review by: Tom Orgad
Each copy of Agallochís recently released 7" EP is hand numbered and signed by a member of the band. For me, it was quite a surprise, not to say a disappointment: Agallochís expression of existential pondering, abysmal mourning and natural sublimation doesnít exactly match the concept of intermingling within the world of collectorís items and music memorabilia. When one is engaged with desperately seeking a tangible essence for oneís being, a commercial rarity should be viewed as rather superfluous and insignificant.
Unfortunately, containing an alternate version of the short opening track of Agallochís latest album, The Mantle, and another instrumental recorded during the sessions of the same album, the musical contents of the record donít have much to offer in terms of legitimate artistic justification for its release. The former features no added value whatsoever to the original album version. The latter, titled "Tomorrow Will not Come," being yet another moody, melancholic extraction of the maturing Agalloch, shifting from their youthful outbursts of externalized, aggressive wintry tragic-heroic desperation to a mature phase of acoustic autumnal melancholy, is a track that could have easily been included on the full LP from 2002.
Unlike most of the bandís material, which is usually composed by Haughm, this one was composed by Anderson Ė being mostly noticable due to the dominant presence of TV/Movie samples, a well-known attribute of his own Sculptured project.
The most notable effect created by the EP is the affirmation of the classification of Agalloch as an atmospheric, conceptual band (perhaps defining a new sub-genre - AOADM - Album Oriented Acoustic Dark Metal?). Not delivering much local innovations within each of their seperated tracks, their greatness stems from their ability to intertwine enshrouding textures, brilliantly depicting a crystalized manner of world perception, and allowing the listener to share it. At their best, Agalloch even forces the listener to be carried away by it.
When one has only two, relatively short instrumental tracks to absorb, the effect and capibility of such emotional assimilation is much lessened. The listener, not being able to become fully absorbed within the excruciated, contemplative world of Agalloch, may merely commit an external valuation of concrete compositions, which, again, are not the greatest merit of the band.
Therefore, Agallochís music is to be consecutively experienced and gradually submerged in, never distantly viewed in non-cohesive snippets, an ideal obviously impossible to be achieved within the limitation of the 7 "EP medium, rendering this release, even if not musically flawed, rather insipid nevertheless, somehow needlessly lotting the bandís name .
Well, at least, should I fall into Nihil, I will at least have a hand numbered, signed, exclusive item to accompany me on the way. (5/10)