Well those ten years went quickly and tonight Winterfylleth are celebrating a decade of existence since 1st unleashing their Rising Of The Winter Full Moon demo back in 2007. They have played a few dates in Europe and are back in the UK for a series of shows to mark the occasion. Naturally tonight is going to be a busy one and also slightly amusing seeing the odd punter looking completely out of place trying to gain admission to see Texan R&B artist Khalid who is playing upstairs at the Dome.
First up on the stage or should that be the ship are Necronautical who have candelabras on the decking so we can see just how choppy the storm is getting. Although it’s my first time seeing these doomed brigands I had a spin of last album ‘The Endurance At Night’ prior to the show just to remind me how potent it is. The name of the band from NW England brings visions of brilliantly crappy movies like Shock Waves and Death Ship to mind and the band look great in corpse-painted regalia and immediately bring an air of grim theatricality to proceedings. All that’s missing is seaweed in their hair. What they are not lacking in are galloping chops and along with vicious drumming, thorny guitar work and weathered vocals it’s easy to get into and enjoy the band. I am reminded a bit of Carach Angren as a reference point and what sounds like a haunted dulcimer at the start of ‘Nihilartikel’ kind of backs this up. Macabre and with a grand-guignol flair about it this whips up a blizzard and gets my head banging along nicely to the galloping storm. Songs have a lot going on in them and are tightly played, dry ice atmospherically flows as we are taken to a watery grave on the moon for last song ‘Oceanus Procellarum.’ Backing vocals here prove particularly good and although the set was just too short at half an hour it was a performance that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Whilst Fen had played the European dates we had traded them off and got Belgian band Wiegedood instead. Having been absolutely blown away by both their recorded albums and their performance at Damnation Festival I was not complaining about this at all, in fact it made this show pretty much compulsory. The stage is littered with effects peddles, and after a crack on the cymbals the trio hit one of the most sudden and densest sounds you could possibly imagine. Everything powers through the speakers at a humungous and deafening velocity. The guitar drowns most things from where I am standing even the drums and the vocals have no chance. This was one of those cases that moving around garnered the best results as I realised hearing the biting vocals properly from straight through the toilet wall, not that I was staying in there for the set. Wherever you stood it was pretty much a case of weathering it, hanging on for dear life. People seem to be really enjoying it and grabbing quick breaths during atmospheric acoustic pit stops not that mighty songs like ‘Ontzieling’ give much of a respite. Spit drips down vocalist guitarist Levy Seynaeve beard as he intensely screams and batters away, it has taken a moment to realise there is no bass but one doesn’t seem that necessary. There are passages of all out warfare punctuated by occasional bleak and nihilistic parts, the Burzumic flow of ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed II’ is completely trance like and melts the mind. I think they played about 4 numbers and I could have happily watched them all night but it was time to make way for the headliners.
So the Wayfarer’s return and Winterfylleth are quick to swing into action after a calm peaceful acoustic intro. Once they fully swing into action and volatilely cleave away a pit is quickly whipped up to the rugged and tempestuous musical deluge. It’s rammed at the front and the chill of Winter is very much in the air, summer on its last legs as far as the cold calculated melodies are concerned. Fists are pumped and everyone chants along in the suitable places, the backing vocals soaring graciously toward the rafters. It’s one big heathen party in here, where’s the mistletoe? There’s no shortage of material and 5 albums to dip in and out of from the early thundering harsh blackness that is ‘The Ghost Of Heritage’ through to the lush near neo-folk fronds of ‘Forsaken In Stone.’ There are moments that certainly suggest a forthcoming part acoustic album (apparently due around March 2018) is going to be a really interesting affair.
At the front Chris, Nick and Dan are a blur of motion with Simon thundering away at the back, they all seem to be in their element with the audience feeding off them losing themselves in the complexity of the songcraft. There are many highlights along the way ‘The Swart Raven’ is a battering maelstrom mixed with a gorgeous underlying melody and things reach a pinnacle as the band play ‘Defending The Realm’ the one song that they couldn’t get away without and pretty much their anthem. I guess we have been lucky over the years seeing the rise of Winterfylleth from hard workers on the smaller stage right through to the main stage at Bloodstock. Called back for an encore we get the first song ever written by the band ‘Mam Tor The Shivering Mountain’ an almost punk laden brackish surge bringing about a crusty pit before moving into slow brooding blackness and a windswept exercise in total Bathory worship. It’s a good way to go out and all the bands were victors here tonight. Here’s to the next decade!
(Words & Photos Pete Woods)