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Cold Foggy Journey - 95%

grantify, March 16th, 2013

Agalloch's masterpiece.

From this album you can expect a chilly fog to arise from the atmosphere that is developed throughout the album and music that is being played. Honestly, nothing can beat the atmosphere that Agalloch designed in The Mantle. With crashing deer skulls, Viking-like banging drums, acoustic guitars, and fresh clean vocals, you'll find nothing like this album ever, so treasure it. From the point when you press start on this album, prepare to feel like you are on top of K2 looking upon a troubled, misty Earth with guitars that define a depressive mood and the drums keeping on beat to put the icing on the cake. With music, you'll usually rely on the vocals to perfect an album, but this is certainly not the case at all despite the fact that Agalloch explore all ranges on this album.

This album overall is a cold, foggy journey and you could actually feel chills from the air when you listen to this, and with a running time of about an hour and ten minutes, you'll find this first impressions TOO LONG for an album and usually drags out to the point where you get bored, but this album took this risk and absolutely crushed the idea of keeping a perfect album below 50 minutes. You do not get bored of this album. This feels like a cold, majestic movie and each song is a scene of different situations, the first being a depressive, cold, and empty Earth to the next being a glimmer of hope and haunting 'clicks' from the crushing deer skull. Fantastic is all I've got to say. With folk metal chants and hard rock/progressive riffs to complete the theme of a perfect winter is astonishing in this album. Doom metal 'thickness' of the guitars and somewhat black metal elements are even inserted in this album at times due to their influences from Pale Folkore.

After giving this album 95%, I realized that the loss of the 5% is due to the consistency of this album, for at times you'll realize Agalloch have not explored other themes and genres and the songs are similar in their own right, but it's not a big mistake as Agalloch are AMAZING at doing what they do and The Mantle can be seen as one big cold journey and not a big mess of inconsistency.

Agalloch must know themselves and that this album is not to be touched or even competed with in their future releases, however realistically they haven't created anything bad at all in their discography and The Mantle is something that you can recommend to ANYBODY that likes metal and is willing to explore further into this mysterious genre.