“Since that day a thousand veiled birds have taken flight
And the melancholy rain still pours forever on.”
Agalloch, “The Melancholy Spirit”
It was a hot, humid summer day at my house in 2002. I was playing basketball listening to “The Mantle” while shooting hoops. There was a moment on that day, when I heard something in the album that moved me and forever changed my outlook on life. Since that moment of sudden illumination the band Agalloch have been parallel to my life and the trials and tribulations I experienced throughout the years. There was something honest, and true about their music that not only made them one of the best bands ever but also moved thousands if not millions of people across the world who were dealing with their own personal struggles. Agalloch let me know I wasn’t alone in regards to the sometimes painful moments and memories I experienced. Then I heard on Friday, May 13th 2016 that Agalloch decided to call it quits I was stunned but knew that sometimes good things have to come to an end. Now after mulling over what had happened I feel incredibly melancholic about the loss of one of the greats in the metal world. It is going to be surreal not hearing another Agalloch album or seeing them live again, they are irreplaceable.
Over the years I had a chance to talk with Don, Jason, Aesop and John numerous times. They are some of the most stand up guys I know who just live and breathe their art. I would never have been hooked into the neo-folk scene without the amazing recommendations from them. I would have not been introduced to the post rock genre without first learning from them which bands to check out. All the music that I consistently play on my long commutes, Agalloch had an influence in. When I finally graduated college I reached out to Don to learn more about working in a college-setting and years later I now work in higher education. I even decided to move on a whim to Portland, OR because their music evoked such beautiful imagery of their home state. I wanted to see what it was all about and got to experience it for over a year and I still go back when I can. In essence Agalloch have been there for me since that hot, summer day of 2002.
Now as sad as I am about not having Agalloch in the world, I am optimistic about what the future will hold with the members. They are four musicians who are incredibly talented and I am eager to see what they will come up with for future projects. Sometimes when things die it makes room for growth and renewal. What follows are new perspectives and life experiences. I am hopeful that we will hear many more amazing albums to experience as the years go by from Don Anderson, Jason Walton, Aesop Dekker and John Haughm. There is no way I can see them just disappearing from the metal world and this gives me something to be excited about for the future.
Thank you Agalloch for being there for me. For over 14 years you helped me through some of the darkest moments in my life, I am forever in your debt…
“Fall away from me to that citadel at the end of time
Where death sleeps and dreams of your buried pain
There has never been a silence like this before
There will never be an ode like this again”