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The Serpent & The Sphere

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The Serpent & The Sphere
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Genre: Atmospheric, Dark, Folk
1. Birth And Death Of The Pillars Of Creation
2. (Serpens Caput)
3. The Astral Dialogue
4. Dark Matter Gods
6. Cor Serpentis (The Sphere)
7. Vales Beyond Dimension
8. Plateau Of The Ages
9. (Serpens Cauda)

Review by Adam M on July 28, 2014.

The band Agalloch has returned to their roots with The Serpent and the Sphere and I for one couldn't be happier. The more morose and somber passages of the early material are focused upon more than the black metal direction of Marrow of the Spirit of which I wasn’t a big fan.

The atmosphere of the music is very folky and calm, but there are some more heavy moments from time to time as well. Getting lost in a maze of atmospherics is possible for long portions of this disc. The overall vibe is quite similar to Pale Folklore and though this album doesn't surpass that, a return to this style is highly appreciated. There are a few highlights to be found such as Plateau of the Ages and Dark Matter Gods, songs that are both epic and varied. Some people will be frustrated with the lack of new ideas and improvements upon previous material, so hopefully the next album by this band takes an interesting new direction. A great collection of Agalloch songs that culminates into a fluid album is a positive aspect to this band, as they are able to make things flow seamlessly on the whole.

The Serpent and the Sphere is an improvement from Marrow of the Spirit and well-constructed. Unfortunately, many people are going to simply compare it to the band's early material and overlook the quality found within. I'm interested to see how the upcoming Primordial album compares to this material, but for now this is a satisfying release that shows many of Agalloch's strongest aspects shine through.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10