Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ü2K6: A Darkness From Which You Will Never Recover

I love winter. It's so cold, so clean, so beautiful. Snow makes me happy. It's also the most desolate of the seasons, minimalist in the blanket that covers everything.

I share this love with a lot of metal bands. For them, winter is about death, dying, frost, the windswept heights of darkness. Bands like Agalloch.

7. Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain

I lied. Way back at #13, I said Celtic Frost's Monotheist was the most depressing album of the year. Ashes Against The Grain proves me wrong.

While Monotheist was a caustic, virulent depression, Against The Grain is deep, gray, and enveloping. The first time I listened to it was while I walked home one day, under a gray sky, out in nature. By the time I had reached home, I couldn't even raise my head: what was the point? No one would remember my actions, any record would be lost in the ruins of time. One dose of #5 later, I was finally a bit happier: enough to do stuff at least.

Agalloch play doom metal with a lot of black and folk elements, from the vocalist's rasping screech to acoustic guitars ("Fire Above, Ice Below"). Indie fans coming to this are best recommended to approach it like you would a post-rock album (for example, the new Isis). Metalheads, take note: this is long, drawn-out stuff, full of haunting melody and overall feeling. Excepting certain drum and guitar-heavy sections ("Fire Above, Ice Below", "Not Unlike The Waves") there's little to headbang to, but there is lots of desolation, despair, and destruction.

In a banner year for doom, this is one of the most melancholy, the most fugue-like, the bleakest. The best, in other words.

Buy it here.

Tomorrow: We go on break for a day, as #6 is Isis' In The Absence Of Truth. Return on Thursday for something happy, happy, happy!


Roland said...

Thanks for the post. It looks like Brandon Stosuy agrees with you. Is it snowing up there already?

Chris (CPAOI) said...

Agalloch is absolutely amazing. It's refreshing to see a band like this receiving so much (deserved) attention.

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