Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Winterfylleth – The Ghost Of Heritage
So here we have what seems to be a bit of a growing trend in the metal community, a re-issue of an album that only came out a few years ago. I get why it happens, sometimes a band puts out a debut release and maybe the production quality wasn’t quite what they wanted, or the mastering, or something. Then they get a little bigger label behind them and they are able to put out the album the way they really wanted it to be. And that appears to be the case here.
Whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter, because it allowed me to hear this gem of an album. This is the debut release by Winterfylleth and it’s really a good one. I had heard of these guys but never got around to checking them out, so I’m glad this opportunity presented itself.
“The Ghost of Heritage” seems to be written around a historical theme, the Battle of Maldon in 991 AD. The battle took place in England when hordes of Vikings were coming ashore and hoping to pillage and plunder. From what I was able to learn, it seems that many British towns took the path of least resistance and just gave the Vikings what they wanted. But the town leaders of Maldon said, “Not in our house”, or whatever the olde English equivalent was of that. And so there are old poems commemorating this event, and now a very nicely done metal album as well.
I would say this is primarily a black metal album, as most of it is done in that style. And there are of course some trademark acoustic interludes that even fortify the black metal stylings. But there are also moments of some serious blackened thrash, as in the leadoff track “Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)”. There are some really well-crafted songs here such as “Brithnoth The Battle Of Maldon (991 AD)”, title track “The Ghost Of Heritage” and “Guardian Of The Herd”. They are black enough that you definitely know the genre, but they don’t just follow the usual tried and true formulas of the genre and they take you to some new and interesting places. Always the sign of a band that actually has some thoughts as to what a genre could be like and is not just aping what has gone before.
The original version of this album had 9 tracks and that has been augmented for this re-issue with 2 bonus tracks. Unfortunately I was not able to track down whether these bonus tracks were related to the original theme or if they were just written around the time of the original release but maybe left off because they didn’t fit in. Again, whatever the reason they are very good examples of the song writing skills of this band and well worth the inclusion and the time to listen. I mention the time because this is a long album, especially with the addition of two tracks each coming in at around 9 minutes. The album is well worth the listening time and it really is incredible to listen to it all as a piece, just make sure you’ve got the time to sit and enjoy it. Because enjoy it you will.