Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph

It is no secret that LURKER loves Winterfylleth. From the early days of seeing them arrive fully formed into the dive bars and sweat-stench pubs of Camden to the recent triumph of an awe-inspiring support slot with Primordial, it’s fair to say that the theme has been one of a band constantly surpassing their own high standards. The Mercian Sphere was a masterpiece that perfectly distilled the essence of Slavic black metal before filtering through a distinctly English lens and ultimately creating a work that played a major part in creating a coherent UK black metal scene for the first time ever. Beyond this, along with Wodensthrone’s Loss, England had also produced a band and an album that could stand triumphantly on a global stage and hold its own against a worldwide extreme metal scene.

Winterfylleth have gone from strength to strength since then and it is fair to state that they now stand as a live force among the most essential in extreme metal. The question then becomes “how can this get any better?” and it isn’t without baited breath that The Threnody of Triumph arrives to answer just that question.

Within a minute of the strains of opener ‘A Thousand Winters’ issuing forth, all doubt, trepidation and concern is swept aside in a glorious movement of utter defiance to any that would question the trajectory of this most visionary of bands. Threnody takes the blueprint laid down by The Mercian Sphere and The Ghost of Heritage and builds a monument of utter brilliance upon an already superlative foundation. Riffs pummel from all angles as its sheer musicality tears asunder any preconceptions about how this ultimately would have been delivered. The majestic scale of the thing is so inspiring that a palpable feeling of grandeur becomes the dominant subtext, each section swelling into an impossibly emotive crescendo.

And emotive is exactly what this album is. Unbearable, heart-wrenching pathos permeates every section of this beautifully mournful work. A swan-song to forgotten Albion and a form of our Isles that may never have existed outside of tale, but somehow endures in nostalgia and the quiet longing of anyone who has stood in open English land and wistfully dreamed of elder days.

This is a landmark release that by all rights will propel Winterfylleth to a far wider conciousness. This is more than an extreme metal release and a work that is beyond being constrained by one particular scene. With The Threnody of Triumph, Winterfylleth have succeeded in creating a record that will transcend labels and preconceptions about target audiences. It will appeal across the spectrum of anyone who has ever taken the slightest interest in metal of any description and, once again, the gauntlet can only be thrown down to the band with a strong sense of “how can they ever top this?” If past evidence is anything to go by, they will find a way.

The Threnody of Triumph is slated for a September release through Candlelight.

18 Comments

  • Reply July 31, 2012

    Steve

    Very, very average BM. Cheesy and regressive.

    • Reply July 31, 2012

      Pavel

      Translation: “This black metal sounds too much like black metal for me.”

      • Reply August 1, 2012

        Steve

        Or, like I said above – it’s very average, cheesy BM. They aren’t excusive.

        • Reply August 1, 2012

          Pavel

          You still don’t get it. Two of black metal’s greatest strengths are its total regressiveness and its utter disregard for received notions of what is “cheesy.”

          • August 1, 2012

            steve

            I don’t think *you* get it all; the idea that BM’s ‘strength’ is schlock and pomp is so stupid that it makes me wonder if you’ve been living in a hole for the last 10 years. On the contrary, black metal’s strength has been its ability to swallow up other genres and spit them back out even more black. This album would have sounded dated 15 years ago. Rubbish.

  • Reply July 31, 2012

    Linda

    By the amount of times you write ‘transcend’, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what the word actually means. This seems like bog standard ‘epic’ (uggh) BM to me, by numbers. Uk BM really is shit at the mo.

    • Reply August 1, 2012

      Alex

      He wrote ‘transcend’ once…

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    raven

    “palpable feeling of grandeur”

    Ugh, everything I hate about it. This review is embarrassing, too, which suits the subject matter I guess…

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    John

    Whats embarrassing Linda/Steve/raven is that we get all your IP address details when you post and we know you’re the same person. Thanks for your thought though.

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    trevor

    This isn’t good.

  • Reply August 1, 2012

    Craig

    For a different and considerably less acrimonious perspective, I liked but didn’t love Mercian Sphere. The main thing that bugged me about it was the ponderous chanting they periodically resorted to in an apparent attempt to make some of the songs more “epic”. The first two tracks in particular each culminate with over a full minute of uninteresting, repetitive shantey (I skimmed the album again to refresh my memory). It probably works okay live, but recorded it’s not only monotonous but also strikes me as kind of pompous. All it would have needed is some gradual development of the harmonies or the arrangement. Hearing the same few notes over and over without variation isn’t engaging.

    There’s also that inoffensive but way too long instrumental that follows the first few tracks. If it had been a brief interlude, it might have been an interesting segue into the next track, but at nearly five minutes it’s a complete momentum killer. As with the chanting, it doesn’t really develop or make a statement, nor is it especially atmospheric or haunting. And what does a violin have to do with the Anglo-Saxon days of yore? Why not feature a harp or some other thematically appropriate instrument if celebrating Old English heritage is your band’s mission statement?

    Complaints aside, I enjoy their music overall and find the subject matter and lyrics highly appealing, so I’ll certainly give the new album a chance. It was also John’s review that turned me onto Daath Shadow, so he obviously has SOME taste.

  • Reply August 2, 2012

    David Dutch Pearce

    I really dug the Mercian Sphere, so I’m looking forward to hearing this. Anyone else get these guys mixed up with that other BM band that just released an album called Cursed or something? Can’t remember their name right now . . .

    • Reply August 2, 2012

      DDP

      WODENSTHRONE!

  • Reply September 13, 2012

    Anonymous

    its a bit boring

  • Reply September 19, 2012

    Anonymous

    yawn…..wodensthrone rip off!!

  • Reply October 20, 2012

    RapeTheDead

    People whose musical opinions I usually trust and share a lot of parallels with recommended this to me, it was my first exposure to Winterfylleth and went into it feeling good. Honestly, though, it’s really comparable to Wolves in the Throne Room in the sense that they have a bunch of nameless riffs focused more on texture than taste, so all the songs end up saying the exact same thing and it wears thin pretty quickly. A lot of the more minimal, atmospheric facets of this UKBM are quite similar; too few good ideas over a too-long running time.

    Forefather and The Meads of Asphodel are cool, though.

    • Reply October 24, 2012

      Pavel

      i know what you’re talking about and i really hate WITTR, but i do think these guys have a lot more going on. more definition to the riffs, and more balls in general. latter half of the album is much stronger than the first, IMO.

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