Winterfylleth – “The Reckoning Dawn” (Candlelight/Spinefarm)
Being in the midst of a growing British black metal movement in the 90s spearheaded by bands like Cradle of Filth, Bal-Sagoth and Ackercocke, it’s gratifying to see the seeds that they planted sprouting a decade or so later in bands like Winterfylleth, whose name is the olde English for the month of October. Interestingly, while acknowledging their musical and atmospheric inspirations from those early days, Winterfylleth have chosen not to carry on in the traditional stance of Norse mythology or Satanism, but instead source from the landscapes, history and literature of Anglo-Saxon and ancient Britain. Equally, while charged with the same visceral passion for raw, primitive aggression as their Scandinavian counterparts, this English black metal band are also drawn to rich atmospheres and deep ambiance, all of which come into play on this mesmerizing release. Through 8 immersive and captivating tracks, from near 10 minute epics to shorter blast beating savagery and ethereal instrumental interludes, “The Reckoning Dawn” sees Winterfylleth return to the realms of British black metal after their prior acoustic release, but moreover, battle hardened after 2 years of touring and writing, the experience of which has been distilled into the deep passionate material here. Chopping in on ‘The Reckoning Dawn’, it’s pretty clear that Chris Naughton’s icy screamo is as much influenced through bands like Dissection as are his magnificent, stirring guitar melodies that draw epically as well as emotionally, especially in the ambient mid section with its uplifting song, before returning to its blast beating and ending melancholically. Offering short acoustic peace in ‘Betwixt Two Crowns’ with its rustic vibes, the metallic guitar whirrings to ‘Yielding The March Law’ see the song ablaze as the blastbeating screamo lights it up, but again, it’s those powerful melodies that shine through and hook you in while complementing the intensity superbly. Ending with ‘In Darkness Begotten’, the dark and epic riffs are irresistible from the start, as is Naughton’s screaming guaranteed to freeze your soul, but more subtle are the fast folk strummings, as first intelligible through the blast beating, then becoming more evident as decadent slide riffs a la Marduk descend you into the fiery pit, albeit briefly before morphing slickly into ambiance where Mark Deeks’s keyboards flow aplenty. “The Reckoning Dawn” is Winterfylleth’s awesome return to their nature, truly speaking bounds about this amazing British band!