REVIEW: WINTERFYLLETH – “The Dark Hereafter”
Winterfylleth came into the foray of black metal during a time when themes of reverence of heritage — along with exaltation of nature dipped in atmospheric tinge — was getting popular in the genre. However, only a handful of the bands practicing it ever felt genuine, Winterfylleth being one of those few.
Their first two albums were some of the best pagan-influenced black metal albums from the UK scene and beyond. I did not find the next two albums to be of the same quality as the previous ones, but I’ll just leave it to circumstantial opinion. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that they possess the ability to create heartfelt music, which means that you will always keep an eye on what they are going to do next.
‘The Dark Hereafter’ presents itself to once again transport you to the wonderland that Winterfylleth tries to show you. The album lasts for 40 minutes or so, but time passes with different speeds at different parts of the album. The first three tracks zoom by at a considerable pace, with quintessential Winterfylleth tremolo melodies over rapid drumming and infrequent crescendo breaks.
The tempo changes with “Green Cathedral”, when a folksy ambient intro opens the 13-minute track into blackened folk-doom, reminiscent of Agalloch and very different from anything that has come before. “Led Astray in the Forest Dark” is an anthemic pagan folk track, again something that could come out of an early Agalloch release, almost like a tribute. The chants in the final two tracks are enchanting to say the least.
‘The Dark Hereafter’ is a record for the off-days of autumn, when it is warmer than the other days. It’s not exactly brim with brutality and grimace, but it’s not a joyous expedition either. What it is, is a tranquil ride laced with nostalgia-inducing elements. The atmosphere is effervescent of ancient English landscapes and burnt wood from rituals of the past. The melodies impulsively symbolize rivers that once flowed in those celebrated lands and times. But what feels partially unaccomplished is the fact that I would still go back to the first two albums that provide me with the aforementioned goods and even more.
‘The Dark Hereafter’ cohesively joins the rest of the albums in their discography, but doesn’t add any new flavour to it.