Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Winterfylleth : the Therenody of Triumph
With October already upon us it is fitting to review and band who goes by the Old English name for the month. Though this is the third album by these guys, it's my first listen and I gotta say they caught me by surprised with their ferocity and foeward thinking take on black metal. It goes to show how deceptive the labels and sub genres we attach to bands can be. I had heard this band called both pagan and folk black metal and I think the black metal part is the only adjective. I suppose there are some elements of garnish which might in a broad of of broad sword might justify the pagan label, if mlyrical content and the rare symphonic interlude make you Primordial, which in this instance is not the case.
There is far more blasty mcnasty here than any frolicking around the may pole. If you read my reviews on a regular basis then you know blast beats alone only go so far with me before I require dynamic substance, Winterfylleth passes this criteria with flying colors even though the tend to bring it with a fast fury. The first impression was these guys were as faster Moonsorrow, they are much meaner and don't rely on the epic gallop to Stonehenge. The use of the sonic half time break down comes into play on songs like " void of light" but is effective rather than a check off the old post Dark Throne riffs to hit check list for modern black metal.
The majority of the vocals are harsly screamed mid range, with the occasional tankard of ale swinging chorus,rousing a song here and there. The is some variance with a lower death like growl rumbling up from the bowels of the diaphragm. The vocals are more of an abrasive layer glazing the music than the focal point with the lyrics unintelligible but if you are a fan of black metal then its part and parcel, as the guitars carry the melodies soaring out from the majestic attack.
The precise assault of the drumming is one of this albums strong points which propels it forward with unrelenting power throughout. The bass is audible and makes an effort to stand apart from the guitar which is a rare treat for a black metal band as the genre as a whole tends to lose the bass in the tremolo picked chaos. The guitar playing is proficient and plays to the songs, no solos or show boating.
Is this the most original music to come out this year no, but for this brand of ripping black metal I think they deserve credit for acknowledging the fact other music has co e out after Windir. There sonic palate leans even towards bands like Krallice, who invoke a hypnotic drone in their maelstroms. When really digging into repeat listens to try and score this thing I begin to notice the formula, blast on you for the first half of the song then switch it up my with one of the ale swilling refrains and swell out on a sonicscape. This generally work thoungh the blink and you'll miss it tempos can make it hard to tell if the songs have just bled into one another at times'leading the album to become a back ground drone at times.
The more dynamic drones of etheric splendor they hit on a song like " a soul unbound" make up for the songs where they rely too much perhaps on the blur of the mcnasties. It's in a song like this where they are devoid of all ties to anything pagan, folk or otherwise Stonehenge. Not that there are really any dwarves endangered of being trampled any where on this album.
The two instrumental interludes I'm not including when I score the album as they wont make it to my iPod , in listening to the album all the way through they give a breather so I get that maybe they could have been worked into the actual songs similar to the end of the title track , but it's not an instance where I see it becoming a distraction from my listening experience.
After repeat listens I feel pretty good giving this thing an eight, the albums strengths are on the other side it's weakness , ferocity and velocity can be a great weapon to pummel your head into banging or at times can make everything at that tempo begin to sound too familiar. If you like fast black metal with texture and a modern take on being cvltness from across the pond then this album is worth your time .