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Autumnal Glory - 93%

GuntherTheUndying, November 24th, 2014

“The Divination of Antiquity” has affected me more than any Winterfylleth release; the others can’t hold a candle to it, not even close. True to the ways of folk-infused black metal, albums like “The Ghost of Heritage” and “The Mercian Sphere” accomplished noteworthy terrains within Winterfylleth’s adventurous style without overbalancing folk elements for black metal themes or vice versa. “The Divination of Antiquity” is the first of the band’s works to truly capture Winterfylleth’s many themes and ideas while delivering the finest riffs and melodies the Brits have ever put down. It is the masterpiece that has been lingering in the shadows for years, now shining bright in its autumnal glory. This is the opus that puts Winterfylleth in league with the black metal elite.

As fantastic as it is, this does not move the Winterfylleth template beyond a degree of its natural setting. In fact, it’s fair to call “The Divination of Antiquity” just another Winterfylleth release on paper, but this, in part, is what makes the record such an exhilarating experience. The tremolo-picked sections and black metal riffs are easily the most captivating guitar parts from any Winterfylleth release, intricately layered by memorable melodies and poised beautifully between elements both calm and frenzied. Also unchanged are the quick, effective percussion patterns and the harsh vocals that possess the work of this group, but again, this is the source of the record’s success. These themes are nearly identical to sequences found on prior records, yet they are more focused, well-placed, meaningful, rich, and fulfilling. The brilliance of it is that nothing within the group has dramatically changed. It is a wonderful familiarity, one that sounds whole, a balance perfected.

The dualism of Winterfylleth has never appeared so profound. Much like autumn itself (the word ‘Winterfylleth’ was the Old English term for October, you know), the mix of black metal riffs and styles with folk melodies, pagan mantras, and serene sections creates a deathly yet gorgeous hue. Take, for instance, “Whisper of the Elements,” where seamlessly they bounce from compelling tremolo-picked riffs to a place of striking clean guitars and wonderful atmosphere at the drop of a hat, the transition far from awkward or misdirected. There is a thoughtful grace in the typically-intense brand of black metal Winterfylleth applies, and while the band’s autumnal elegance is nothing new, it never has been anywhere near this absorbing.

Yet the bards of Winterfylleth have improved leaps and bounds as songwriters. Take the pristine lead melodies and atmospheric elements on “A Careworn Heart” and “Forsaken in Stone,” which make the tunes the deepest numbers in the band’s catalog. The focus on mood and texture lead to stellar tracks, each burning on its own cinder. Although there are many sequences within, none of the anthems from “The Divination of Antiquity” are remotely lacking. The terrain remains the same, but the riffs are better, the percussion is more effective, and the songs shine bright with autumn’s glory. “The Divination of Antiquity” is the first of Winterfylleth’s albums to create a dominating presence, crushing expectations and shattering creative barriers that had slightly impeded the band’s journey on “The Threnody of Triumph.” Excellent work.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com