The Serpent & the Sphere Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length release for the Oregon black metal band was produced by Billy Anderson.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. May 13, 2014
    100
    As much as it is possible to describe the hissing whispers and supernova roars John Haughm's vocal performance, or the galactic wonder of Don Anderson's guitars, the sticky and celestial spirals of Jason Walton's bass lines, or the powerful alchemical engine of Aesop Dekker's drumming, together they form something greater: a massive, sublime universe unto itself.
  2. Jun 26, 2014
    89
    Boasting enough insidious imagination to evolve beyond easy metallic labels, Agalloch transports The Serpent and the Sphere into its own phantasmagoric astral plane.
  3. May 16, 2014
    83
    The Serpent & the Sphere reveals a familiar Agalloch that you’ve never quite heard--evermore patient, risky and, mostly, free of fault.
  4. May 13, 2014
    80
    The album's preference for atmosphere over hooks, plus the paucity and snarling incomprehensibility of its vocals, makes it ideal for pondering whatever mystery that captures one's fancy. But it also has a clear point of view.
  5. It has all of the right things going for it to make anyone even slightly interested in metal sit up and take notice.
  6. May 15, 2014
    80
    Agalloch have never sounded so rich, so full.
  7. May 13, 2014
    40
    The result is an album that is being asphyxiated by an extremely strong hand, and that proves to be the death of it all.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 6, 2014
    6
    I can make a variety of claims as to why this record isn't quite what I expected, but the one that instantly comes to mind is "too safe". It's far too safe. Agalloch really stepped outside of themselves on "Ashes Against The Grain" and again on "Marrow Of The Spirit", but this honestly sounds like regression. If this is what the band was going for, more power to them. I do enjoy the record, but it's difficult not to reach for one of the other two I just mentioned when I want to hear this band. For one clear reason, this just doesn't stand up to the others. Expand
  2. May 24, 2014
    6
    While this album is not bad, it feels way too monotonous compared to their previous works, it's as if the band has completely forgotten what made them an enjoyable experience in the first place: the atmosphere. Two standouts are: Celestial Effigy and Plateau of the Ages, other songs are way too washed out. Expand