Label: Eisenwald Tonschmiede
Who would have thought that I would be writing about Agalloch? Well, what can I say? When I heard the news of the re-releases of “The White EP” and “The Grey EP”, I had the feels. It was quite painful and disappointing to hear and process the news of Agalloch disbanding in 2016 but these remastered re-issues in this Yule season warmed my heart a bit. Surprisingly, I haven’t listened to these ones before (partially due to the fact that I joined in on the Agalloch fandom way late…) so discovering these re-releases was… quite interesting and magical.
First things first, “The White EP” and “The Grey EP” should be considered as a whole with two parts completing each other. There is a certain contrast between the two, as “The White EP”, originally released in 2008, is mostly acoustic and calm consisting of dark folk & ambient songs. On the other hand, “The Grey EP”, originally released in 2004, comprises a faster vibe, and some other highlights including the ‘ruins’ of “The Mantle”, the original artwork and an exclusive bonus track recorded in 2003, which has never been released before. Both releases are magical in their own ways with “The White EP” stealing the spotlight a bit more for me personally; the overall atmosphere in this one is mostly acoustic, folk-y and at times, and instrumental. There is definitely a certain simplicity and beauty of it. At times it is ethereal and will take you to outer space with “Hallow Stone” and other times, you will feel connected to the nature with songs like “Birch Black”, “Sowilo Rune” and “Pantheist”. The atmosphere adds many layers and highlights to this sound, not to mention the basic theme revolving around the 1973 classic horror movie The Wicker.
The counterpart, “The Grey EP”, contains three songs – all unique and quite experimental in their own ways- , with a bonus track “Shadowdub”, which is quite unusual when we think about the classic Agalloch sound but I won’t spoiler the listener more here. I have to admit that I didn’t connect that well with this one but considering the highlights and gems it contains, this counterpart can be thought of more as a ‘collector’s gem’ and will surely have a different meaning for the fans of “The Mantle” as well as the ones who are into the experimental side of Agalloch.
Agalloch fans and collectors as well as the ‘new’ fans… Get these re-issues to reminisce the old times and feel the nostalgia in this season or to basically understand the general Agalloch concept. Definitely recommended for everyone and reminds me again and again why Agalloch will always have a special place in my heart. RIP.
Tracklist THE WHITE EP
01. The Isle of Summer
02. Birch Black
03. Hollow Stone
05. Birch White
06. Sowilo Rune
07. Summerisle – Reprise
08. Where Shade Once Was (Bonustrack)
Tracklist THE GREY EP
01. The Lodge (Dismantled)
02. Odal (Nothing Remix)
03. ShadowDub (How Beautiful is a Funeral) (Bonus Track)