Reviewed: October 2019
Released: 2019, Candlelight Records
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
If there’s one thing the live album format is brilliant for, it is to remind gig and festival goers of the many fun times they had when they caught their favourite bands and artists live. In this case, I was affectionately reminded of the time I saw UK black metal stalwarts Winterfylleth live at Bloodstock in 2017.
I remember watching these guys blast their pristine black metal rages into the crowd in a manner that amazed me and my friends, for we had long held the belief that Winterfylleth’s music would not translate well to the open-air stage.
However, The Siege of Mercia has reminded me how these blokes worked their magic with the PA system and made that field in Derbyshire alive and energised as the crowd greets them from the moment you put this album on to play.
The happiness of the band members as they talk to the crowd between each track explains how much fun the guys are having as they plunge into classics like ‘The Swart Raven’ and ‘A Valley Thick With Oaks’. Winterfylleth sound as good on this album as they would do on one of their studio releases, and the addition of the excited crowd’s ‘oozing aahs’ adds spine-tingling depth to their atmosphere.
I can only say it ends on the best choice of songs with the guys playing their famous piece ‘Defending the Realm’ in a way only tremolo picking and blast beat instrumentation can deliver. Having the band thank the crowd for their devotion makes you warm inside knowing your love of this band’s music is much appreciated before it is played out with a synthesiser version of the instrumental track ‘Children of the Stones’.
This is Winterfylleth at their best and this kind of album would serve well for fans who have not yet had the chance to catch them live. So if you want to know how good a show these boys from Manchester can put on, check out The Siege of Mercia.