We get a lot of crap CDs at the self-titled offices. But once in a while, a pleasant surprise slips into our promo stack. Here’s a recent delivery that knocked the s/t staff on its collective ass…

The Artist/Album: Agalloch, Marrow of the Spirit (Profound Lore, 2010)

The Vibe: One of the most complex, and infinitely rewarding, black-metal records we’ve ever heard. Period. Had we discovered this album a couple months ago it would have hovered near the top of our year-end list, filling a venomous void in between Swans and Nachtmystium.

RIYL: Rooting for nature in the war against ourselves; corpsepaint-free grimness; feeling cleansed without resorting to cayenne pepper and maple-cut lemon juice