Friday, July 30, 2010

Agalloch - The White (2008)

1. "The Isle of Summer" – 3:58
2. "Birch Black" – 2:40
3. "Hollow Stone" – 4:15
4. "Pantheist" – 7:17
5. "Birch White" – 3:44
6. "Sowilo Rune" – 5:40
7. "Summerisle Reprise" – 4:55

 Agalloch is a near flawless band. With the release of The White, a departure from their trademark folk metal fused with black metal is witnessed with astounding results. What begins with a sampling of the 1973 film The Wicker Man then spreads into an ethereal neofolk fable concerning religion, culture, children, morality, hindsight, and foresight. 

I simply cannot overstate the beauty this seven track EP possesses. Ornate soundscapes depicting Spring revived countrysides transport the listener to a realm where pagan and Christian worldviews collide. There is a naturalist splendor to this album that speaks of trees, stones and seasons like divine gifts from an immortal or immortals to living mortals. 

Although this is surely the way Agalloch, a band that wears their pagan beliefs on their sleeves, wants the listener to see this music, a person neither a pagan or a Christian, like myself, can transcend the conflicting religious doctrines and simply admire, in awe, the breathtaking musical work The White undoubtedly is.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yawning Man - Rock Formations (2006)

1. "Rock Formations" (5:21)
2. "Perpetual Oyster" (5:22)
3. "Stoney Lonesome" (6:02)
4. "Split Tooth Thunder" (2:58)
5. "Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway" (3:52)
6. "Airport Boulevard" (5:22)
7. "Advanced Darknuss" (2:33)
8. "She Scares Me" (4:09)
9. "Crater Lake" (3:37)
10. "Buffalo Chips" (4:27)

It was just over two years ago that I traveled to Hawaii in what was hopefully my first visit of many. My only regret is that I did not know of Yawning Man's 2006 album Rock Formations prior to my trip.

The layering of surfer/stoner rock sound produced on this LP envelop the listener in a visualization of the endless joy of a life lived on the beach.  Rock Formations is the soundtrack to riding teal colored waves just off a sun splashed beach.

There are no vocals on this album, just a basking of beach ambiance.  Virtually unknown outside of the stoner rock scene, Yawning Man is well worth a listen if any of this imagery irks the adventurous side inside that yearns for a weekend beach excursion or a life forever transported to the coast.