Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity - (8/10)
Published on October 20, 2014
Formed in 2007, English atmospheric black metal band Winterfylleth has carved out a reputation for themselves as one of the best active English black metal bands. Now on their fourth full length album, The Divination of Antiquity, the band shows no sign of slipping in quality, as The Divination of Antiquity is an excellent release with some truly exceptional moments.
The Divination of Antiquity is not a drastic departure from Winterfylleth’s previous album, The Threnody of Triumph. All of the hallmarks of Winterfylleth’s atmospheric, folk-influenced sound, including tremolo-picked riffs, snare-heavy blast beats, harsh rasps, and baritone chanting are all on full display here. Songs are long; except for the mostly instrumental “The World Ahead” all songs go over six minutes, and most go over eight. But on the whole, this album seems much fresher and more inspired than The Threnody of Triumph.
It’s also much more immediate. The greatest strength of The Divination of Antiquity is its sense of beautiful, haunting melody. The title track, “Whisper of the Elements,” and “Forsaken in Stone” are all instantly catchy, with the closing segment of “The Divination of Antiquity” being perhaps the album’s best moment. The heavier tracks like “Warrior Herd” and “Foundations of Ash” are also quite solid and contain melodic moments, they’re just slightly less accessible.
The Divination of Antiquity does have some minor flaws. It runs the danger being repetitive due to the blast beats sounding very similar from song to song, but the guitars generally do a good job of giving the songs unique identities. The repetitive riffs and blasts make the 56 minute running time feel longer in spots, but not quite to the point of being filler or being boring.
“Atmospheric” is a term tossed around to describe a lot of black metal bands these days, and the genre is saturated with bands labelled atmospheric that don’t really sound much alike. Nevertheless, Winterfylleth is one of the better bands with that tag and considering the sweeping, majestic feel of The Divination of Antiquity “atmospheric” is as good an adjective as any to describe Winterfylleth. Lacking the post feel of genre titans Drudkh and not as folk oriented as Agalloch, Winterfylleth’s relatively straightforward, melodic approach is utilized to great effect on The Divination of Antiquity. It’s probably their best since their debut, The Ghost of Heritage. Fans of atmospheric black metal will no doubt find much to enjoy on this release.