While focusing on career retrospectives for likes of Darkthrone and Emperor, it’s easy to forget that there are newer bands, closer to home, building up their own respectable discography right under our noses. Candlelight black metal stalwarts, Winterfylleth, have rapidly become one of the biggest names in the UK’s metal scene and, while it might seem to have happened all of a sudden, those that have been following the band since their inception will know that the four-piece have been plugging away since 2007, creating contemporary music steeped in English heritage.
For those that are late to the part, this back catalogue of all their releases is a great way to familiarise yourself with anything that pre-date’s last year’s ‘The Divination of Antiquity’ (not included on this release). Beginning with first full length ‘The Ghost of Heritage’, listeners will be treated to some of the band’s more unpolished and slightly more aggressive material (the title track and ‘Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)’ are both highlights). Next up is arguably Winterfylleth’s seminal record, ‘The Mercian Sphere’, featuring classics such as ‘A Valley Thick With Oaks’ and ‘Defending the Realm’. It’s safe to say that if you don’t know these songs by heart by now then you probably aren’t a fan or have only just started listening to these guys.
The third full length ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ rounds off the collection of LPs featured in this anthology, which includes live favourite ‘Void of Light’ as well as other highlights such as ‘A Thousand Winters’ and ‘The Svart Raven’. For those that have fallen by the wayside in terms of demos, compilations and splits, this release enables you to tidy up any loose ends. A bonus material disc features Winterfylleth’s cover of ‘The Gates’ – which was their half of a split with Ukranian black metal band Drudkh. This disc also features their three folk contributions to Season of Mist compilation ‘One & All, Together For Home’, as well as their 2007 demo ‘Rising of the Winter Moon’.
Needless to say, this retrospective is evidence of what a credit Winterfylleth are to the UK’s music scene. This collection is absolutely essential not just for fans of the band, but for fans of black metal too. An excellent way to acquaint yourself with the band’s music, or just to refresh your memory on any material you may have forgotten about or missed.
(10/10 Angela Davey)