Agalloch is an American four-piece progressive folk-metal band from Portland, Oregon. Led by guitarist and vocalist John Haughm, the original lineup was formed in 1995 and today is comprised of guitarists and vocalists Stephen Parker and Don Anderson, bassist Jason William Walton, and drummer Aesop Dekker.
Revered for their introspective lyricism and approach to creating music, Agalloch created a unique hybrid of sludgy metal, frantic post-rock and melancholic folk music, combining pagan and naturalist imagery. From their formation, Agalloch have drawn critical acclaim for the well-crafted evolutionary nature of their music, providing listeners an immersive experience from listener-friendly minimalism to cascading walls of sound.
Agalloch released their debut album, Pale Folklore, in 1999. Composed of a mix of both new and previously released material, it hinged on mysticism and poignant exploration of nature, offering its unique form of doom metal. The singles â€œHallways of Enchantmentâ€ and â€œIn The Shadow of Our Pale Companionâ€ found listeners enraptured with the blend of crushing riffing married with flowing, ghostly folk passages.
Following its release, the band quickly grew to find a dedicated following amidst both underground metal and progressive music scenes. Music not only musical influences of both genres, found on their sophomore release, The Mantle, were carefully appointed from multitudes of film composers, folk legends and atmospheric metalinsurgents. Detailed further with complex multilayer arrangements and gorgeous orchestration, this album solidified the band as one of most prolific projects to grace both the metal and progressive scenes.
The album showcased the develop the refinement of Agallochâ€™s unique arrangements that are sufficiently dark and dramatic, often leading to moments of intense transcendence and wonder. Imagine a fully apocalyptic post-metal landscape thatâ€™s complex cello/violin symphonies and sleek riffs equally capable of emitting crushing monolithic sludge and delicate cinematic passages.
Another hallmark of Agalloch that made their influence so widespread was their exploration of folklore and naturalist Celtic mythology. Inspired by the work of authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, Agalloch was unafraid to incorporate Pagan themes and esoteric connotations of their older works with a sole reason to broaden oneâ€™s understanding of nature and life. Found through subtle nuances, their most accomplished exercise of this approach was on Ashes Against The Grain. Unveiling to adventurous fans expansive musical structures and reminiscent acoustic passages, the band continued onward to push into boundary-defying realms.
Along their expansive career, Agalloch experimented with extended jams, spoken-word tales, and classical instrumentation but always remaining true to their own identity. Their collective experience shines fully in their later releases where the band provided a somewhat follow-up to the longer, slower and dirtier passages fans grew accustomed to.
Agalloch achieved critical success from all over the world, touring throughout North America and Europe and earning esteemed accolades from metal and rock press along the way. The bandâ€™s legacy as both an iconic and important project is found in their enormous impact of their music on future progressive and experimental metal bands and in how Agalloch continue to capture the amazing otherworldly mysticism that many aspiring acts try to create and learn from.
In 2016, Agalloch t have disbanded and retired from performing music, putting an end to their iconic career. Nonetheless, listeners and fans of the band continue to relish the enchanting and powerful memories from an experimental project with innovative and frenzied appreciation from the underground. Ultimately, Agalloch will undoubtedly remain imprinted in the memories of millions of devoted fans in both the metal and rock world and their past achievements while embarking on an own path of musical exploration will forever remain essential.