles of singing from John Haughm range from black metal screeches to sid barrett of pink floyd style and there are many haunting styles of whisper and clean singing that he performs as well.
The album opens up with a great instrumental that sets the tone,in fact there are four instrumentals here but rather than be quick snippets the instrumentals here are songs,look no further than the 11 minute instrumenatl 'the hawthorne passage' for evidence of a song that starts off with pink floyd stylings and ends up with beatle-esque horns and trumpets soaring.
The album contains 9 tracks and none are bad,'in the shadow of our pale companion' is pure gold,clocking in at 14 minutes but never feeling like it,this is how epic should be done,opeth need to listen to this as on their last album some of their spic tracks contained dull moments,dull isnt on here.
There are certainly moments influenced by ulver and katatonia,sweeping and glorious tracks fused with dark lyrics but uplifting music,that is the order of the day here.The band agalloch are not the definition of a success story,they are hidden in the shadows but maybe if people read this and take a chance then their time could dawn,but music is a cruel business.