For most following up such an incredible release that The Dark Hereafter is would be an insurmountable task. An album that made many a best of 2016 lists including ours. You can read our review of that record here.
Barely two years later, Winterfylleth are back with a new album and it’s a little different to say the least. Always pushing the boundaries of what black metal can be, The Hallowing of Heirdom is 12 tracks of folk melody. Melancholic music that drips in atmosphere.
A fascinating listen as it eschews any sense of tradition, instead focusing on the softer elements that have always been present in the band’s music. This does mean there are some genuinely wonderful moments such as the emotional melody of Æcerbot, the subtle strumming of Embers and the darkened turn that Latch to a Grave gives.
Tracks that serve as an incredible reminder of the song-writing ability of Winterfylleth. The British five-piece have really taken a chance here and it will be hardly a surprise that it might leave a few fans feeling cold.
The biggest question that comes up while listening to The Hallowing of Heirdom is if it really should be 12 tracks long. This kind of experimentation in a release seems as though it would be a better fit for an EP & it’s a big ask for any fan to sit through 55 minutes of folk melodies. There is little justification for the likes of Halgemonath or A Gleeman’s Volt, tracks that have ‘intermission’ written all over them. The problem with this is what might work as the filling of two black metal slices of bread, here the soft morose tune is book-ended by the exact same thing just without vocals.
Talking of which…the highlight of the record are the excellent vocals, a mix of folk singing and chants delivered in haunting & mournful style.
The Hallowing of Heirdom is not a bad album, absolutely not. In fact at times it’s a great effort that provides excellent melancholic-infused folk tunes. Unfortunately its length means you’re likely to start switching off before you’re even close to the end.
Winterfylleth – The Hallowing of Heirdom Full Track Listing:
1. The Shepard
5. Elder Mother
7. A Gleeman’s Volt
8. Latch to a Grave
9. The Nymph
11. Resting Tarn
12. The Hallowing of Heirdom
Give it a listen yourself below via Apple Music.
Winterfylleth - The Hallowing of Heirdom (Spinefarm Records)
The Final Score - 7/10