I’m walking through a forest. There are subtle whispers in amidst the lingering fog. A twinkle of sunlight struggles its way through the stretching branches of the tall bare oaks. A rabbit darts into view, its eyes glint and flicker and in a pang of fear it bolts to its burrow.
If you want to go there, plug your earphones in, sit back and listen to this second album from British band Winterfylleth.
The Mercian Sphere may be packed with the kind of energy you would expect from a black metal album, but that’s not simply it. Winterfylleth have successfully demonstrated that they can mingle some beautiful ambient and acoustic sounds into their music without it feeling out of place at all. The transitions that take place are stunning.
Not being afraid of trying a lovely folk melody, Children Of The Stones has a Nick Drake feel to it, and is performed just as well as the heavier songs on the record.
Winterfylleth gambled when they put two songs over 10 minutes at the core of the album. Nevertheless, it has paid off. Both songs reaffirm that they have the talent to transcend into differing atmospheres, making you feel as if you’re a part of a long medieval journey.
The mixing of the album reminds me of the way Finnish band Moonsorrow have recorded in the past. The vocal shouting isn’t completely at the forefront of the mixing, which allows the instruments to take prevalence (without drowning out the vocals) and generate a powerful balance.
Defending The Realm is a great example of how Winterfylleth can transcend from harsh bombarding screams to anthem-like, epic vocal harmonising. The result is a polished finish to a fantastic album.