Winterfylleth - The Ghost Of Heritage
Profound Lore Records
Black Metal
9 songs (48:54)
Release year: 2008
Winterfylleth, Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by James
Surprise of the month

Britain, in my opinion, has as rich a pagan history as Norway, so how our green and pleasant land hasn't spawned its own legion of pagan black metallers in the manner of Enslaved (early Enslaved, of course) is somewhat beyond me. Winterfylleth, however, seem to want to readdress the balance a bit. The band are a side-project of Wodensthrone guitarist Wildepryd (here performing under the slightly silly moniker Lionhartt) and play epic, stately black metal with the folky touch of Bergtatt-era Ulver to it. While the band eschew the mildly ridiculous Saxon garb of fellow UKBM-sters The Meads Of Asphodel, they're far truer to their heritage than that band, lyrics being generally of a historical bent. Also, those looking for the experimental excursions of The Meads will be disappointed, Winterfylleth keeping it relatively straightforward bar the acoustic interludes and some cleanly chanted vocals.

Not that this isn't one of the better black metal albums released this year (and anyone who's listened to labelmates Krallice will know that much of this year's best black metal has been coming from newcomers). The band I'd compare this closest to is perhaps Drudkh (oddly enough a band I don't particularly care for), mostly comprising of mid-paced, melodic riffs. The punkish, thrashing intro to opening track Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain) tricks us into thinking we're in for something else entirely, mind, and it's one of the most aggressive tracks here, being faster and blastier than much of the band's material (the faster sections still crop up though, particularly on Forging The Iron Of England). Yet there's always a epic, slower-paced riff just around the corner, (the opening to Defending The Realm sounding nothing less than majestic) and it's this pacing and variety that keeps The Ghost Of Heritage interesting throughout. There's even signs of a more rock n' roll side to the band at times, the first half of the title track almost sounding like latter Satyricon (I said almost, the kvlt kiddies among you can climb down from the ledge now.)

I can't say it's perfect (I'd really like to hear more acoustic parts, and the drumming occasionally sounds weak) but Winterfylleth have started their career with a great debut which hints at the potential to make a masterpiece. I love the historical lyrics, well, what I can make out of them (It's nice to see a band talking about British heritage without sounding like reactionary immigrant-bashing tabloid readers). What I want from the band on their next release is more. More epic, more varied, more acoustic parts. UKBM has always lagged behind the rest of the world, only the bestial Anaal Nathrakh really getting any acclaim, but Winterfylleth could easily become world-beaters.

Reissue of The Ghost of Heritage will be available from Candlelight Records USA on May 22, 2012. This edition will be remastered by Colin Marston (Krallice, Atheist) and completely repackaged to feature two previously unavailable tracks.

Killing Songs :
Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain) Brithnoth: The Battle Of Maldon (991 AD), Forging The Iron Of England
James quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Winterfylleth that we have reviewed:
Winterfylleth - The Reckoning Dawn reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity reviewed by Jared and quoted 85 / 100
Winterfylleth - The Threnody of Triumph reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Winterfylleth - The Mercian Sphere reviewed by Kyle and quoted 90 / 100
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