Monday 8 June 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Winterfylleth, "The Reckoning Dawn"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/05/2020
Label: Candlelight Records |
Spinefarm Records

“The Reckoning Dawn” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Misdeeds of Faith
2. A Hostile Fate (The Wayfarer Pt. 4)
3. Absolved In Fire
4. The Reckoning Dawn
5. A Greatness Undone
6. Betwixt... Two Crowns
7. Yielding The March Law
8. In Darkness Begotten

The Review:

Winterfylleth are certainly my favourite British black metal band and are becoming my favourite black metal band generally. It's a genre I only dip into, but there is something about Winterfylleth's hymns to nature that resonates with me strongly. I loved “The Hallowing of Heirdom” back in 2018 as a dark-folk detour, and I loved “The Dark Hereafter” prior to that, and “The Mercian Sphere” and... well, you get the picture.

Firstly, it's the sound and speed that grab you. Opener “Misdeeds of Faith” is immense in its velocity and size. I have no information about where this was recorded (Foel Studios), but I am wagering it was with Chris Fielding (it was) at the helm- I'd know that cavernous tom sound anywhere! The almost Gregorian backing vocals are a neat touch and the riffs and pacing confirm that the band are back to atmospheric black metal with a vengeance.

As the band has developed a recognisable sound over time, that sound is very much honed to perfection here. The songs are of course lengthy, so over the course of eight tracks each song can blur into the next. That's no criticism as Winterfylleth develop soundscapes as much as songs.

There is a continuation of “The Wayfarer” saga in “A Hostile Fate”, acoustic beauty and righteous musical fury on “Absolved In Fire”, a Sabbath -esque acoustic interlude “Betwixt Two Crowns” and classic Winterfylleth styled black metal on the title track. It's all played and delivered very convincingly and the organic sound combined with the fiery performances make this a superb entry into Winterfylleth's canon.

Where this will sit in their discography I am not yet sure- I like all of their albums and it is hard to rank them- “Threnody of Triumph” was the first one I heard, so perhaps I would pick that as my favourite? Or maybe “The Divination of Antiquity” as I listened to that one a great deal on release and it has been one I keep going back to. Pointless lists aside, I can confidently say that the band has never made a bad or even average album- it's all at least good. “The Reckoning Dawn” follows that excellent track record and it's to the band's credit that they have delivered such a convincing black metal record after they branched out so widely last time around.

The band are at their best on this record. It is an absolute masterpiece of black metal brilliance. With several tracks over eight minutes and beyond, it's hard to write about standout songs or tracks, but if push came to shove I may have to pick the aforementioned “Absolved In Fire” (that riff at six and a half minutes!) and “Yielding The March Law”- they both encapsulate what is great about Winterfylleth both in 2020 and in years prior. The band are on their way to becoming as timeless as the lands they revere and are only improving with age. My worship at their green cathedral has been reinvigorated and it's a joy- albeit an often bleak and melancholic one- to listen to.

“The Reckoning Dawn” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook