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True Collaboration Between Two Unique Bands - 96%

Thumbman, July 25th, 2012

Your average split is usually nothing more than two bands putting songs on the same record. Often, the bands will have two very different vibes and this can sometimes make the split come off as not a cohesive listening experience. Not only is this a split where both band's sounds go together, it is a split where both bands are collaborating and giving the other band a helping hand. For this nature-inspired release, Agalloch provides both vocals and acoustic guitars for Nest's song. The artwork on the picture disk and postcards are done by a member of Nest. More than a split, this is a true collaboration.

The first side of the split is Agalloch's "The Wolves of Timberline". This release is the third and final small release for Agalloch that was put out between 2002's The Mantle and 2006's Ashes Against The Grain. This song has the nature inspired acoustic vibe of The Mantle as well as the winter atmosphere Ashes Against The Grain. The two previous releases between the two albums were not as well received as this split. The first of these two EPs was Tomorrow Will Never Come. Wile the guitar work was beautiful and the samples were very interesting on the title track, it was the other song that got this release a lot of negative press. It was called "The Death of Man (Version III)". It was a pointless third version of a song that was already captured well in two different contexts. The Grey was not well received due to its over-long songs and strange, abstract experimentation. The Grey showed a side of Agalloch that does not often rear its head (it would show again in the final song of Ashes Against The Grain.) Unlike the Grey, "Wolves of Timberline" has that classic Agalloch sound. While not sounding like a derivative of older material, it captures the essence of who Agalloch are. Agalloch are one of those bands who often experiment with different genres, but be it a metal or a folk song, they always had a unique aura around them distinct to the band.

This song is one of those tracks that evoke strong imagery. While listening, I can't help but picture heavy snowfall in a carnivorous forest during the dark cover of night. This is atmospheric acoustic guitar at its best. Simple, but not overly so, this draws you into a peaceful state of mind. Possessing a rustic feel, this would be perfect for hiking to in a snow covered forest or simply watching the snowfall while sitting by a fire in a wooden cabin. This type of folky instrumental has always been a part of Agalloch's sound, and was especially prominent in The Mantle. This may remind some of "A Desolation Song" or "The Lodge", and especially "Haunting Birds" off their EP Of Stone, Wind and Pillor. This is a sound that was further explored in the only EP released between the band's third and fourth albums, The White. The EP completely eschews metal in favor of folk and a bit of ambient.

Nest's song is a collaboration with Agalloch. The most prominent aspect of Agalloch's contributions is John Haughm's vocals. The vast majority of his vocals are a croaky near-whisper. The diversity of the instruments is one of the largest factors contributing to this song's success. Part of what makes Nest such an interesting band is the inclusion of traditional Finnish plucked string instrument Kantele. A didgeridoo lumbers in the background, setting the atmosphere for the whole track. The acoustic guitar solo is wondrous and majestic. This track is different from the majority of Nest tunes as in it has a strong songwriter vibe. While still very atmospheric, most Nest songs are long-winded, do not feature vocals high in the mix and have a very abstract songwriting approach. It is interesting to see Nest in a different setting, which they adapt to flawlessly. Nest member Alsak Tolonen who handles the artwork, has created the enchanting images for both band's sides. Agalloch's side of the picture disk features a rustic winter scene and Nest's side, also orientated around nature, has a wonderful and bizarre atmosphere about it.

Music needs more splits like these. Instead of two bands putting in their separate input, this is true collaboration. This is about as far as you can go without it being like Sunn O))) and Boris on Altar where the album was basically recorded as one band. This split has a cohesive sound throughout, and the songs feel like they truly belong together. They both capture the essence of the wilderness. This shows how well two unique bands working together can end up when they both share a common vision. The picture disk is absolutely beautiful, so it would be advisable to jump at any opportunity to own this.

Originally Posted At:

Short, simple, and beautiful - 93%

linkavitch, August 21st, 2009

Two atmospheric tracks and some beautiful artwork are all there is to this split between Agalloch and Nest. Both tracks bring out that forest feel to them, and they both try to bring you into a trance during it too.

The Agalloch song for this split is an acoustic track titled “The Wolves of Timberline”. With the lack of vocals are drums this instrumental is entirely done with acoustic guitars. It’s a pretty basic song, one guitar plays a slow riff for the entire song, and another plays a few melodies on top of that. The song has a nice mellow atmosphere throughout, almost like a trance. Really it’s just a nice simple song for casual listening.

The Nest contribute is definitely my favorite of the two tracks on this split. The vocals are done by John Haughm and basically they’re just spoken in a low voice. There’s kind of this dead vibe going through his voice which fits nicely with the atmosphere of the song. The song has a very calm yet depressing atmosphere, with the slow drum beats and the kantele for the calming part, and the slow dead-like vocals by Haughm to add a bit of depression into the mix. The didgeridoo is the main reason how “Last Vestige of Old Joy” stands out from “The Wolves of Timberline”. Played throughout the entire track the didgeridoo creates a low drone for the background atmosphere. The kantele is the main focal point of the song but the drum beats, bass, and didgeridoo are all droning in the background for some atmosphere.

The two songs fit nicely and flow perfectly together to make this split worth owning. The hand drawn artwork for each postcard doesn’t really fit the music, but they’re both beautiful drawings. The Agalloch drawing is a calm winter night at the lake, while the Nest one is a dark forest. Anyways, fans of either band should definitely look for this or anyone who’s into acoustic atmospheric music.

Great EP, needs to be longer. - 98%

Brutalicon, January 2nd, 2009

This split release really shows what both of these bands can do, these 2 tracks are very mellow, but truly amazing atmospheric pieces. Nothing short of amazing. My only real complaint here is that why release a 10” for one song per band? It should have some more material. Make it a 12” release dammit…….

The Agalloch side showcases their amazing talent for acoustic songwriting. After hearing this I definitely want to hear more of their songs in this style. The recording is done well and vinyl was a perfect format for reflecting the great tone their contribution has. This would be on a playlist for sitting in a shack in the middle of a blizzard. Lots of feeling, something a lot of bands seems to lack.

The Nest, from what I understand, has members of Agalloch in their ranks. I would say this is the lesser of the 2 tracks presented here, but still there is quality with this piece. “Last Vestige of Old Joy” seems very minimalist and I am not sure if this represents The Nest’s sound as I have only ever heard this release. Again, the tone and feeling are captured very well on vinyl, but the vocals almost remind me of chanting monks in a way, and it kind of keeps you are arm’s length, but it seems to be the point.

Fans should check this release out if they get a chance as it is pricy on eBay these days, but worth it in my opinion. The artwork fits the in the in the middle of the forest feel the one might come away with after hearing this release.

How splits should be done - 95%

YggdrasilAblaze, March 21st, 2007

This 10" Agalloch/Nest split picture disc comes with two postcards that relate to the two songs by each band. Limited to 1000 hand-numbered copies and only available on this format. "Last Vestige of Old Joy" is available on the special limited edition of Nest's "Trail of the Unwary". "The Wolves of Timberline" has only been released on this split.

"The Wolves of Timberline" is Agalloch's acoustic contribution. The instrumental piece has a lot of beauty and has a nice tone. Guitars here are well placed and flow together nicely; excellent instrumentation throughout. The song can get repetitive at times so there could be more variety.

Agalloch's own John Haughm does guest vocals on Nest's track "Last Vestige of Old Joy". Vocals are all clean using two different styles. One of them is spoken and kinda gives a cold feel, yet retains the warmness of the song. Agalloch fans will recognize both styles. The kantele playing is a nice addition, adds a good folky sound to it.

The two postcards each feature the art on the picture disc. On the opposite side some info is given and the names of each work is given. Both are down by Nest's own A. Tolonen in colored pencils, he has also done art for Agalloch and his own Nest. The work is fantastic and well done, fits well with the music.

Both songs flow and fit well together like a split should. This is a wonderful piece of work, very beautiful and warm. Those who are fans of either band will enjoy this one, and even those who aren't. I highly recommend giving this one a listen, you won't regret it.