Winterfylleth - The Threnody Of Triumph
When it comes to me and black metal, I have found myself comparing everything to a band I came across some time ago, Wolves In The Throne Room. Now, I am fully aware of the various subgenres in the subgenre (psychadelic, extreme, gothic, I've even caught wind of something dubbed "post-black", which is ridiculously named), and that not all of it conforms to what WITTR do. But, they've been my favorite in the genre for awhile now, and the apt comparison between them and the UK's Winterfylleth is high praise from me indeed.
Unlike WITTR, however, Winterfylleth are much more approachable, with more concise songs and an album's worth of material that offers a substaintial amount of variety within the droning, atmospheric metal. The Threnody of Triumph is the first experience I've had with the band, and it's been quite the experience. There is a theme threaded within the tracklist, of praise for the dead, of remembering their lives with joy and sorrow both. Bittersweet though the theme may be, the actual music is, for the most part, upbeat and energenic, taking a page from early Ulver and similar acts. The guitar is an ever-present force, providing each song with both a foundation and a flair for the dramatic. The band incorporates softer, acoustic interludes both mid-song and as their own standalone tracks, and "Aefterield Freon" and "Home Is Behind" are both notably catchy, both in their refined writing and in contrast to the more chaotic material they help space out. It is hard to really pick a track or two that stand apart from the rest, as The Threnody of Triumph is a consistently outstanding record front-to-back, but I will say that "The Swart Raven" was the one track I immediately went back to after the first full listen of the album. It does a fantastic job of summing Winterfylleth up in a short amount of time.
The Threnody of Triumph is so far in line with what I consider to be the best of the genre that I dare say it will go down as 2012's best black metal album. I've heard a fair share of it this year, and so much has been lackluster that, perhaps just a little, Winterfylleth's honest and heartfelt approach stands out all the more for it. Either way, fans of Wolves In The Throne Room and their ilk will want to take notice if they haven't already, because here lies a band and an album that are forces to be heeded.
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