Review Summary: Far over the misty mountains cold.....
Throughout much of its history, black metal was a very set-in-stone, underground genre. Death metal often garnered a more widespread fanbase, and few bands ever sought the support of bigger labels. For the longest time, it seemed as though the genre was to remain as an obscure gem in the eyes of most metal fans. That all changed with the Internet age. Many new bands decided to abandon the less desirable traditions of past, and opted to gain attention and distribute their work through big labels and websites such as Bandcamp. Thus, we enter English black metallers Winterfylleth. In the course of their short career, they’ve amassed a small but loyal following, and created four full-length albums. And while their previous LP, The Threnody of Triumph
, was subject to lukewarm reception by most critics, they’ve quickly managed to recover and craft a pleasant surprise in the form of their most recent album, The Divination Of Antiquity
Clocking in at around 56 minutes long, The Divination Of Antiquity
wastes no time in catching the listener’s attention. Only three songs dip below seven minutes in length, and only one is under five minutes, so don’t expect the shorter variety of black metal on the album. The production isn’t quite messy enough to fit in with the sound of older bands, but there is still a bit of a raw feel to it, and that middle ground works to Winterfylleth’s advantage. Although the black metal scene is primarily dominated by Scandinavian and American bands, the old English lyrical themes of The Divination Of Antiquity
manage to help distinguish the band from their contemporaries. “Whisper of the Elements” exemplifies this perfectly, with these chillingly poetic ending lines: ”Whether sun doth shine/Or rain descend/I remain/I will remain 'till all Life's End”
. “A Careworn Heart” is also standout track, capturing the listener’s attention for all of its nine minutes and thirty-nine seconds with aggressive, muddled guitars and just the right amount of ambience to build up that ominous, brooding feeling you get from a black metal band. “The World Ahead”, is also a highlight, serving as a haunting acoustic interlude that leads straight into the final two tracks, “Over Borderlands” and “Forsaken In Stone”, both of which hold their own as well.
Ultimately, though, it’s Winterfylleth’s concept of flow and attention to detail that create the highest points on the album. There’s never any point where the album becomes tedious to get through, and at the same time, you never really get that feeling that they could’ve or should’ve done more
. That being said, seasoned black metal fans are unlikely to find anything here that they haven’t already heard before. Even with the occasional addition of a background choir and the heavy atmosphere, the chances of The Divination Of Antiquity
becoming an instant hit among the black metal community are slim. But even then, everything is executed so well that there’s no particular reason as to why black metal fans shouldn’t
give it a listen. If for nothing else, The Divination Of Antiquity
is an excellent return to form for Winterfylleth, and is a great introduction to the band for anyone exploring the new black metal scene.