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The Musical Equivalent of Waiting in Line - 15%

LordOfTerror, April 3rd, 2009

I generally enjoy atmospheric music, but there's a difference between creating a calming atmosphere and just idly plucking at instruments and halfheartedly singing a few lines of music. Apparently, Agalloch have not have learned this lesson, because The Mantle is a boring, half-assed attempt at "atmospheric" metal. This album has the atmosphere and passion of a high school math class-that of indifference and routine. The band went through the motions of writing an album, but forgot to inject personality, passion, atmosphere, or anything of note whatsoever.

The excitement starts off with A Celebration for the Death of Man, which is a pretty standard album intro. It moves from there to the overlong In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion, which is 15 minutes of my life I'd like back. The drums keep a steady, generic beat, while arpeggios are plucked on an acoustic guitar with power chords being strummed on the electric. There's a solo towards the end of the song, which sounds like something out of a guitar exercise book. This song never goes anywhere, it kind of just sits there. Yawn. It's barely metal. Metal should have some power behind it! Even other atmospheric metal bands, such as Burzum, have some fucking energy, some passion, SOMETHING to make their music more interesting than paint drying.

Things pick up a little bit with the fourth track, I Am the Wooden Doors. It's actually, truly metal, black metal no less, with tremolo picking and all. Who would think that this band has the energy for that! Don't get too excited, though, it's basically castrated black metal. No anger, hate, passion, or emotion of any sort is evident on this track, just like the rest of the album. This is, sadly, the closest to a standout track this album has.

The rest is pretty much the same as A Celebration for the Death of Man. Grey, soulless half-metal. This album is the perfect sound track for filing a tax report, clipping your toenails, or mopping the floor. Anyone who likes this should consider a career in accounting - if this is interesting music to you, accounting will be like skydiving without a parachute while injecting pure adrenaline into your eyeballs. For the rest of us, this album will make suicide seem like a desirable act - at least you when commit suicide, something HAPPENS. Unlike The Mantle.