FEAR, EMPTINESS, DECIBEL: AGALLOCH’S THE MANTLE ENTERS THE HALL OF FAME
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
It’s easy to imagine somebody who’s never been to Portland detesting it. While I was one-and-done within the first five minutes of the first Portlandia (these types of people are to be laughed at, mercilessly, not gently ribbed), the rest of the world—as usual—disagreed, and now a wonderfully hedonistic metropolis with laudable access to hard drugs and public nudity has been crystallized as an aggressively quirky, twee diorama. Barf.
The cool thing about Agalloch is that they clearly don’t give a shit about my version of Rip City or Portlandia’s. Their 2002 folk/post-metal/etc. breakthrough The Mantle is the latest inductee to Decibel’s Hall of Fame, and it was forged by three guys who simultaneously embraced their surroundings, yet disappeared inside of them. No “scene” influenced what Jason William Walton, Don Anderson and John Haughm were creating a decade ago—while they were taken by Portland’s balance between the “urban and natural worlds,” indicative in multiple downtown animal statues, the band plugged away on The Mantle in anonymity, channeling their infatuation with Swans, Laibach, Death in June, Nick Cave, Bathory and more into something truly unique.
No-bullshit, totally committed dudes making art that wound up being pretty influential to wide swaths of our hateful little extreme universe. Pretty commendable. Read all about it, and if extended periods of acoustic strumming don’t get your hate-boner popping, there’s still Pig Destroyer on the cover, a Deceased flexi disc, and a Brujeria oral history.