From the first droning pastoral notes of Winterfylleth’s 2018 opus to the cathartic string and vocal combinations on the eponymous track, “The Hallowing of Heirdom” delivers all the atmosphere and groundedness we’ve come to associate with Winterfylleth’s music, but in an acoustic neofolk vessel instead of black metal.
For those new to the band this record provides a touchpoint to work backwards through their catalog since their metal releases draw from the same roots, but for committed fans this represents a big shift in style. Regardless of your disposition towards acoustic music, this album is chock full of the same spirit which distinguished Winterfylleth from their peers in the first place, and should be taken as a serious effort instead of an experiment.
As different as “The Hallowing of Heirdom” is from the band’s previous sonic approach, it remains faithful to one of the best aspects of the genre: respectful, thoughtful treatment of source material. Although many other bands in the genre can approach folk traditions as a convenient writing topic or as a trend, Winterfylleth is a shining example of a group which takes it seriously. For the nerds among us, these songs are a goldmine of topics to learn about and provide an excellent soundtrack to reading history or mythology.
It’s difficult to imagine that a long-time Winterfylleth fan would not be enchanted by this record. That being said, it is an acoustic album without a strong rhythmic component and many metal listeners may be put off by that. If, however, your interest in pagan metal stems from an interest in actual history, culture and myth this is an enjoyable development in an already great band’s sound.
Label: Spinefarm Records (2018)
1. The Shepherd
5. Elder Mother
7. A Gleeman’s Volt
8. Latch to a Grave
9. The Nymph
11. Resting Tarn
12. The Hallowing of Heirdom