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Review: Winterfylleth - The Ghost of Heritage
The Ghost of Heritage

Label: Profound Lore Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 48:54
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: April 17, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
The Ghost of Heritage

Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (7 Votes)

There is no shortage of Folk and Viking Metal these days, with vocalists wailing or screeching about Scandinavian warriors and legends. Celtic legend, by comparison, is somewhat underrepresented. Sure we have Belenos and the irresistible force of Primordial, but the voices of the Celts are largely drowned out by those of the Vikings. Enter Winterfylleth. Hailing from Manchester in the UK, these three fellows aren't much to look at, but by Satan do they blast out some ferocious Celt-inspired Black Metal on their debut long player The Ghost of Heritage.

Winterfylleth waste no time with ambience or atmospheric intros, slamming you face first into a balls out black 'n 'roll riff (hmm…perhaps not the manliest metaphor, what with balls being slammed into faces and such, but you get my drift). While they are in the minority, (the bulk of the album given over to folky acoustics and Drudkh-inspired slow Black Metal), these black 'n' roll riffs appear from time to time to inspire thy head to bang and thy fist to present the horns. "Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)" is the perfect album intro as it announces Winterfylleth's intent via some Belenos-like choral vocals, mid-paced riffing à la Drudkh, furious and pummeling blasting, and some deft tremolo work. Throughout The Ghost of Heritage Winterfylleth keep things varied through effective use of dynamics – slow, medium and fast-paced Black Metal can be found in abundance, as well as some acoustic sections and traditional drum meters. The acoustic sections are very reminiscent of Belenos with the similar wide and tension-building chords that are very effective in delivering either a funereal atmosphere ("The March to Maldon"), or an appropriately watchful grandeur, as in "Guardian of the Herd", which will see you raising your mug in respect to the warriors of old. The riffage throughout is both somber and searing as required, consisting often of flowing chord progression and shapes that perfectly suit the guitar sound, and there are many sections that will stick with you long after the disc stops spinning.

The guitar tone is gritty, crusty and heavily distorted while being clear enough to intimately hear each melody line, and make no mistake, melodic riffs are plentiful throughout the album. The bass is up front and audible, although it is not really doing anything remarkable and the drums sound appropriately meaty, being skillfully handled to deliver the backbone for the diverse song structures and riffs. In addition to playing the guitars and bass C.Naughton also delivers one hell of a performance on the vocals, switching between a blackened raspy screech, a deep deathy growl and a proud warriors baritone. He is no Athelstan, but his performance is stirring (check out the chorus of "Brithnoth: the Battle of Maldon (991 AD)" for the voice of Celtic warriors preparing for battle that his voice communicates.)

The Ghost of Heritage is a remarkable album that blends the autumnal dirges of Drudkh's early work with the pummeling brutality of Belenos and the proud machismo of Forefather ("Defender of the Realm" would make the lads from Leatherhead proud), and then adds an extra touch of seasoning to give them their own sound. The songwriting is excellent throughout, and there are many memorable melodies and rock out riffs amongst the folk and Black Metal. This album is going to appeal to a lot of metalheads as it is furious and melodic while being accessible to any that have spent any time submerged in extreme metal – this is the real deal.

Other related information on the site
Review: The Dark Hereafter (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Mercian Sphere (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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