May 132016

Agalloch band


As if I didn’t have enough to be depressed about, my friend Joseph Schafer from Invisible Oranges just alerted me to the thoroughly depressing news that Agalloch has broken up. Here’s the message that just appeared on their Facebook page:

Following 20 years, 5 full length albums, many tours around the world, and numerous other recordings, John Haughm and the rest of the band (Don Anderson, Jason Walton, and Aesop Dekker) have parted ways. What the future holds for the separate parties remains undetermined. We collectively thank all of our fans across the world. There are also way too many other people to thank who made this band possible. You know who you are.

I have immensely enjoyed this band’s albums, and the four live Agalloch shows I’ve witnessed have stunned me — every one of them. Of course, they don’t owe us fans any obligation to continue recording and performing, but it’s still a sad day.

They leave behind a legacy of music that not only made a deep and lasting impression in its own right but that also proved to be tremendously influential on the evolution of black metal in the U.S. and around the world.

We don’t need a crystal ball to know that these four talented people will continue to make music on their own or with other projects (as they have already done), and perhaps Haughm himself or Anderson, Walton, and Dekker together will forge ahead in some new incarnation of the band, but none of that lessens the impact of realizing that Agalloch as it was is no more.

UPDATE:  After the initial announcement earlier today, John Haughm released the following statement on the band’s Facebook page:

After being inundated by a barrage of responses, I feel that I should clarify some things. I take full responsibility for the decision to part ways with the other guys. It was difficult, well thought-out, and something that had been culminating over the past couple of years. I simply could not continue any further with the band as it was. I had to make a change as my motivation and inspiration had started to completely deteriorate. Whether this is the permanent end of Agalloch altogether or a possible fresh start, I don’t know. I probably won’t know for awhile. The band has simply been reduced back to its founding, visionary member for the first time in 20 years. Beyond that, the future is unknown.

– J. Haughm


Don Anderson also posted a statement:

Dear Everyone,

Usually statements like these open with expressions of gratitude for the fans, friends, colleagues, and people we’ve worked with. There is a sort of form to the break-up letter that long-running bands produce: “thanks everyone that has supported us over the years, bought our records, came to our shows,” and so forth. Then the apologies arrive from fans, friends, and family members: “we’re so sorry to hear this. We hope you are ok.” But, I can’t start like that—it seems too mechanical. I can’t start that way because it is I who should apologize to all of you.

I am sorry you won’t ever hear new music from Agalloch. I am sorry our fans in Latin America, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, will never see us play. I’m sorry I won’t personally meet many of you after a show and talk about music, movies, school, and share a shot of bourbon. I’m really, really sorry because I had every intention of continuing.

This was not my decision.
I did not want this.
I still maintain it was not necessary.

I’m sorry it had to be this way. I am personally devastated and have not felt this level of grief since my father passed away ten years ago. So, if you are sad, upset, pissed, or bitter—I share these feelings with you. I know Agalloch deeply touched a lot of people. And I honor that by grieving in solidarity with all of you. Agalloch was an incalculable part of my identity and I’ll be walking as half a man for some time now.

I want to thank many people. I am terrified of forgetting anyone as my mind isn’t all that clear today. So, for now, I really want to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart. My favorite activity was meeting all of you after a gig, or before a gig. The spiritual connection you and I shared during a show was the closest I, an atheist, have ever felt to God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You might think our music helped you through the dark times in your lives, but all along you were helping me avoid the darkness.

Don Anderson
New York, May 14, 2016


And Jason Walton also  left this message on his FB page:

A heavy heart.

I have been flooded with messages. I appreciate it and apologize for my short responses. I am simply overwhelmed by the love and the situation at hand. 20 years.

I did not want this. This was not my decision.


UPDATE: Perhaps resolving lingering uncertainty about whether Haughm would continue Agalloch with new members, this post appeared recently on Agalloch’s official site:

Agalloch May 18 post







  26 Responses to “THE END OF AGALLOCH”

  1. In fairness this COULD be read as John has parted ways with the rest of the band… but could well continue under the Agalloch name.

    But it FEELS like an ending.

    • It does feel like an ending, though you do make a good observation that caused me to slightly revise what I wrote. Even if the other 3 continue together, though, I would be very surprised if they continue under the Agalloch name. It seems to me that too much of the legacy of that name is attributable to John Haughm. Using it without him wouldn’t seem right (at least to me).

      • I meant more that HE could continue under the Agalloch name, to be fair. Though it seems too ambivalent (at the moment at least) to put any weight behind that.

        • Well, in light of the statement by Haughm I just added as an update, your speculation seems to be prescient.

          • If I recall correctly when Agalloch started they each had their own personal project, and helped each other
            along the way to conceive their individual ideas. Agalloch, if I am not mistaken, was and is John’s, so he might
            continue it without the other members. Still would be weird though.

  2. Well, crap. Glad I got the chance to see them live twice. Their music benefitted me, wishing them all good luck.

  3. I stumbled onto that Facebook post 7 minutes after it went up D: Definitely sad news…never got to see them live.

  4. Saw them twice myself and always felt they were a better as a studio band than they were live. Still a huge loss to the metal world as their albums were in a league of their own

    • One of my favorite bands and I have to absolutely agree, hence why I didn’t make the effort to see them like I use to do.

  5. Sad to hear.
    But John Haughm sounds quite arrogant in his latest statement talking about himself as the visionary founder of Agalloch (yes, I know he is the founder)

    • John is kind of insufferable, so i have a feeling this is 100% his doing :/
      He seems much more wrapped up in his solo droning crap.

      • It does indeed appear to be his doing — I just added his own statement as an update to my original post up above.

        • Very sad, hopefully he diddles around with his own stuff and decides to do a reunion tour or something down the road. Its been very obvious his heart hasnt been in it for a while but the music that came from them the last 8 years has been like a fine aged wine… Very complex.

    • Eh, it doesn’t come across as arrogant to me. I think it’s been pretty obvious that Haughm was the principle creative force behind Agalloch. That in no way is meant to disparage the other guys, as I absolutely love Don, Aesop, and JWW and their unique contributions. It’s a very, very sad day indeed, though.

    • Even Don is very open about John’s arrogance, but Agalloch was and is his vision, hence why he can say something like that.

  6. 🙁

  7. good band but the last full length was awful. seemed like they phoned it in. maybe there were problems in the band at that time.

  8. Anyway…this is to worst new of the year for me. The worse I weared their sweatshirt when I get this message:(

  9. Well, shit.

  10. After reading those three statements, I can’t say I think too highly of John Haughm. Sounds like he fired the rest of his band over his “visionary” ego. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Nah..I think you nailed it right on the head. This definitely comes across as a one-sided decision by someone who felt the rest of the band was holding him back in some way

      • I havent seen Don and Jason’s statements till just now a d im frustrated and sad and angry all over again. I maintain that John is terribly insufferable… This reeks of ego.

  11. Well, this sucks. Hopefully the rest of band will stick together and continue on in some form.

  12. Haughm (I assume) has deleted the Facebook comments completely regarding the break up. On Agallochs official page (as in website), here is what it says:

    “In May 2016, founding member John Haughm parted ways with Don, Aesop and Jason and, after careful consideration, permanently put the band to rest.”

    This was posted today, May 18th. Its over folks. Fuck.

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