9 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Agalloch's claim to the throne of modern black metal supremacy is pretty much undisputable. Since 1995, the Portland quartet have been one of the genre's foremost innovators, merging coal-dark riffs and ferociously chugging tempos with a sylvan neo-folk aesthetic for a sound all their own. Following up 2010's critically acclaimed Marrow of the Spirit, the band return with The Serpent & the Sphere, a monolithic slab of heaviness full of ethereal segues into foreboding folk. Featuring classical guitarist Nathanaël Larochette (Musk Ox), the album includes three acoustic interludes that provide a respite from the otherwise pummeling material, like the blast-beats and Cookie Monster vocals of "The Astral Dialogue" and the stratospheric shredding on the 12-minute exploration "Plateau of the Ages." When Agalloch play the game of (metal) thrones, they play to win.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Agalloch's claim to the throne of modern black metal supremacy is pretty much undisputable. Since 1995, the Portland quartet have been one of the genre's foremost innovators, merging coal-dark riffs and ferociously chugging tempos with a sylvan neo-folk aesthetic for a sound all their own. Following up 2010's critically acclaimed Marrow of the Spirit, the band return with The Serpent & the Sphere, a monolithic slab of heaviness full of ethereal segues into foreboding folk. Featuring classical guitarist Nathanaël Larochette (Musk Ox), the album includes three acoustic interludes that provide a respite from the otherwise pummeling material, like the blast-beats and Cookie Monster vocals of "The Astral Dialogue" and the stratospheric shredding on the 12-minute exploration "Plateau of the Ages." When Agalloch play the game of (metal) thrones, they play to win.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
49 Ratings
49 Ratings
Metal Scribe ,

On par with European black metal

Agalloch are second to none. Marrow of the Spirit was the best metal album of 2010, and The Serpent & the Sphere takes them to even greater heights.

an American Viking ,

Masters of atmosphere...

Agalloch proves time and time again that they are the masters of atmosphere. I got into them with The Mantle which is a great album, but in my opinion the last two albums were even better. I'm not sure which album I prefer, The Serpent & The Sphere or Marrow of the Spirit. Marrow has maybe a little more "power" and emotion to it in some songs, but I felt that the atmosphere in Serpent is perhaps a little stronger. They are both amazing albums in which to get lost in solitary activities such as hiking in the mountains or forests. When I first downloaded Serpent to my iPod, I took off on a 35-mile mountain bike ride deep into the mountains behind my house. It had been raining for 4 days straight and the woods were foggy, damp, and isolated. There were times where I wasn't sure whether the sounds I was hearing were coming through my earbuds or from nature itself. The album was so perfect for that day, I'll never forget it.

These guys are amazing live as well. I was lucky enough to see them in a tiny bar in my hometown -- found out just beforehand that the singer and bass player are actually from here. Buy this album and see them live -- you will not be disappointed.

Thall710 ,

Epic in a Different Way

Yeah, it's no "Marrow of the Spirit", but albums like that come around once a decade. And while their last album will always be one of my favorite albums of all time, it is exhaustive to listen to, and is really emotionally draining. "Serpent" offers a step forward, but a safe step. It offers more songs that I can listen to individually, and "Dark Matter Gods" is an amazing piece of guitar work. So, if you're looking for a completely perfect album, this probably isn't quite there, but it's close. If you love Agalloch and have listened to every EP and full-album, then this fits in nicely.

More By Agalloch

You May Also Like