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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)