The Siege of Mercia


I've always maintained that WINTERFYLLETH is one of the most exciting Black Metal bands out […]
September 17, 2019
Winterfylleth - The Siege of Mercia album cover

I've always maintained that WINTERFYLLETH is one of the most exciting Black Metal bands out there.  Over the course of six previous full-lengths, the band have established themselves as progenitors of a distinctly British sound colored by the extensive folklore native to Albion.  By refusing to be limited by genre, much like PRIMORDIAL, the band expanded preconceived notions and sliced through limitations like Arthur heaving Excalibur through butter.  The band's latest release, "The Siege of Mercia," is a live album recorded at 2017's Bloodstock Festival.

Some folks detest live albums.  Personally, if I find a band particularly enjoyable, I jump at live albums.  This is especially true for bands that may not end up touring here in the U.S.  What I find is intriguing is the ability to get a sense for the innate chemistry of the band and if they are able to pull off the feats accomplished in the studio live.  WINTERFYLLETH is a band that is appealing because of their unique blend of Black Metal and certain Folk elements.  There is an underlying haunting atmosphere in the band's music and the chance to see if that translated well live was irrefusable.

The album overall has a huge and full sound.  No matter how fast or blistering a part is, everything transferred well to the recording.  Sometimes Black Metal bands can translate to cacophony live, but this is certainly not the case as WINTERFYLLETH flex their skills in instrumentation and playing tightly as a focused unit superbly on this recording.  Also, it is quite evident that this is live for there are no noticeable punch-ins or overdubs as can often be the case.

What this album does successfully is create a strong desire within to see the band live, undoubtedly the intended goal in putting it out.  They have certainly succeeded.  Within these six tracks, five live and one instrumental studio track, is contained an invocation of the latent magic of old England, that which flowed through everyone from Merlin to John Dee.  The spellcasting is palpable and arcane mastery inherently runs along throughout.

The album begins with "The Wayfarer (Part 1 The Solitary One Waits for Grace)" from the band's second full-length, "The Mercian Sphere".  It is a ravishing opener that sets a staunch precedent in the live show as it demonstrates the fluidity of the band and their technical prowess.  "The Swart Raven" follows and is taken from their third full-length, "The Threnody of Triumph".  It is a busy track propelled by steady blasting and truly regal chord progressions.  There is a royal air to the melody that is simply indelible.  The latter part is extremely exciting where after a clean vocal section, the band kicks into hyper speed tightly locked in with their brutal blasting.  The band again pulls from their second album for their fourth selection, "A Valley Thick with Oaks".  Dressed with a thick-laden blend of guitar parts, the song brings to life myriad visions of medieval scenes.  One feels the sensation of riding alongside fellow knights as the song continues, on the path to war and copious bloodshed.

"The Siege of Mercia" is a resounding success for WINTERFYLLETH.  Pleasingly, it flows through the five-song set truly pulling one in as an active participant.  Hopefully, the band will come over to the U.S. so we can appreciate their live prowess as our European brothers have.

8 / 10









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"The Siege of Mercia" Track-listing:

1. The Wayfarer (Part 1 The Solitary One Waits for Grace)
2. The Swart Raven
3. Whisper of the Elements
4. A Valley Thick with Oaks
5. Defending the Realm
6. Children of the Stones (Exclusive Synth Version 2019)

Winterfylleth Lineup:

Simon Lucas - Drums, Vocals
Chris Naughton - Vocals, Guitars
Nick Wallwork - Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals
Dan Capp - Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Backing Vocals
Mark Deeks - Keyboards, Backing Vocals

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