Reviewed: November 2016
Released: 2016, Candlelight
Reviewer: Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
Death and stagnation are, in my mind, the same thing. If you aren’t growing, you’re shrinking. Or worse, you cease to be altogether. The UK’s finest pagan drone-ish blackened metal paragon WINTERFYLLETH have created a solid effort in “THE DARK HEREAFTER,” but unlike previous efforts, there is minimal expansion upon their admittedly excellent formula: to me, this is a problem.
Still present are the river-flowing tremolo guitars, the trancelike blastbeats, and Chistopher Naughton’s raw hawk-screech vocals. Also returning are well-placed mellow breaks combined with chantlike drone vocal bits. The music still does a superb job at conveying WINTERFYLLETH’s bleak, greyskies ancestral homeland. With their longest piece on this record, “Green Cathedral”, the band leans out a little by layering atop their usual melancholic drone some folkish elements that are distantly reminiscent of an AGALLOCH track. The spoken word outro on this dirge is especially chilling. Wrapping up the album is an English-language cover of Ulver’s “I Troldskog Faren Vild,”which despite being excellently executed represents such a departure from WINTERFYLLETH’s scraggle-mossy aesthetic as to be jarring.
Make no mistake, “THE DARK HEREAFTER” is a fine record. It hits a lot of pleasant notes and does not stumble. But its weakness is its mildness: each track ran through me like a sip of cola, leaving minimal trace of WINTERFYLLETH’s usually-magical presence. These lads have incredible talent and have justly carved a niche for themselves in a crowded metal world. What they haven’t done this time is live up to their own gifts.
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