Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Winterfylleth The Ghost Of Heritage (reissue)

Winterfylleth The Ghost Of Heritage (reissue)

By: Chris Davison

A well timed re-release of The Ghost Of Heritage, the debut album from England's very own heritage-loving Black metal band, Winterfylleth, pops into my inbox. When I heard Winterfylleth’s sophomore album, The Mercian Sphere, I was blown away by the quality and atmosphere of the record, despite not being a tremendous lover of black metal in all but rare circumstances. I was excited, therefore, to receive this album to review, having been sent by my esteemed partner in crime, The Dragon of M87. With such heights reached by their sophomore album, how would the earlier platter fare?

Happily, rather well. The Mercian Sphere was a slight evolution from this sound, which in the main is epic, sprawling black metal with a flair for evoking atmosphere. There are some clear parallels with early Primordial evident on this record, most clearly on “Guardian Of The Herd,” which builds up gradually from a plaintive acoustic guitar set up, to a vast-sounding anthem, complete with Bathory-esque chanting and drumming. Elsewhere, the swiftly strummed guitars and distant, slightly echoing vocals speak of the black metal roots of the band, though the epic scale of the music, the vast sweeping soundscapes are hypnotic in their ability to conjure mental images. It's ever so slighty raw and traditional black metal than their subsequent offerings, but none the worse for it. Here lies controlled chaos – the sound always threatening to spill out of the bounds of the song structures, but somehow kept together, probably by the sheer ferocity of the music.

 If there are any criticisms – and I'll keep completely out of the whole “heritage / racism” argument, as there plenty of armchair pundits willing to wade into that argument on your behalf, it would be that there is a slight sameness about the songwriting being occasionally a little under developed. All that means is that as ever, Winterfylleth compel you to listen with your upmost attention. That can't be a bad thing. This is majestic, epic and compelling music that has the cerebral content to keep your mind occupied, with the visceral element to keep your head banging. True British metal.

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