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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.