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free-flowing pagan metal demo - 77%

VRR, June 19th, 2010

A new-found pagan metal band from the United Kingdom, Winterfylleth released their first demo tape "Rising of the Winter Full Moon" at the end of 2007.

Kicking off immediately with a track dedicated to Derbyshire's favourite hillside, "Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)", gets things going with a rocky, almost oi!-infused punk riff. The d-beat is quickly discarded though in favour of double bass kicks, as Winterfylleth accelerate towards a sound better suited to their own brand of epic metal.

Folk guitar breaks and viking-style backing vocals create a rich, layered sound that allows Winterfylleth to build their crescendos around the slower paced elements of their tracks instead of plugging away at ever-increasing beat-per-minute counts. Rather than simply swapping between raucous metal and soft acoustic sections, Winterfylleth have incorporated both simultaneously. The over-dubbed acoustic layers provide texture in the background, rather than acting as a cheap contrasting breakdown section or interlude.

There are plenty of riffs in each track with few ideas returning for repeated uses - other than the viking choir which provides the main hooks. I don't know why I am calling it a viking choir; this band is from Manchester. It's north of the Danelaw though, so I suppose that still counts...

Some of the sections are little more than throw-away riffs perhaps, and only a couple of times do you catch a glimpse of a truly memorable phrase, but they are there. Usually when all the elements are working together. The added depth of the clean vocals really brings an extra dimension and sense of ancient atmospheres into the mix.

A fine sounding demo, the audio reproduction is much clearer than most studio albums being released in the underground these days.

(Originally written for BLAST! zine #1)

As Strong As English Oak. - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 15th, 2008

Hailing from the darkest side of Manchester, England, Winterfylleth are an up-and-coming act with bags of potential. This demo, ‘Rising Of The Winter Full Moon’ is as old school as the title suggests but has a slight tendency to delve into the depths of modern day black metal, particularly the pagan sub-genre, just to make things more interesting than listening to one of the endless tributes to the decaying straight up old school sound. According to Metal Archives, a full-length is scheduled for some time this year, thus making the short length of this demo easier to digest. Considering the band are signed to Profound Lore, a fairly well established record label, my expectations were high and ‘Rising Of The Winter Full Moon’ delivered well.

There is a distinctive English vibe flowing through the demo whether that be through the instrumentation itself or the vocal chanting which occurs in sparse outings though, having said that, the Eastern European feel cannot be overlooked either. According to some, Winterfylleth are influenced by the likes of Drudkh and Walknut, though I do not know too much about that. Their music isn’t particularly similar to the aforementioned bands, but I suppose a few small similarities is enough. The mid-paced drumming turns to steady blast beats just as quickly as the English summer weather of sunshine and blue skies turns to rain and grey skies. As the beats of the drum pound down upon our bodies, each and every distinctive beat reminds us Englishmen/women of the pouring rain which dominates much of our stereotypical discussions. The lyrical themes do suggest that Winterfylleth are influenced by all things Anglo-Saxon, so this imagery that the appealing soundscapes conjures up are apt, to say the least. Especially with the vocal chanting that occurs from time to time.

“Among the contorted roots,
Of English Oaks,
In the caverns of the northern kingdom,
Dwells the sleeping army.
Here they lie,
In enchanted sleep,
Awaiting the day,
When England is in peril.”

Otherwise, the vocals are very much of a rasping nature. Whilst they don’t catch the listeners attention too much, other elements of this solid demo do. For example, the guitars. The band has two guitarists who play intertwining riffs around each other. The atmospheres that these weaving leads create cause a stir. The picturesque imagery created by the rather old school riffs generated in songs like ‘The Ghost Of Heritage’ remind me of Darkthrone, but better and the Swedish black metal band Avsky. In what way, might you ask. Well, the deviation is tempo is, for one, much more expansive in sound and allows for better expression of themes. The production might not be as clean as it could be, but it is compelling nevertheless. The instrumentation, which includes some mild acoustic work and catchy drum patterns, as well as solid song writing isn’t affected in the slightest by a less clean production. All in all, this demo is well worth listening to and gives me high expectations of the full-length to come.

Winterfylleth - Rising of the Winter Full Moon - 90%

metaljerks, July 11th, 2008

Hailing from the most grim and frostbitten city known to man, Mancunian black metal troupe Winterfylleth released this terrific wee demo EP in October 2007, and I’ve listened to it literally squillions of times since. Literally. Fuck, I hate people who misuse ‘literally’.

So seriously, then. This is great. Atmospheric and riffy, Winterfylleth successfully pull off the Eastern European pagan / heathen sound of Hate Forest, Drudkh, early Graveland et al but with a very British ‘tromping about in the rain’ twist. The production is by no means polished, but at least it manages to avoid sounding like your next-door neighbour smashing pans together (like so many BM demos) and instead sounds impressively full and heavy.

The mid-tempo drumming, acoustic influences, and long, repetitive riffs do a great job of making you feel like you’re out in the countryside thinking about how awesome England was before those fucking Roman bastards came and fucked everything up. Running water? Culture? Fuck off. I’ll keep my pig-ear and turnip stew, thanks very much.

The shitty thing about ‘Rising of the Winter Full Moon’, though, is that it’s incredibly short. Three songs, totalling about 17 minutes. But they’re apparently working on an album anyway, so whatever. They best hurry up and finish it and then start playing live so I can watch them at a venue near me, supported by some shitty deathcore band.

Originally written for