Manchester’s Winterfylleth, now just over a decade into their existence, and comfortably within a thus-far reliable cycle of a new album every two years, bestow upon us The Hallowing Of Heirdom, their sixth.
For those seeking the slashing rain ‘cross windswept moors, thundering horse-hooves on low country hillocks, and, well, “typical” Winterfylleth Anglo-Saxon blackness, the fact that The Hallowing Of Heirdom is a fully acoustic album will show the band bringing into focus one element of their many-layered sound, which will likely be a treasure. We know what’s behind the curtain, as it were, and it’s vast and glorious.
For those as yet unfamiliar, though, the somber, downtempo quality of the tunes is likely to come across as one-dimensional. Take all this talk of mellow moods and lyrical tales of Earth-worship, crop protection spells, and English pride to mean that THOH is sparse and bare, and you’ll be missing the lush, darkly pastoral landscapes conjured by both string, skin, and voice.
High points are the more-harrowing-than-hallowing “Latch To A Grave,” the ritual of “AEcerbot,” and passionate renderings of related works by Christopher Marlowe (“The Shepherd”) and Sir Walter Raleigh (“The Nymph”).
While The Hallowing Of Heirdom would be a horrible starting point for anyone not familiar with what Winterfylleth has done before for most, there are those who may be drawn into the fold simply by virtue of its singularity within its canon thus far. When it comes to those of us who’ve watched the band grow, though, think of this as music for wine, candlelight, or a silent, solitary stroll ‘cross the misty fields of life.