Monday, July 21, 2014

Concert Review: AGALLOCH and OBSIDIAN TONGUE in Minneapolis

Agalloch, Obsidian Tongue
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, MN

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Obsidian Tongue (11).

Upon arrival at the Triple Rock for this greatly anticipated show, Obsidian Tongue was wrapping up their first song and the club was packed near capacity. Obsidian Tongue is a two-piece black metal band from Massachusetts, and their guitar and drums combination packs a surprisingly strong punch. Being that their songs hover around ten minutes each, they were only able to play four songs, two from each of their albums. Their set was good, but the constant barrage of primitive, chainsaw guitar riffs and howling, screeching vocals made for difficult listening.

Click on any of the pictures to see more photos of Agalloch (32).

This was Agalloch’s first show in the area, and the place seemed abuzz with anticipation as the band took the stage to the strains of the introduction, “(Serpens Caput)”, and began the set with “The Astral Dialogue” and “Vales Beyond Dimension”. Agalloch is American black metal at its finest, and the band stayed focused on their playing while on stage and maintained little interaction with the crowd, even between songs. Half of the ten-song, nearly 100-minute set was drawn from the latest album, The Serpent & The Sphere, with the remainder a representative selection from each of the previous four albums. Slower, moodier songs such as “Limbs” and “The Melancholy Spirit” offered no respite from the intensity of the show, and the audience treated the band as welcoming heroes. The whole affair was exhausting for everyone in the room, and the band looked drained by the time the show ended with “Into The Painted Grey” from 2010’s Marrow Of The Spirit. Everyone wanted more, and the band obliged with an amazing 16-minute version of “Plateau Of The Ages” for the encore.

As a live band, Agalloch more than delivers on the promise of their recorded output, and everyone at the show seemed to feel like they had witnessed something special. Adding to the unique atmosphere of this show was the one-time availability at the bar of Serpensblod, a smoked red ale inspired by Agalloch, and brewed especially for this show by Hammerheart Brewing (yes, it’s named in honor of the Bathory album!). I snagged one pint before the tap went dry and I was blown away by the smooth intense aroma and flavors. Hammerheart has a Nordic-inspired lodge-type taproom just north of the Cities in Lino Lakes, and if Serpensblod and the Hokan’s Brown Ale I also imbibed that night are any indication, the short jaunt to the brewery would be well worth it!

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