REVIEW: WINTERFYLLETH – “The Reckoning Dawn”
I have a major soft spot, and love for atmospheric black metal. And even more so when the band combines the history, and love of their native land into their music. So when my wife first stumbled upon England’s Winterfylleth and their themes of historical England, combined with lush folk passages I was sold from the first hearing. Two years ago the band released their stunningly beautiful fully folk album ‘The Hallowing of Heirdom’ which was one of my favorites of the year. In early May they are set to release ‘The Reckoning Dawn’ a full return to their black metal roots.
They get right to the metal with “Misdeeds of Faith” which was also the second single released. The song is pretty much straight fire, without any softer interludes, the screamed vocals of C. Naughton are as on point as ever, and the band’s unique riffage is on full display. For any fans who were disappointed with the folk direction of the last album this introductory song will certainly make them happy and put their minds at ease. Personally, their take on the mix of folk and black metal has always been my favorite (along with the historical and literary focus) feature of the band, so I’ll jump ahead to my favorite track the ten minute “Absolved in Fire.” The song features a two minute or so intro of delicate guitar and strings before smoothly transitioning into the metal section which takes up the remainder of the time. With the exception of “Betwixt Two Crowns” a short instrumental, this is the only use of their softer side on the album, which I find a trifle disappointing. However, given that they just released a full album focusing on that side no one can blame them for wanting to focus on the metal side for this release.
They follow that track up with the title track, which was also the first single released for the album back in February. “The Reckoning Dawn” is another lengthy song, clocking in at over eight minutes, but the time breezes by. It is also another example of how they blend quickness, and brutality while retaining an underlying melodicism for the ear to latch onto. This is fairly standard for more atmospheric black metal, but few if any current bands do it as well as they do. And the end of the song is pure bliss.
The album closes with “In Darkness Begotten” another long track. It continues the pattern that the rest of the album has established, melodic, yet heavy riffing metal, with the poetic shrieks of Naughton bringing everything together. The drumming of S. Lucus is rock solid, although composed mostly of the typical blast beats associated with the genre. It’s a satisfying conclusion to another thoughtfully composed, and well-structured album for the band.
Winterfylleth have once again released an aggressive, yet beautiful example of black metal, done in a way, and an approach that can only be called their own. ‘The Reckoning Dawn’ is a full-fledged return to their metal roots, while retaining sprinkles of lyrical beauty that the band does so well. Fans of the band and the genre will find a lot to love, and plenty to sink their teeth into. And I don’t believe they will be disappointed.