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Winterfylleth - "The Dark Hereafter" (CD)

Winterfylleth - "The Dark Hereafter" CD cover image

"The Dark Hereafter" track listing:

1. The Dark Hereafter
2. Pariah's Path
3. Ensigns of Victory
4. Green Cathedral
5. Led Astray in the Forest Dark

Reviewed by on October 27, 2016

"''The Dark Hereafter' is a solid album which puts Winterfylleth forward as one of the best young(er) black metal acts in the world today...'"

Black metal outside of Scandinavia after 1993 has always been viewed with an air of suspicion. There are those who feel that the "second wave" of the genre, focused predominantly in Norway, was the last "true" era of the field and those who see that as an important, but ultimately another chapter in the history of a genre which traces its roots back to the north of England. Speaking of which, England has often been left out of the black metal scene since Venom but Winterfylleth, now on their fifth album, may just be the group that stakes their claim as Britain's premier black metal band of more recent times and their new album, "The Dark Hereafter" seems to prove this.

The title track kicks off the five song record with a relentless display, which continues for much of the album, shades of Emperor but by no means a carbon copy. The song, again like the record itself, is also full of subtlety, particularly on the melodic front. The cold brutality of the song still displays wonderful soundscapes, much like their third track, "Ensigns of Victory."

Perhaps the best examples of the lush melodies working side by side with the freezing metal guitar riffs is on the superb, "Green Cathedral," a thirteen minute piece with little vocals in the grand scheme, though the ones that are utilised provide a haunting atmosphere, which embellished all the more by the ambient introduction and spoken word outro. The whole track is a minimalist epic which ever so slowly builds upon itself and keeps the goal in focus, all of which helps make it one of the best tracks over ten minutes on any album this year.

All in all, "The Dark Hereafter" is a solid album which puts Winterfylleth forward as one of the best young(er) black metal acts in the world today, as they're consistently putting out high quality work which also works excellently in a live setting. It's a record full of unforgiving "classic" sounding black metal with an intelligent craft behind it, separating Winterfylleth from the clones of Immortal and Darkthrone that litter the modern scene.

Highs: "Green Cathedral" is a near classic, the marriage of melody and monstrosity is a winning formula

Lows: Perhaps won't win over skeptics of the genre as it could be too harsh for some people

Bottom line: Another well crafted and impressive release from England's premier black metal band.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)