When Agalloch broke up last May, it came down to a classic struggle over direction between the band's founder and the musicians who'd made it such a creative and somewhat mystical force in black metal. Aesop Dekker, Don Anderson and Jason Walton have since formed Khôrada with Giant Squid's Aaron Gregory, and are currently working on their debut album. Pillorian, the new band from guitarist and vocalist John Haughm, features members of Maestrus and Uada, and has just released its first single.
Parts of "A Stygian Pyre" (premiered via Stereogum) will be familiar to Agalloch fans: studied guitar work that's at once gnarled and melodic, a gracefully feral solo, Haughm's unmistakable rasp. But the production sounds enormous, especially as it revs to frantic speed. More than anything in his long catalog, "A Stygian Pyre" captures Haughm at his most bestial.