Agalloch @ Rhythm Room
Portland folk-metal conjurers Agalloch are among the best of a growing sect of earthy, naturalistic metal bands. The band's 2010 full-length marathon, Marrow of the Spirit, is an hour-long journey that intertwines black-metal caterwaul with acoustic guitar flourishes, low-end piano stabs, and sublime cello arrangements. This approach is similar to Washington terra-metal practitioners Wolves in the Throne Room, who share Agalloch's particular mode of Pacific Northwest tranquility. Though many of these acoustic additions take the fore while obvious doom-metal signifiers are heard in the mix, there are passages of Marrow of the Spirit that could be mistaken for post-rock codas or disembodied ambient environments. Of course, there are plenty of forlorn guitar leads, double-kick pummels, and vocal shrieks, but Agalloch make a unique statement within the black-metal vocabulary. The band is among several innovators on the Canadian avant-metal label Profound Lore, which also houses the dazzling structural finesse of Krallice and the forbidding sludge of Yob. Agalloch set themselves apart through delicate subversion of genre expectations: They do not fall prey to the predictable rise-fall dynamics of lesser post-rock nor the cloddish theatrics of overcooked epic metal. Hearing their barren atmospherics and structural poise raises the metal bar a whole foot closer to the forest's canopy.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.