Despite the slightly awkward nature of that ‘English Heritage black metal’ tag, Winterfylleth have proved themselves to be not only a formidable outfit, but also a reliable one.
While 2012’s The Threnody Of Triumph is considered by some to be not quite up there with their first two full-lengths, the band’s passionate take on the second wave black metal formula has earned them a position as arguably England’s biggest black metal band and one of the few now recognised by the international scene. Having gently honed their sound since their inception, it’s no surprise to find The Divination Of Antiquity sticking fairly closely to the template the group first introduced on their 2008 debut, The Ghost Of Heritage. Notably slow and emotive riffing sits aside a solid wall of high paced-percussion on the lengthy compositions, creating the sort of hypnotic and atmosphere-rich sound-scapes that make acts such as Drudkh, Wolves In the Throne Room and even Burzum so engaging, while Chris Naughton’s formidable vocals and meandering guitar lines weave in and out of the main flow. Elsewhere, short passages of folky acoustic guitar work provide periodical interludes, breaking up the onslaught while also maintaining the intended aesthetic. The most obvious shift this time around is arguably one of tone. Despite there being many examples of the sombre and reverential feel the band have become known for, there are also nods toward what can best be described as post-black metal/post-metal territories, bringing to mind – in some small way at least – the works of bands such as Alcest, the mechanics of second wave black metal re-appropriated just a tad to take in a more introspective, even sentimental overtone. But that being said, there’s still a definite fury lying at the heart of this work, a fierceness of intent that continues to burn from within the compositions here – indeed, the album itself is definitely something of a slow-burner, not least because of the density of the sound. Stick with it though, and you’ll find plenty of substance.