Ancient folklore, legends and myths are widely used as sources of inspiration for many bands within the rock and metal scene. The lads from Winterfylleth turned to the classic tales of Anglo-Saxon England for lyrical and musical themes. These guys bring their music with conviction as shown on The Mercian Sphere. Let’s see what their Northern Heritage Metal is all about.
Musically speaking The Mercian Sphere reminds me a lot of older material by Enslaved (pre Monumension), Borknagar (The Archaic Course) and Agalloch (The Grey Mantle). Most of the presented compositions are fast paced, often at blast beat speed. They do feature mid tempo parts, that add to the overall dynamics and present the opportunity for more melodic moments. This is demonstrated to great effect in songs like The Wayfarer Part 1 (The Solitary One Waits For Grace), The Wayfarer Part 2 (Awakens He, Bereft Of Kinsmen) and The Ruin.
Winterfylleth really shine on the longer, more epic tracks, where they manage to combine traditional black metal with more folk influenced moments and melodic parts. For instance The Honour Of Good Men On The Path To Eternal Glory, The Wayfarer Part Three (To Find Solace..Where Security Stands), A Valley Thick Of Oaks and Defending The Realm. Special mentions should go to Children Of The Stones and When The Woods Were Young. These melodic and folk influenced instrumentals serve as soothing counterbalances to the faster paced aggressive material. They also enhance the overall atmosphere on The Mercian Sphere.
Winterfylleth isn’t pushing the creative envelope on The Mercian Sphere by adding all kinds of progressive twists and turns to their music, like their counterparts in Borknagar and Enslaved. It’s the sheer conviction and sincerity of the band which radiates through their music. That’s exactly what makes The Mercian Sphere such a memorable effort.
If you’re looking for an honest slab of memorable metal with a massive historical edge and lots of atmosphere, then The Mercian Sphere by Winterfylleth is the record to go for!
written by Raymond Westland