WINTERFYLLETH – The Reckoning Dawn
Except for Graveir’s "King Of The Silent World" it seems there have not been any interesting black metal albums lately, but then again, I haven’t been really looking around for them, so the 7th offering by the English quintet Winterfylleth really took me by surprise, with the excellent mix of old Emperor and Dimmu Borgir-ian knack for melody and epic atmosphere. It’s actually strange that this is the first time I run into these guys since they have been at their craft since "Rising Of The Winter Full Moon" demo (2007), which they followed with "The Ghost Of Heritage" (2008), "The Mercian Sphere" (2010), "The Threnody Of Triumph" (2012), "The Divination Of Antquity" (2014), "The Dark Hereafter" (2016) and "The Hallowing Of Heirdom" (2018) before the subject of this review for which the lineup was solidified as Christopher Naughton (guitars, vocals), Dan Capp (guitar, backing vocals), Nick Wallwork (bass, backing vocals), Mark Deeks (vocals, synths) and Simon Lucas (drums). The new album actually makes me think I should check out their back catalogue if the quality of Winterfylleth circa 2020 is any indication of persistence in quality.
For a band with a name which in Old English stands for the month of October, one of the aurally saddest months of the year, their music, too, is sad, accordingly. This sadness is best exemplified by the title track, as well as by the closer "In Darkness Begotten" both ending with melodic dirges which tug at the heartstrings. Similar in this regard is the Paradise Lost-tinged misleadingly titled "A Greatness Undone" a track which is a perfect synthesis of fierce uncompromising black metallurgy, on one hand, and the epic melodiscism, on the other.
Quite another consideration are the tracks which all seem to be cut from the same cloth, raw, brutal black overtoned by powerful melodic arpeggios, tracks excellent because of the riffs and melodies but, overall, somewhat lacking to truly stand out. Of those, certainly the opener "Misdeeds Of Faith" haunts with a very memorable main riff while "Absolved in Fire" with the Opeth-ian acoustic introduction, or "A Hostile Fate (The Wayfarer Pt. 4)" beating all others for the number of different melodies per minute.
While there are no fillers, per se, "Betwixt Two Crowns" and "Yielding The March Law" don’t excite me quite as much. The latter is rather one-dimensional while the former is a short instrumental interlude which would have been better off as part of the latter, and not necessarily at its onset.
All in all, "The Reckoning Dawn" is an excellent black metal album for both old school and new school fans of the genre, and, most of all, it has that perfect combination of cavernous climate and powerful modern production. Very recommended.