Candlelight Records 2012
1.A Thousand Winters 2.The Swart Raven 3.Æfterield-Fréon 4.A Memorial
4.The Glorious Plain 6.A Soul Unbound 7.Void Of Light
8.The Fate Of Souls After Death 9.Home Is Behind 10.The Threnody Of Truimph
Opening Track ‘A Thousand Winters’ blasts straight into all out melody lead scathing and melodic black metal, the bands intentions clear from the word go. There is a real ‘gravelly’ tone to the production, in black metal terms the guitars are extremely heavy with the bass guitar especially prominent and adding real depth to the sound. Vocally it’s as you have come to expect, screamed, malice pouring from every word, drenched in echo and reverb which really re-creates black metal from the first wave, when bands sounded like they were singing and playing in a cave. The way in which Winterfylleth vary and move from one tempo to another is quite unique sounding and definitely sets them aside from a lot of bands. It’s their trademark, their signature sound almost. Uniquely Winterfylleth! As ‘The Swart Raven’ opens up it is again unmistakably Winterfylleth at their very best, mixing tempos perfectly and creating a really mournful and hateful atmosphere. The heavy dose of melody really sets the band aside from many of their contemporaries. Again, the way tempos and time changes are used is a very simple formula, but one that is being maximised to the full to create some absolutely stirring songs. As the song breaks into an acoustic guitar section, there’s a folk influence on display but the cleanly sung, chant like vocals add an extra element, almost pagan/Viking black metal. The song then returns to the classic black metal sound the band are so great at creating, ending the track in a haze of melodically lead black metal guitar riffs which reek of bleak emotions and dark atmospheres. 'Æfterield-Fréon' acts as a melodic interlude; soft acoustic guitars accompany what sound like fiddles/violins and work well, a break in the black metal assault. It’s only a short break however, ‘A Memorial’ blasting forth in yet another torrent of melody driven hateful black metal, sounding extremely catchy and as mentioned before, undeniably Winterfylleth. The band found ‘their’ sound a long time ago and is sticking to the formula which works brilliantly, no need for change when something is this good! As this track begins to draw to a close there is a real sense of urgency, desperation etched into every screamed word, it’s fucking fantastic stuff.
‘The Glorious Pain’ follows on in similar fashion, bass heavy and distorted guitars leading the charge into battle, again sounding utterly devastating with sorrow and hate etched into every sorry word. What works particularly well here is the use of chant like vocals over the faster black metal sections and even when the pace is slowed and the clean chanting re-introduced, the catchiness is never lost. Some say that black metal shouldn’t be ‘catchy’; I say listen to these guys then re-think your statement! What works so well for Winterfylleth is their simplicity, as seen in ‘A Soul Unbond’, a simple song structure played using relatively simple, but unbelievably atmospheric guitar riffs all backed by drums that do nothing more than keep the rhythm and tempo, but that is all that is needed here, why over complicate matters when the atmosphere and emotion of the music more than compensates for speed or technicality. The mournful nature of the music lends itself perfectly to the vocal delivery, again sounding full of hate, desperation, spite and absolute anger – many of the elements key to great black metal. The tempo begins to raise slightly as the songs ends, but it never flies off into furious blast beats which is only right. Doing that would spoil the atmosphere completely. If a return to the faster black metal is what you crave then ‘Void Of Light’ should satisfy you completely, the pace upped to the more familiar tempo seen in earlier tracks. And as with everything before it, the mixing of tempos effective in delivering another top notch black metal song, melody once again at the fore but as ever, delivered with aggression to make the perfect partnership – melodically aggressive. ‘The Fate Of Souls After Death’ is more of the same, another fast and aggressive black metal song which drips atmosphere from every note, the tempos tending to be utilised for longer periods, especially the faster sections giving this song a much more aggressive feel than has been witnessed previously. The slower, melodically driven sections are still used, and used as effectively as always. The track consisting of three sections, fast beginning, slower middle section and returning to the faster pace to end. Simple, but yet again devastatingly effective. ‘Home Is Behind’ is another acoustic guitar interlude, a break from the devastation of the black metal. There’s an ancient sound to the acoustic guitars, extremely classical in delivery and with a very ‘Olde England’ feel which fade out slowly before title track ‘The Threnody Of Triumph’ opens up in another barrage of extremely compelling black metal. Saving the best for last and utilising everything witnessed in the previous tracks, it’s an absolute stormer of a track. There’s a real sense of urgency on display now, the bands seemingly wanting to spread their message even deeper into the listener and you can’t help but feel that the band are so proud to be ending this album on such a high note, a punishing and suffocating atmosphere really stirring now, almost building up to something really really big and thunderous. However, the track fades out into oblivion and an acoustic guitar takes over, taking you somewhat by surprise, but not in a bad way. Winterfylleth are definitely getting better with age and this, their third album is by far their greatest piece of work to date. Having crafted a sound that is ‘Winterfylleth’ and ultimately unique, especially to these fare shores, these guys are riding high and at the top of their game with this album. If you’re a UKBM fan and you don’t have it in your collection, then may I suggest you get it as soon as possible because you really are missing out on something very special indeed. Very highly recommended
9 out of 10