Thursday, May 3, 2018

Winterfylleth – The Hallowing of Heirdom

Heritage is important. To understand one's culture, and how it impacts our lives, to be steeped in the history of the land one calls home, and know how that effects the way we live today, to know the myths and legends and folkways that make a place what it is; all of this is important. Some nations or areas of the world have a long and rich heritage, others have had less time, and some seem to add new layers on top of a heritage long forgotten. Regardless of where we find ourselves we need to understand what makes our land, and us, what we are.

As a band, Winterfylleth seem to be rooted in the British heritage that is theirs. Listening to their music over the years, it seems as though they know the very soil on which they live. Their work has consistently been based in British history and folklore, in a love and respect for nature, and they have embraced their heritage like few other bands today.

This new album sheds a completely different light on what they do, mainly because they offer up a change to the way they do things. On past releases they have performed as a black metal band, with all the hallmarks of that genre that you would expect to hear. Certainly they have added their own tweaks to make the style their own, but on this release they cast aside all of that to offer an album of all acoustic works. Well, if you really want to pick at nits, there is some synth work on some of these songs, but I'm going to call it an acoustic album. And what an album this is. It is full of surprises and has some gorgeous songs for our listening pleasure.

It is fascinating to hear some of these songs, still written as black metal songs with the various chord voicings and melodies and structures you would expect, but instead of tremolo picking and blasting drums, the chords get a single strum, and you can hear the notes really ring out. The simple percussion allows the songs to actually breathe. Its almost as though you hear the songs inhale and exhale, and it sheds light on how beautiful black metal can be when you strip everything down to the very basics. Some of the songs are based on folk music, and some are simply beautiful melodies.

There are songs based on poetry, and I learned from listening that there is a poetic tradition of answering and parodying famous poems, like rappers trading “dis” tracks. There are of course songs about British history, and about folklore of the farmers and folklore of the woods. The album has 12 tracks in all, six of which are instrumental. A lot of songcraft went into this album and there are beautiful arrangements for the various stringed instruments involved. You would expect acoustic guitars and bass but there are violins and violas and cellos which add depth and color and variation to the songs. As you listen you can hear the love and respect that this band has for their heritage. It draws you in as the listener and makes you a part of the music. You really should hear this. Don't let it pass you by simply because this isn't the usual black metal. Keep an open mind and let Winterfylleth show the world they live in.


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