All Eternals Deck - The Mountain Goats
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Apr 27, 2011
    80
    The result isn't a glorious one, that's not really what The Mountain Goats do, but it is a very strong addition to an already vast canon of work.
  2. Apr 4, 2011
    80
    This self-assessment has never been more accurate: All Eternals Deck is comfort food from an unlikely kitchen.
  3. Mar 29, 2011
    70
    There's a distance between the trauma in the lyrics and the overall mood of the song, which only reinforces his albums' theme of optimism in the face of the worst circumstances. So, how does it stand up? Pretty well.
  4. 70
    Occasionally devastating, often outstanding.
  5. Apr 1, 2011
    83
    All Eternals Deck, the band's first album for North Carolina superindie Merge, effectively picks up from where the apocalyptic finale of The Life of the World To Come (2009) left off.
  6. Mar 31, 2011
    85
    Darnielle's usual knack for detail and word play is surgical here, as usual, but All Eternals Deck is notable for its wide sonic palate.
  7. 80
    It's about as Death Metal as folk can get, without even touching the genre remotely, if that makes any sense.
  8. Mar 31, 2011
    80
    It may not be the old Mountain Goats kick, but whatever it is, it'll keep me returning to All Eternals Deck for a long, long time.
  9. Mar 30, 2011
    74
    The paradoxical, prolific Darnielle reminds us there's dirt under that green grass, with wry lyrics like, Anyone here mentions Hotel California/Dies before the first line clears his lips.
  10. Mar 30, 2011
    80
    It's the motion of the album that compels you through it, leaving you with a need for some resolution in what the next track will bring.
  11. Mar 30, 2011
    60
    While the other songs, intelligent pieces of art that they are, may intrigue, it's disappointing that only one song here compels us to really feel anything.
  12. Mar 30, 2011
    80
    Perhaps the most striking moment here, though, is not one that offers anything new to Darnielle's still-expanding sonic palette, but rather one that reaches back to the past.
  13. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    John knows what he does best and that's exactly he delivers, every damn time like clockwork.
  14. Mar 29, 2011
    83
    All Eternals Deck is one of the smoothest, most delicate iterations of Darnielle's thorny storytelling to date, though the infamously word-wise, lo-fi pioneer hasn't exactly buttoned down since signing to Merge Records last year.
  15. Each and every song is a living, breathing entity, separate in their own way even as they meld into a single cohesive collection.
  16. Mar 29, 2011
    70
    The Mountain Goats' latest shows Darnielle's folk rock growing more diverse, swelled with strings and choral harmonizing.
  17. Mar 28, 2011
    80
    Nothing here's likely to attract new converts quite the way those tunes did, but this is still a very easy Mountain Goats album to like and to recommend, whether it's your first or fourteenth.
  18. Mar 28, 2011
    80
    All Eternals Deck sees The Mountain Goats deliver their most assured sound and Darnielle his most profound poetry.
  19. Mar 28, 2011
    85
    This carefully sculpted juxtaposition of weight and waft has by now become the band's larger calling, and All Eternals Deck manages to be simultaneously esoteric and accessible, faithful and irreverent.
  20. All Eternals Deck is as obvious in its quality as Darnielle is obvious in his earnestness.
  21. Mar 28, 2011
    70
    There is trial and guarded promise in these songs, with Darnielle's restless voice finding human constants in even the most nonhuman of scenarios.
  22. Mar 28, 2011
    80
    String sections, brushed drums and, on High Hawk Season, backing vocals that recall the Jordanaires give the album a dynamic, varied sound and make it the Mountain Goats' most surprising creation.
  23. Mar 28, 2011
    70
    On All Eternals Deck, Darnielle may take a step back in terms of lyrical sinuosity, but bolsters his band's seething intensity with flying sparks, proving evermore that not only is he a master of moods but an unparalleled songwriter in pop music.
  24. 70
    On his latest group of twisted tales, All Eternals Deck, Darnielle rocks between dainty ballads, expertly buttered up with lush string arrangements ("Age of Kings" and "Outer Scorpion Squadron") and hardcore lite/acoust-o-punk ("Estate Sale Sign" and "Prowl Great Cain").
  25. Mar 28, 2011
    81
    There are no ham-fisted reggae rubs or overreaching rock moments; instead, the band simply plays with nuance and purpose, elaborating the lyrics by first understanding them.
  26. Mar 25, 2011
    70
    As usual, the North Carolina trio's latest is musically contemplative (mostly acoustic guitar or piano, bass, drums, maybe strings) and lyrically bountiful (camera-ready metaphors, idiosyncratic settings, characters with warts).
  27. Mar 25, 2011
    75
    Over time, the Mountain Goats have explored different emotional territory. Here they prove they can still make humble, evocative music.
  28. Mar 25, 2011
    80
    In many ways, All Eternals Deck, his greatest work since 2005's The Sunset Tree, is the perfect final album, fixated on death, legacy, survival, and an uncertain future.
  29. May 17, 2011
    60
    The album pays in cleft between Darnielle's left and right brains and strikes the perfect balance between wild imagery and plaintive sentiment. [May 2011, p.112]
  30. May 17, 2011
    60
    The focus on Darnielle's wonderfully evocative phrasing makes his songs sound like enigmatic fragments of short stories. [May 2011, p.120]
  31. Apr 13, 2011
    60
    The execution falls vexingly short of ambition, principally because a little of Darnielle's limited voice goes a long way. But the best of the songs are great. [May 2011, p.93]
  32. Mar 29, 2011
    60
    The second half loses momentum slightly. When in concentrated form, however, the Mountain Goats still manage to reach their peak. [Apr 2011, p.115]
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 4, 2011
    8
    In the grand scheme of things, this is an ok Mountain Goats record. Each song is beautiful and unusual, many of them near greatness in John Darnielle canon. Unfortunately, the songs all feel ripped from different recording sessions, from vastly different albums; as though this record was a collection of lost demos and not a cohesive whole. All that being said, even a mediocre effort by this band eclipses the vast majority of talent in today's music scene. Fans will appreciate the record, and non-fans may well be enticed by some of his most biting tunes since The Sunset Tree. Full Review »