Since we already have several sub-types of black metal such as National Socialist black metal (lol) or depressive/suicidal black metal, I think the Brits of Winterfylleth have established a new frontier for unnecessary labels. I'm calling this Churchill black metal; looks nice next to NSBM or DSBM, doesn't it? Anyway, Winterfylleth hails from England, and many of their lyrical themes are related to the pride and joys of being an Englishman, and although you may find labels or gimmicks about black metal humorous, Winterfylleth is not the butt of the joke. "The Ghost of Heritage," the band's first full-length release, justifies its black metal roots with Winterfylleth's sonic malevolence, somewhat layered in the vein of fellow countrymen Wodensthrone and others.
Given the lush artwork and relatively historic labels clearly relating to heritage and their home, many could accurately presume that Winterfylleth might be some sort of an anomaly compared to the usual Burzum-ish black metal band. Those moments are here, of course, but Winterfylleth consequently incorporates many outside renderings, such as pristine sprinkles of folk influence and instrumentation, mid-paced antics used for pretty much the whole album—blast beats and other traits occur too, in case the faster side of your interests are disappointed—and even male choirs make an appearance; definitely not cheesy choirs, but very authentic and meaningful chimes which all produce a somber, excellent atmosphere. Mid-paced black metal usually does little for me, but I frequently find myself deeply enjoying every part of "The Ghost of Heritage" regardless.
The general sense of cohesiveness found throughout the whole album is magnetic to every asset "The Ghost of Heritage" has to offer. The guitar parts generally match the dark, foreboding atmosphere the band tries to achieve, yet simultaneously ring in familiarities of previous black metal leaders. The climbing, epic habitats of "Forging the Iron of England" or "Defending the Realm" lead the artistic and creative talents of these Englishmen with sensational musical pieces crawling through every facet of a heroic saga with utter ease, and it's certainly fun to witness the utter dominance they emit without changing much on the musical end. "Guardian of the Herd" and "The March of Maldon" are largely folk-fused pieces, and probably my favorite tracks; the atmosphere they paint is nothing short of magical.
One could say that Winterfylleth’s interoperation of black metal isn't a riveting purge into a new world the sub-genre has yet to unearth, yet the bare essence of the musicality makes "The Ghost of Heritage" a warming listen enrapturing a number of atmospheres to do its bidding. Maybe its the lyrical themes or the natural ties Winterfylleth boasts, but the amount of care and emotion poured upon the opus is certainly a feat worth experiencing, and it doesn't hurt that the overall package has the riffs and formulas to feasibly represent the lavish landscape captured by the album's core. It would be gravely foolish of you to skip over Winterfylleth if you have even the slightest interest in black metal.