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Antiquity Beckons the Thaw of Winter - 98%

H_P Buttcraft, October 8th, 2014

Isn’t it ironic how I am enjoying Winterfylleth in the Summer? I think any time of the year is a great time to start listening to this British band whether you’re already familiar with their music or just now getting exposed to them. Winterfylleth is an under-appreciated atmospheric black metal band from Manchester, England that have been gaining steam in both the English music underground but also obtaining notoriety in the international metal collective. One only needs to look as far as the band’s logo to really get a good sense as to what their music sounds like; organic, twisted, massive, bewildering, transcendent. Their latest release ‘The Divination of Antiquity’, like their previous releases, is a further exploration through black metal into the ancient and awe-inspiring natural landscapes and local history of England.

We really start to delve into the core of what makes Winterfylleth so amazing and still so underrated on the second track “Whisper of the Elements”. The album’s opening title track “The Divination of Antiquity”, is only a mediocre black metal staple song in comparison to the track that proceeds it. It is on “Whisper of the Elements” that we begin to see the band craft much more definite and colorful sonic landscapes. The guitar riffs, which sound very punishing to perform from a musician’s standpoint, produce a large, luminescent tone over the majestic double-kick drum patterns. Then the song ascends into something way more melodic and atmospheric before plunging you back downwards with titanic force. If this isn’t already a clear indicator that you are now a Winterfylleth fan, I don’t know what more its going to take from the band to impress you. My standards for black metal are pretty high and “Whisper of the Elements” greatly exceeds them.

One of the shining moments on ‘The Divination of Antiquity’ is the grandiose anthem “A Careworn Heart”. It begins with a beautiful folk intro to which calls back to the somber and hypnotizing acoustic Ulver album ‘Kveldssanger’. After that movement’s conclusion, the song goes into one of the most memorable riffs on the entire album which becomes even more catchy once the guitar find their way into the mix. This song is heavily reminiscent of songs I’ve heard before from Drudkh, Agalloch and Fen. “A Careworn Heart”, if it was the only worthwhile track on this record, would rocket this albums rating way past a mediocre rating.

But thankfully, the rest of the songs on this album are rewarding in the same sense. Each tracks really feeds off of each other. “Warrior Herd” and “Foundations of Ash” exemplify Winterfylleth’s ability to unleash a hellish storm of blackened blast beat drums and crystalline-pure atmospheric instrumentals. A great complimentary song would be “Over Borderlands”, which clinches this album for higher platforms of greatness in Metal.

I’ve seen it written that the key to a great atmospheric album is to create the illusion that time is somehow going by at a different pace as when you listen to this record. I would certainly say this theory holds up with songs on ‘The Divination of Antiquity’. Many of these songs come very close to being ten minutes in track length but upon listening to them, you are never anxious for the song to end. The song composition is perfect to lose yourself in. This was the exact same way I felt about Winterfylleth’s previous releases like ‘The Mercian Sphere’.

For news journalists, I think this summer has been hell, but as far as Metal journalists like yours truly are concerned, this summer has been heavenly. This release from Winterfylleth continues a strong representation of Heavy Metal music in 2014 that I’ve also seen from bands like Woods of Desolation, Artificial Brain and Spectral Lore.

‘The Divination of Antiquity’ is an album that creates a large demand for attention from their audiences. Although this requirement seems exhaustive, its is only because the musicians of Winterfylleth have put a large amount of endurance into writing these songs and putting them all down on this album to the best of their abilities. I think that the challenge to stick with this album until the end will be a rewarding experience to the listener and ‘The Divination of Antiquity’ will not wear out its welcome. And yes, you will want to listen to it more than once.

Originally published on Metal-Temple.com, 8-18-14.