Agalloch's break up has been pretty confusing, to say the least. The initial announcement made it sound like the band was over and done with, but we were later informed by founder John Haughm that the project was not officially broken up. Instead, it was a solo project with just Haughm and was on hiatus for the time being.
Now both of those posts have been deleted and replaced with one very similar to the original post, but this time it explicitly states that Agalloch, in whatever form, is completely and totally done. There is no more Agalloch in any way, not anymore.
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 but the name Agalloch has been permanently laid to rest. 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 initially had a joke in here about how you should tune in next week when the band announces it's not broken up, but I don't think that's going to happen. MetalSucks has a statement from Don Anderson, former Agalloch member, and the dude sounds none to happy.
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.
New York, May 14, 2016
On top of that, it's worth noting that Krieg's Neill Jameson has a few choice words about the breakup in Decibel, mainly putting Haughm on blast for calling himself a "visionary," a statement that has since been redacted.
This is a textbook example of believing your own press; sole original member toils in the underground for a minute or two, gathers up some friends to back him up and steadily rise until there’s the moment their collective efforts break through and their rise is meteoric. As this happens the original member begins to place value on themselves over anyone else. And if you place that value on yourself then why don’t you get all of the accolades, the rewards? Why spread it around? After all, aren’t the fans telling you how important you are? Isn’t this your child? It’s this line of thinking that’s dangerous. You begin to believe in your own myth. You forget who helped build your vision, without whom none of this could have happened the way it did. It may be your house, but you didn’t build it alone.
In this instance every other member besides the founder was jettisoned. If this was just the case of a band breaking up and going their separate ways then there wouldn’t be anything to really write about, save people ranking their albums or whatever it is a lot of music journalists do under these circumstances. But then you began to see the other members showing resentment towards the situation; restrained resentment but resentment none the less. And then another press release came out and you started to see some of the goodwill people had disappear. Why? Because it was less of a notice of discontinuing a band and more an exercise in public masturbation with a reference to the original member as a “visionary.” This is generally the kind of press release hyperbole you see PR firms write, so while it’d normally be something to roll your eyes at this was especially nauseating because founder John Haughm himself wrote it.
Hours after he fired his band, he called himself “visionary.” The fucking hubris of this even took me by surprise and I’m used to people making wild claims about themselves to somehow appear more of an important or strong figure but this shit took that trope and ran with it, unfortunately not out in front of a bus. There was mention that Agalloch might continue or that the future was uncertain which made the situation so apparent even Helen Keller could see it and agree that it was horseshit. It can be construed as saying that the other three members of the band—some of which had been with Haughm for well over a decade—weren’t important in the grand scheme of things. And not only does that do them a great disservice, since without them he wouldn’t have been able to tour or record these albums, it’s also a giant dick move to publicly shit on your friends, people who have stood by you since before anyone gave a fuck about you. It shows a lack of class and character. It’s poor fucking form.
Remember when we said this was all a surprise to fans and it seemed to be a quiet breakup? Yeah, not quite. Shit's getting messy real fast.