Winterfylleth - The Dark HereafterFor those that have been with us for awhile now, you know that Winterfylleth doesn’t get a lot of love around here. Though the “bashing” by AMG and Roquetin  were minimal, the band’s atmospheric, Viking (oops, Anglo-Saxon) black metal approach does cause some droopy eyes at the AMG offices. And, unfortunately, my take on the band isn’t far behind my predecessors’. But, the biggest differences in opinion are those surrounding The Mercian Sphere. I kinda love that album. Following up their simplistic debut with Viking-like choirs and acoustic instrumentals had me hooked. Yet, I do have to agree with AMG, and the rest of the staff, that The Threnody of Triumph and The Divination of Antiquity suggested an unfortunate decline in quality. But, you never know what a band has up its sleeves. So, when I saw that Winterfylleth‘s newest release, The Dark Hereafter, had arrived, I just had to check it out.

If you were to judge The Dark Hereafter by its tracklist and album length alone, you might expect something novel from the band. The Dark Hereafter is a five-track, forty-minute record that appears unique when compared to the band’s regular hour-long outputs. This new release shows a band taking great care in cutting the fat from the  artistic cadaver. Sure, five tracks in forty minutes may mean there is the occasional lengthy song (the longest being thirteen minutes), but The Dark Hereafter has some of the best replay value in the band’s entire catalog.

Regardless of album length, The Dark Hereafter is an atmospheric, black-metal journey. A journey that requires quiet, darkness, and complete isolation to appreciate. And this isn’t just the case for The Dark Hereafter. This goes for every Winterfylleth release. Once met, total submersion into the album is achieved. Unfortunately, even after reaching this center of isolation, it isn’t obvious where Winterfylleth‘s journey will take us. Opener “The Dark Hereafter” is a four-minute, black-metal assault that does little and meanders to damn-near nowhere. But, its simplicity does prove to be the foundation for the rest of the album. From here, the album ascends with each succeeding track; peaking at the album’s magnum opus, “Green Cathedral.”

Winterfylleth 2016

That said, “The Dark Hereafter” and “Ensigns of Victory” are pretty typical atmospheric, black-metal outings. Neither are spectacular, but neither are shit. Both, however, set the stage for some of the better tracks on the album. “Pariah’s Path” follows the opener with heavy doses of emotion and spectacular guitar leads that rise above the black-metal muck. Appearing around the 6:00 and 7:00 mark, these standout guitar licks take a mediocre track to memorable heights. As the song comes to a close, the clean, folkish choirs and acoustic guitars make for an enjoyable and memorable experience. “Green Cathedral” follows “Ensigns of Victory” in a similar manner, but with an extra layer of “epicness.” Like “Pariah’s Path,” the track is a steady build that transitions tremolo-plucking into soothing, doomy landscapes and epic, clean choirs. Closer “Led Astray in the Forest Dark” tries to trump its thirteen-minute precursor with cathedral-esque cleans and a killer guitar-solo outro, but there really is no topping “Green Cathedral.”

In the end, The Dark Hereafter is another solid outing from Winterfylleth. Its stripped-down approach makes for one of the band’s most concise releases, but the lack of Viking-esque elements robs it of its true potential. And, to make matters worse, only three of five tracks make a lasting impression on an album that feels as compressed as a raisin. What this results in is a just-above-average outing from the band. Though songs like “Pariah’s Path” and “Green Cathedral” are hypnotizing—overlapping the clean with the aggressive quite well—the album is a fairly standard Winterfylleth release. Even though I may prefer Drudkh and Primordial, this stripped-down record is one of the band’s better releases and gives me hope for the future.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Candlelight Records
Websites: winterfylleth.co.uk | facebook.com/Winterfylleth
Releases Worldwide: September 30th, 2016

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  • Innit Bartender

    Everywhere I see this cover I mistake it for last year’s Wilderun’s.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      The just flipped it, turned down the contrast and called it a day!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      I thought Fall of Rauros initially, then realised that foggy cliffs and olde texts are the one-two combo needed for me to successfully design my one-man atmospheric folk black project debut artwork, Unicornium. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/538816c803b718e0ee5de62690226fdb0f0c73c7353233d288a0c8da75fa3f5d.jpg

      • Innit Bartender

        Gotta work harder on the simmetry, mate… LOL

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          I don’t recall Threnody having centered justification matey-o

          • Innit Bartender

            I just thought simmetrical logo was mandatory in black metal! Isn’t it?

      • Kronos

        5/5 landmark release in unicore.

      • Hulksteraus

        That is a first class unicorning!

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        You are a wizard. But I’d destroy your crappy debut album.

        • John

          Also, the sentence ‘“Led Astray in the Forest Dark” tries to trump its thirteen-minute precursor with cathedral-esque cleans and a killer guitar-solo outro, but there really is no topping “Green Cathedral”‘ is essentially saying that a Winterfylleth song is better than Ulver’s classic album opener. Still, thank you for a well-written review! :D

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Yup. Unintentional.

    • Kronos

      Or Bergtatt or Aura or Autumn Eternal or…

    • Henriette Gaston

      Sooooo, good by association?

  • Derek Robins

    Where is the Opeth review?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Who?

      • Oscar Albretsen

        You know, the best band in the world?

        • Hulksteraus

          AMG does this to all highly anticipated releases. It is the patented “Shut the F%$K up and wait then bow down and worship on the altar of Angry” Angry Metal Master Review tm. You should know how it works by now :)

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Ugh… downvote!!!!

          • Zadion

            They sure were a contender until the great tragedy of ’11. Rest in peace, Opeth. You’ll be in my heart and memories forever and ever, amen.

        • The Nerd.DMF GO JAYS

          They used to be. And I say that as a huge Opeth fan. Sorceress gets no more than 3.5 from me.

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Well, to each his own.

          • The Nerd.DMF GO JAYS

            Indeed. I will never deny somebody what they believe is good music, it’s all subjective.

          • Oscar Albretsen

            Totally. I certainly can understand why lots of people aren’t too big on Opeth anymore, too.

  • Lord Lucan

    I completely agree with the tone of the review; it’s an odd one. It’s not bad but it feels as though it’s missing something but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. They set the bar high with The Divination of Antiquity and this doesn’t come close which is a pity because I shamelessly adore Winterfylleth.

  • Reese Burns

    Sorry doc, I disagree so hard on this one. It’s an album of the year candidate for me.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Hmmmm bummer… sorry, I don’t hear it.

      • Reese Burns

        It could be my folk/black metal obsession, but this record really spoke to me, even if it’s not as well executed as their others.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I’m glad you like it. I want to love this album, but it’s missing things for me.

  • Kovensky

    The closer, “Led Astray in the Forest Dark”, is actually an english language version / cover of Ulver’s “Capitel I: I Troldskog faren vild”. The killer guitar solo is unfortunately not theirs :/

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh goddammit. No wonder it sounded so familiar. Not sure this makes the album better or worse.

      • Diego Molero

        without haven’t listened to it, I’ll say worse. One of the best song (as said by you), and the killer solo isn’t even by them, plus is the longest song, so that leaves the album with two good actual songs (as said by you).

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Dammit.

        • Here’s Johnny

          Yes but Green Cathedral is better than what most bands can do on whole albums.

      • so much worse

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Sigh… Might have to change the score now…

    • John

      I enjoyed this particular review, but I find it truly shocking how many reviewers fail to acknowledge this fact. People don’t seem to know their “Bergtatt”.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Simple mistake. You’d be amazed how easy it is to become engulfed in review after review.

        • John

          Yeah, I can imagine. :)

  • brklyner

    Since you mentioned Drudkh, what are your favorite Drudkh releases? I keep meaning to dive into their discography, but don’t know where to start.

    • Lord Lucan

      Give Microcosmos a whirl, it’s Drudkh doing what Drudkh do best.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Yes!

        • brklyner

          Thanks guys!

          • Reese Burns

            Autumn Eternal is where it’s at for me!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh man… I actually love them all. But, If I have to pick favorites, I’m going with Autumn Aurora, Blood in Our Wells, and Microcosmos.

      • You wot m8?

        Blood in Our Wells is just so damn delicious…

  • Feytalist

    Not really impressed by this one. Too short, the best track is an Ulver cover, and doesn’t really live up to their previous material at all. It would make a good EP, but full album? Nah.

    The Threnody of Triumph is my personal favourite of theirs, but I’d rather listen to Wodensthrone in any case.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      I resonate with the last sentence on a spiritual level.

    • Lord Lucan

      I was unprepared for being reminded that Wodensthrone are no longer and am now going to spend the rest of the day curled up in the foetal position crying quietly to myself. Straight in the feels.

  • The Unicorn

    ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

  • Richard Bendall

    I mostly agree with this one. I like it and I thought the Ulver cover was a welcome surprise tbh. However it feels too much like a stop-gap album just filling the gap in the years to me. I really enjoyed The Divination of Antiquity and this felt like a bit of a step back to me.

  • Here’s Johnny

    This site loves atmospheric black metal, why they would not like this band beats me. The Mercian Sphere was a fantastic album, the two follow ups very worthy too.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Good Review! I LOOOOOVE Mercian Sphere. So much. Would rate it as one of my very favorite black metal records. Nothing else of theirs has ever hit me as hard, but this new one is definitely a notch above the last two.
    In closing, 3.0 is a pretty solid review for this.
    (And those last two Drudkh songs from the Grift split were soon good)

  • Pedro Morini Mietto

    I think I prefer my fylleth raw.