Countdown to MDF X: (54) Agalloch

If the Decemberists were a metal band, they might a little sound like Agalloch. In terms of musical genres, one could argue that Agalloch does not really belong at the Maryland Deathfest. The reason I say they don’t really belong there should become evident when you hear them. It really is not death metal and could only be loosely described as black metal. But what is it?

What it is, is a lush and verdant soundscape flowing from the dripping wet rainforests of the Tillamook or pouring from the mossy banks of the Columbia River. Only John Haughm’s occasional shrill  and sometimes growling vocals– icy as the Cascade Mountains–gives Agalloch away as something like black metal. Pagan rock, neofolk or ambient would also be appropriate descriptors.

This is not to say that you should skip Agalloch’s set Thursday, May 24! On the contrary! This band, founded in 1995 in Portland, Oregon rarely tours the US so you should not miss this chance to see them. Their music is complex and their live performance engaging. Other members include Don Anderson (guitar), Jason William Walton (bass) and Aesop Dekker (drums). The group is capable of bringing the black metal and they will not disappoint.

It’s hard to say what songs Agalloch might play at MDF X. Their most recent release is a compilation called “Whitedivisiongrey.” Some personal favorite songs from their 2002 album The Mantle, such as “Not Unlike Waves” or “In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion,” would be nice to hear live.  The 2010 full-length album Marrow of the Spirit is the some of the closest sounding to traditional black metal that I think Agalloch has ever done.  Here are a couple songs to consider. I think Agalloch will provide a nice break from some of the more brutal offerings on Thursday.

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