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Full Album (err, EP) Stream: Faustian Echoes by Agalloch

Ever since I laid my ears on the masterpiece The Mantle by North American black metal band Agalloch they thrust themselves into the top echelon of my favorite bands.  Their ability to get such deep feelings of nature and the Earth into their music is pure bliss to my ears.  While many of their lyrics deal with melancholy, sorrow, and loss there is a feel to the music that radiates with beauty, hope, and love creating a wonderful balance of emotions.

They have just released a new E.P. and made it available for all to hear.  Faustian Echoes takes inspiration from the literary masterwork, Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and features some of the heaviest and darkest music Agalloch has written to date.  Recorded as a single track passing the 20 minute mark there is a lot to absorb and listen to in this E.P.  I really enjoy the voice-overs reading sections ofFaust in between the different suites of the tune.  They really add to the narrative of the tune and give it a darker and more intense feel.  But enough talk.  Crank up your radio, zone out, and escape to the world of Agalloch.  Let us know what you thought in the comments.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Monday Metal Madness: Battle of the Black (American Branch Pt. II)

Last week it looks like you have spoken and have chosen Sammy Hagar as the definitive best vocalist of Van Halen.  Good job, I couldn’t agree more, Van Halen were just so much more tighter when Hagar was at the helm.  And going back to past Battle of the Black winners, Agalloch and Enslaved both move into the finals.  Their challengers will be chosen with the next polls.

This week we will return to the growing black metal scene in the United States aw we take a trip to NYC as Krallice and Liturgy go head to head for the chance to compete for the best USBM band and ultimately best current black metal.

Krallice take focus on the progressive elements found in black metal while adding tinges of post-metal build ups.  While pushing the genre forward with cleaner production and outside elements, Krallice have a feel closer to black metal roots when compared to many other USBM bands as their music can feel like a throwback to pioneering black metal bands such as Ulver and Gorgoroth.

Liturgy also take progressive and post-metal qualities and infuse them into their music, but when compared to their challenger they exude a more upbeat energy while maintaining the same transcendental feel.  While they often stay true with some black metal roots such as discordance and chaos, I like how they inject a good deal of melody into the music.  Their second album, Aesthethica, released in 2011 was taken in with great praise even finding its way into Spin Magazines best albums of 2011 list.

Monday Metal Madness – Battle of the Black (American Branch Pt. I)

Looks like Within Temptation eked out Delain by one vote last week in the Dutch Symphonic Metal poll.  Congrats to them!!!

This week and my turn on alternating Mondays lets take a look at the modern Black Metal scene.  I will be pitting 2 bands from the same region together (namely the United State or Scandinavia) and it will ultimately lead up to the final battle of who is king of the modern Black Metal scene.  Note: all the bands I choose won’t be absolutely pure and kvlt, but will certainly fall into the Black Metal category (sorry elitists), and I will be choosing songs from the bands most recent albums to keep everything modern.  And if you are a fan of a specific Black Metal band let me know down in the comments (or on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media form you prefer) and I will include them in future battles.

Over the past handful of years Black Metal bands from the United States have been making waves and, in my opinion, giving the genre a very much-needed boost of new life.  This week the battle will take place in the dark woods of Western America between Oregon’s Agalloch and Washington’s Wolves in the Throne Room.

With a heavy North American Folk music influence Agalloch have proven to be one of the best and most original Black Metal bands to come from the State in recent years.  While there is a large amount of Black Metals famous dissonance and chaos, these guys have put some control behind it and added a good amount of melody to the music.  There is also a huge focus on texture and atmosphere which can be heard in the song I selected for their battle, “Black Lake Niðstång” off of Marrow of the Spirit.

Wolves in the Throne Room, like their contemporary in this battle, also have folk music inspirations in their music as well as a heavy focus on atmosphere.  But unlike their former they revel in the chaos and dissonance much more but churn out some beautiful music just the same.  They have recently enjoyed great success with their latest album, Celestial Lineage, cracking the Billboard charts which in turn led to the whiny elitists calling them ‘hipster metal’ and ‘sell-outs’, but I concur and say that their music is deep, inspired, and they did anything far from selling out. Enjoy “Thuja Magus Imperium”.