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Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn Award winner

The Reckoning Dawn
by Aurora Kuczek at 29 May 2020, 7:15 PM

At last he had surfaced. For once in his grave life, he saw the waves breaching a shoreline not too far off in the distance. Surely it could be a mirage, but he was one to believe it. The brave man and his men had at last escaped the sea. WINTERFYLLETH’s latest release entitled, “The Reckoning Dawn,” is a masterpiece of delightful awe. The project formed in 2007, and are from Manchester, England. They are a black metal band, exhibiting elements of atmospheric black metal, as well as folk. Their name originates from an Old English word meaning October. WINTERFYLLETH has put out a number of full length albums with this one a mere collection of all the wonderous sounds produced in the past. There are acoustical parts mixed into the albums with a whole instrumental track, synths, chorus parts, and astounding riffs that they layer on top of one another. WINTERFYLLETH also continues the journey of the Wayfarer after ten years. Their words read like a story, and if listening or reading the album from start to finish, it magically blends into a poetic masterpiece of raw sounds and chosen phrases. The project is truly one that is rooted in ancient times and feelings, with the latest release a continuation of their story.

With a power so strong that one has to succumb, the cruel tale begins by “Misdeeds Of Faith,” in a majestic journey. It is quite ethereal. Drums double kick, pumping the water that flows through the grass in the early morning. There is a slight breakdown and the key changes. A foreboding melody remembers days past out on the sea where storms would break the ships in two. The men lock their ship and jump overboard into the salty water with their belongings. Likewise, the pitch changes and there is a higher ambience to the alluring atmosphere. “A Hostile Fate (The Wayfarer Pt. 4)” harmonizes its bass with a repetition of similar tones from the previous song, but also of other WINTERFYLLETH releases. A jarring fragility ravages the daylight, and without glance, a carefully planned tremolo picking conquers their thoughts. The men dip their boots into the cold sand, their legs wavering at their hips. A high pitched voice screams through the daylight, but subsequently fades. They explored the land. The brave man wanted to save the rest of his surviving men, but he knew that he could not. The double kick of the drums enters like fire igniting folksier elements. It is a continuation of their “The Mercian Sphere” (2010) and the project tells more of what was once forgotten. The track trails off dramatically. A climbing riff is played over the white noise of the tremolo picking in the background, something WINTERFYLLETH conquers remarkably. A synth surfaces and a chorus sings without words. “Absolved In Fire” begins quite acoustically. Simple chords carry the tale further, and thought-spoken words are not said aloud. It is quite spookily rooted in some foreign, ancient history. Suddenly, the temple of humidity and clouds rain down upon the men, and they rush to the trees from the beach to get some cover. A blossoming fire reigns in the thickets of their throats. The rhythm shifts and forms something different. There is now a darker melody, and gloomy synths. A screaming lingers through the tepid air, shrieking with a dun, melodious strumming. The chorus begins again, solemn in its place. “The Reckoning Dawn” is earnest, but starts quite ordinary. It is typical for the genre with notes of black metal. At seemingly odd points, the song gets louder. The frequency alters to suit more drawn out notes and phrases for a lasting dimmer sensation. It is folksier and bluesy, straying much from the previous tracks. Through the lengths that do not have words, it is the most instrumentally crafted piece, yet strange to think it is in the middle of the album. The wanderers find cover under a large tree made of dense wood with leaves that look like ocean waves, mocking them in their defeat. The brave man who leads them, looks back to the ship a distance off. He then looks behind him and his men to see a canopy of forest that guide to uncertainties. For this mirage had led them into something perilous, but as to what the man thought, it is nothing but a mere feeling for him. The song ends with a magnificently. It can only be described as love after a heartbreak. “A Greatness Undone” is a continuation of the previous notes, but is not as astonishing. It has a blackened-folk nature with an acoustical scenery in the middle of the song. The guitars breach a middle-eastern setup, but remains on simpler scales. It is a slower track, quite somber with powerful, dis-heartening riffs. As the track ends on a mighty note, the wanderers trudge deeper into the uncharted land. The brave man counts their steps and watches the sun glides into the night. The men decide to camp on the land, fearing for they can hear the waves no longer. The night brings them howls and the sky’s light. “Betwixt Two Crowns” is an instrumental track. WINTERFYLLETH’s instrumental moments are ones of great beauty, and shall always be longed for. This track’s elegance lies in the classical soundscape it creates, and in the scenery it portrays. The acoustics are romantically harmonious and tranquil, with smoothness in its short lived composition. “Yielding The March Law” swiftly changes the mood with celestial and forceful riffs of the electric guitars. As the drums double kick and the bass lowers the tone, the guitars string on for more energetic dynamics. Tremolo picking plays again like white noise in the background, while simple guitars move down the scale note by note upheaving the static. Tears stream down the brave man’s face in the morrow. He had lost two of his men by the hand of the night. A chorus chimes in and slaps the man across the cheek. The sounds are eerie, but the harmonizing synths establish a more meaningful awakening. The pitch changes, as so often it does, and the melody dissipates in a blend of notes before fading out. The surviving men pick up their belongings, and go deeper into the land as the clock watches their backs. “In Darkness Begotten,” the final track of the album, begins with a harsh thumping and dragged out guitars. The higher notes finish the tale that it had started with a hopeful smile. A voice, coarse from the travels, breathes into the landscape. It is quite abstract as compared to previously held tracks. In its intangibility, one can touch its marvelous nature. The voice fades like a whisper into the background, and the notes lower to compensate for the rhythmic patterns of the beyond. Layered synths come forth to make a strange blend of vivid notes. The brave man pushes the branches aside to see that they had come to a small village that lie not too far away. His men make a clatter in their joyousness, but the brave man senses some sort of horror. This is the horror that he had felt when first arriving at the land. The remaining men argue with the brave man, who insists on them heading home. They end in disagreement. Heatedly, his men walk towards the village, while the brave man walks back to where they came from to return to his ship of wandering. During the next night, the brave man tries to ignore the screams from the dying village he turned away from.

WINTERFYLLETH’s “The Reckoning Dawn,” is a graceful tale of the unknown. Notes are carefully selected, and words chosen just so. At times the tracks are angelic, whereas other times they are very somber. This battle between the heavens peaks its delight at moments throughout the album. Although I do believe there is nothing too original in the ideas, it is more of a refinement for WINTERFYLLETH. Furthermore, it is also a challenge. The story lives on to see more days by trudging up past ideas and morphing them into what the project really aims to do. The tale closes with wonderous harmonics and words that only speak to those who listen.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Misdeeds of Faith
2. A Hostile Fate (The Wayfarer Pt. 4)
3. Absolved in Fire
4. The Reckoning Dawn
5. A Greatness Undone
6. Betwixt Two Crowns
7. Yielding the March Law
8. In Darkness Begotten
Simon Lucas – Drums, Percussion, and Vocals (spoken word)
Chris Naughton – Vocals, Guitars (rhythm, acoustic), and Bass
Nick Wallwork – Bass, Guitars (acoustic), and Vocals (backing)
Dan Capp – Guitars (lead, acoustic), Bass (acoustic), and Vocals (backing)
Mark Deeks – Keyboards and Vocals (backing)
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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