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Winterfylleth: The Hallowing of Heirdom (2018)

Written by: Kev Rowland

It’s not really surprising that genres become further split into sub-genres, as some of them are incredibly broad and diverse, and that is definitely the case with black metal. I could pick out some Burzum, put that next to Darkthrone, then pop over to Immortal or Venom, and no-one could honestly say that they sound similar. Now, UK black metal act Winterfylleth have always incorporated elements of folk into their music, and actually describe it themselves as “English Heritage Black Metal”. Having completed a successful 10th anniversary tour last year, they are now back with their sixth album, and a line-up that has been stable since 2014’s ‘The Divination of Antiquity’. It would be interesting to see what BM specialist sites are saying about this, as it is no longer possible to describe the band as BM if this is anything to go by, as what we have here is a wonderous album of twelve songs that are fully acoustic. They have also brought in viola, violin, flute, cello, glockenspiel and a female singer to allow them to fully deliver their dreams.

This is acoustic, but rarely folk (although some numbers, such as “Elder Mother” are closely aligned), and is packed full of atmosphere. The vocals are often sung in harmony, and guest Victoria Bernath on violin plays a huge part in the overall sound, with lilting melodies over the top of vocals that are often bass or baritone in nature, and guitars that are often there for support as opposed to taking a lead. This is a stunning album in just so many ways, and I hope that it is treated in the manner in which it deserves, as opposed to folkies asking what a metal band are doing in their backyard, and metalheads accusing them of wimping out and where are the electric guitars?

I’ve just gone back to their 2010 album, ‘The Mercian Sphere’, and it is hard to realise that it is the same band (not exactly the same line-up, but Chris Naughton and Simon Lucas were founders back in 2007, and Nick Wallwork has been there since 2009). I still really enjoy the former album, but ‘The Harrowing of Heirdom’ is a thing of beauty and in a league all its own.

Rating: 9/10

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Tracklist:
1. The Shepherd
2. Frithgeard
3. Æcerbot
4. Halgemonath
5. Elder Mother
6. Embers
7. A Gleeman’s Volt
8. Latch To A Grave
9. The Nymph
10. On-Cydig
11. Resting Tarn
12. The Hallowing Of Heirdom

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Links:
https://www.winterfylleth.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/candlelightrecords/

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