After hearing so many stories about the cult black metal band Agalloch, I couldn’t resist to check them out on their European tour, which ended in Den Bosch for a matinee show at the W2. Unfortunately I always have a real hard time getting to a Sunday afternoon concert, and today was no different at all, for when I arrived the Austrian opening band Mely had just finished.
Up next was Dornenreich, also an Austrian band. This band features a drummer, a guitarist that also handles vocals which feature only German lyrics and a violin player. The band plays a sort of folkish groove black metal in which the violin plays most of the key melodies. Since there is no bass present with this band, the overall sound is a bit thin. Personally I wasn’t impressed with this band at all (especially since I’m a bassist my self) and to be honest I was glad when they were finished. Not my cup of tea.
The mighty Agalloch play live very rarely, which showed in the huge amount of people present this afternoon, all dying to see these Americans play. Frontman John Haughm started the show with lighting some incense probably of the material Agalloch, which is a soft, resinous wood of highly aromatic smell, burnt by Orientals as a perfume. Entering the show with a spacey soundscape which reminded of acts like Sunn 0))), the band kicked in their set of melancholic, atmospheric, depressive yet very melodious black metal. Unfortunately the sound coming from the PA wasn’t exactly superb, for especially the bass sound was a bit fucked up. Personally I wasn’t really drawn into the majesty of this cult act, mainly because of the folk influences they portray with guitar fiddles and (not so nicely executed) clean vocals. Luckily the screams are a lot nicer to listen to, and to top it they play a lot of long instrumental passages which do achieve to get to me in a certain relaxing way. Overall I can’t say I’m a fan after seeing them live, although it is impossible to say that the rest of the audience felt the same. Especially when it’s very likely that this band won't return for a long time.