I believe I heard about Winterfylleth from a comment somebody made on youtube. After a few searches I came across the original version of the song "Ghost Of Heritage" and from there I was hooked. The music is not what I'd call technically challenging, but with many black metal artists, it's not about the musical talent - it's about the atmosphere. Winterfylleth definately succeed in generating atmosphere in all of their songs, aided further by the reasonably well written lyrics which are largely a tribute to the people who created the England we know today.
My favourite tracks on this include the opener Mam Tor, Forging the Iron of England and Defending The Realm.
If you like black metal then you'll probably like this album - I would liken some of the tracks to early Burzum at times, the vocal style is different and the recording quality is (slightly) better, but the style is similar.
On the whole, The Ghost Of Heritage is a good start for this manchester based band, although I would have liked it to be longer, it comes in at just under 49 minutes which in my eyes is about 10 or 15 minutes too short.
If like me you enjoyed this album then I'd definately suggest getting their second offering, The Mercian Sphere. I've yet to listen to my copy of it as it's not been delivered - I can only assume that the lorry it was on got stuck in the snow on the motorway!
Like the Mercian Sphere, this has to be one of my favourite albums of all time. I do like black metal but don't like Satanic themes, so this album of history and national pride is right up my street. This cannot be compared to any offshoot of black metal. It's a uniquely-British (often uniquely-English) form and it's very atmospheric.
In this debut album, the musicianship is excellent, and the band are able to demonstrate an amazing versatility that eventually flourishes in subsequent albums. As with later offerings such as the Mercian Sphere, the music is so loaded with emotion and pride that I challenge you not to be brought to tears by it. The band manages to recount the history and glory of our nation without ever once appearing anything like racist.
The vocals in particular are, as I described elsewhere, out of this world. The opening track, "Mam Tor" was the first track by Winterfylleth that I ever heard, and to this day remains my joint-favourite track of theirs, (in fact, joint-favourite track of any artist). It kicks-off with an introduction of raw energy, before slowing slightly, almost as if in reverence, before a screaming declaration of awe and wonder, "MAM TOR!". As the song progresses, in my mind I mentally walk up the well-known routes to the Iron-age hillfort and feel every whip of wind and rain. Then the clean vocals (chanting) kick in... I've already mentioned elsewhere that this will literally make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. All of a sudden you're surrounded by the voices and ghosts of long ago, "Mam Tor in the high peak, Celtic voices still haunt this windswept land, of long-endured winters..."
Where other bands might just sing generally of gore, death, destruction, Winterfylleth choose very noble subjects which fire up a sense of pride and respect for the people who went before us and built this nation. For instance, two tracks are dedicated to an account of the Battle of Maldon, a key moment in the Viking invasion of Britain. The second of the two appears to be a paraphrasing or translation of the original contemporary Saxon account of the battle. The contrast between the two tracks, and also the contrast within tracks like "guardian of the herd" are excellent examples of the band's versatility as mentioned above.
The history and atmosphere continues... You can hear and almost see Weyland forging his magical sword in "Forging the iron of England", and tracks like "The ghost of heritage" and "an Englishman's verse" stir up an immense feeling of pride, reverence and wonder.
This debut is an outstanding album, much more than simply a taster of things to come.
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This the first album from English black metallers is a highly commendable effort. It is mostly mid-paced black metal with a couple of acoustic interludes. The overall feel of the album is one of national pride without being overly aggressive, at times evoking an epic atmosphere. The obvious comparison is with Ukranian masters Drudkh, but with liberal doses of Forefather and early Primordial. While not as good as any of these bands, the combination certainly works well. Overall a very encouraging debut. Their influences may be a bit obvious but none-the-less a good addition to the English black metal canon.
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