“Come live with me and be my love” are not the kind of opening lyrics you expect from a veteran Black Metal band. But in new album, The Hallowing of Heirdom (Candlelight) the UK’s premier Black Metal act Winterfylleth have gone full acoustic. No blast beats, not screaming howls, no buzzsaw riffs. Just beautiful acoustic warmth.
Twelve tracks of mellow, beautiful, and sweetly melancholic acoustic folk with acoustic guitars, violins, and harmonised vocals, The Hallowing of Heirdom, represents a side to the band only very occasionally hinted at (although fans of guitarist Dan Capps ‘heathen folk’ project Wolcensmen will likely be right at home). It’s as different from the earlier material as Opeth’s Damnation was to its predecessors, but no less enjoyable than their day-to-day fare. The warm textures of ‘Shepherd’ or ‘Æcerbot’ bring up images of walking through the forests and the hills, while the likes of ‘Elder Mother’ and ‘Latch To A Grave’ feel like music to listen to while huddling by the fire in the cold winter month.
Winterfylleth have crafted a wonderful collection of musical movements here. Hardly a duff note to be found, and it’s a testament to the band’s skill to create something so pleasant yet so contrasting to the rest of their back catalogue. At nearly an hour long, there’s a lot of take in, but treating it as one long piece of music to slowly inhale all at once Is probably the best way to experience it rather than cherry-picking a few songs for a playlist.
The Hallowing of Heirdom represents a deep dive into a rarely shown aspect of Winterfylleth. Anyone looking for a traditional Black Metal experience will need to look elsewhere, but anyone willing to go on a journey across the ancient English countryside will find plenty to explore.