Sunday, September 21, 2014

Winterfylleth - The divination of antiquity

Genre : Folk black metal
Release : October 7th 2014 on Candlelight Records.

Winterfylleth became quite popular in the last few years, probably thanks to the frequency of their releases (one album every 2 years since 2008) but mostly thanks to their quality, I'd say. With this fourth full-length, this british atmospheric folk black metal band keeps its trademark but evolve into an even more melodic, less linear style. I loved the past two releases, yet I think that The divination of antiquity is even richer than the previous ones.

To explain this, I'd say that every track has more identity than before, because they're built on more different song structures, whereas The mercian sphere and The threnody of triumph had strong similarities from track to track. Even though I'd definitely admit that both those albums already were of a rare quality, what we've got here sounds more dynamic and intense than before. Maybe a couple listens to 'Whisper of the elements' on the bandcamp player just above will give you the same opinion. Also, this whole new release is probably more riff-driven than before, as heard on the aforementioned track, mostly towards its end. Drumming is more versatile too, and while it still strongly focuses on blastbeating, some songs successfully use a different approach such as  'A careworn heart'. However, it's good to hear that Winterfylleth made this more an evolution than a drastic change. The elements which made them great are still here, even the rich fully acoustic tracks such as 'The world ahead' or the deep male choirs it features... all this has been kept for that 2014 release. Of course, that's not all they were about already and if you don't know them yet, their sense of musical epicness and the quality of their dynamics will surely please you if you're into that kind of linear, atmospheric black metal with a hint of folk inside of it. Yeah, folk isn't a big part of their sound either, at least it isn't really used as frequent interludes inside tracks but more as stand-alones or intros for longest ones. But somehow, this helps Winterfylleth building their cold and solid atmosphere without any compromise for the listener.

I've always loved Winterfylleth's tunes and had faith in any of their new upcoming works, but for the first time, the result has been above my expectations. It still isn't much about impressively clever songwriting nor loads of traditional instrumentation building massive layers, but more about great musicians making great atmospheric black metal and putting this out with the perfect mixing for such sounds. Yet, incorporating much more melodic guitar lines was what those guys needed to make a step forward and join the most talented bands of the same genre. The divination of antiquity is their most intense release to date, and Winterfylleth demonstrates that complexity isn't a key element into making great tunes, when sincerity and skill can be just enough.

Personal highlights : A careworn heart, Over borderlands.