Winterfylleth – The Mercian Sphere
Winterfylleth in Old English means “winter full moon” which I particularly hate due to my hatred of snow and cold weather. Thankfully the hatred doesn’t extend to bands who name themselves after such things, even if I’m not quite sure how to pronounce their name. The band hails from the UK and this is their second full-length album.
The Mercian Sphere features ten songs of black metal. There’s plenty of hyper-fast drums with the prerequisite double kick-drums and the band has its share of buzzsaw guitar riffs. The vocals are growled with a slight mechanized effect put on them which sounds very cool and is a little reminiscent of 1349. Where the band really shines is not only in the atmospheric tones they create but also the band doesn’t stick to the hyper-speed pace and often have breaks in songs where they slow things down and get melodic and catchy. The contrast helps give the band’s material an actual sense of emotion and that they don’t always have to drill their point across at one constant speed. This really helps distinguish one song from the next, and Winterfylleth from a lot of bands playing the same style of music. It is this kind of musical diversity in the songwriting that makes bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, and now Winterfylleth really stand out and garner many repeated listens to their records.
The songs on The Mercian Sphere are also on the longer end of the spectrum with many approaching the ten minute mark. They warrant the lengthier track time with these complex compositions that take time to build and develop. The album clocks in at just over an hour which is a healthy amount of music for your money, especially because the entire album is interesting from start to finish. I never once found myself skipping tracks even after repeated listens, which is something I find extremely rare. This has been a strong year for metal, and Winterfylleth just made the year an even stronger one.