Winterfylleth are touring their 2020 album, The Reckoning Dawn, for the very first time, with their excellent new lead guitarist Russell Dobson (of Necronautical) on board. Following a very well received set at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, the audience at Glasgow’s Stereo venue are ready to welcome back a band that always delivers live, with a style of black metal that is uniquely their own.
Supporting band, Dread Sovereign, deservedly go down really well with the audience, with their intense take on classic metal and old school doom metal.
Winterfylleth open up their set with Absolved in Fire, from The Reckoning Dawn album. The gorgeous taped acoustic guitar/cello intro is followed by a blizzard of epic electric guitar sounds, with the band at full throttle. This nearly ten-minute piece also has some great contrasting elements, with harmony vocals, and some stunning cymbal patterns, that really accentuate the different musical layers within the music. A guitar solo cuts majestically through the erupting wall of sound, ringing out from the stage. The band of course get a great reception, as Chris Naughton on guitar and lead vocals, reminds everyone that Glasgow was the last place the band played before the pandemic.
A Valley Thick With Oaks, from The Mercian Sphere album, announced as an older song, has the audience clapping along to the introductory riff. If you thought it wasn’t possible to clap along to black metal, think again! The song live has the sweep of classic black metal, mixed with a real swing and dynamic changes of rhythm, that encourages head-banging across the audience. The final section has a lovely harmony chorus, that again underlines Winterfylleth’s creative approach to the black metal genre.
Whisper Of The Elements from the The Divination of Antiquity album journeys into anthemic metal territory, with its striking harmony guitar lead. Drummer Simon Lucas’s blast beats lift the song into the stratosphere, while a quieter section with a folk tinged solo guitar, adds a tender element, that is then shattered by bassist Nick Wallwork’s piercing screams. This is the signal for the number to really hit the intensity button, and then evolve in the final coda, into something with an almost classic rock quality.
From the new album, the title song, The Reckoning Dawn, highlights the sound engineers excellent live sound mix, with a clear separation for all the instruments, and the guitars in particular singing out of the mix, and a sense conveyed of all elements of Simon’s drum kit. The double lead guitar part in the song is a good example of the excellent live sound mix, with its progressive rock tone clearly articulated; somewhat resonant of the band Wishbone Ash, who are the masters of the dual guitar harmony.
A Hostile Fate: The Wayfarer, Pt.4, from The Reckoning Dawn, and Ensigns of Victory from the 2016 album The Dark Hereafter, close the show. A Hostile Fate is a fast paced, almost thrash metal like composition, that sweeps through the audience. The lead guitar phrases have an intriguing Duane Eddy like twang, and the final harmony vocals section beautifully takes flight and hangs in the air.
Ensigns of Victory is full on atmospheric black metal, that is cinematic in its scale, with the fast tremolo parts on the guitars, conjuring up a sense of listening to a flamenco guitar technique in a metal setting. The song is quite literally floor shaking, as the vibrations can be physically felt coming up through the Stereo venue’s floor. The audience let out a roar as the set concludes.
A magnificent live performance then by Winterfylleth, a band that is impressively creative with the black metal genre, and continues to develop musically, both in the studio and on the live stage.
To get a flavour of Winterfylleth live, check out their recently released Live At Bloodstock album from this years iteration of the festival.
All photography by Lewis Allen.
With thanks to Anne Robertson for her musical insights.