Winterfylleth push boundaries of British extreme metal
Formed in 2007 with the intention of honouring England’s proud ancestral heritage and rich national culture, Winterfylleth (comprised of members culled from the UK’s most devastating doom contingent Atavist) set a solidified mission statement to bring awareness to England’s historical stories, folklore, landscapes and ancestral past through their folk-influenced vitriolic black metal.
Coining the term English Heritage Black Metal (EHBM), Winterfylleth (which translates into Winter Full Moon from the Olde English language) represents the first full moon in October as well as the Anglo-Saxon festival of the arrival of winter. With their “Rising of the Winter Full Moon” demo, they generated a massive response in the underground, causing them to be signed up by Profound Lore Records (Leviathan, Xasthur, Wold, Altar of Plagues etc). Rising of the Winter Full Moon displayed a fierce focused vision of what Winterfylleth wanted to achieve through their music, and with their “The Ghost of Heritage” debut (that was released on the Winterfylleth of 2008), this vision was realised.
By combining vicious yet moody folk inspired black metal that harkens back to the early days of Enslaved and old-school Ulver, Winterfylleth also conjure feelings and moods that reflect with the likes of acts such as Drudkh, Hate Forest, and Forefather, while at the same time, forging new ground to lead a recent movement in UK black metal.
With their music Winterfylleth conjure moods and emotions that range from vicious and violent to melodic and elegant, “The Ghost Of Heritage” signalled a new shift for the underground UK black metal scene, with Winterfylleth being considered by much of the music press to be one of the most distinct acts of this movement, gaining critical acclaim from the worlds music media, most notably of which was being voted in Unrestrained Magazines’ “25 Best Albums of 2008”.
Lyrically, the band delve into tales of England’s archaic history, re-counting major events, battles, and even draw inspiration from certain sites and scenery that grace the countryside of England and have played an integral part in England’s history.
In 2009 Winterfylleth had some personnel changes and regrouped adding to their strong original line up of Naughton & Lucas. At the same time they signed to Candlelight Records to handle the release of their 2010 album “The Mercian Sphere”.
The release of ‘The Mercian Sphere’ signified a shift in the fortunes of English/British Black Metal, with the band being propelled to international status, and helping to push the envelope of British extreme metal to the rest of the world. ‘The Mercian Sphere’ received album of the month/issue in Terrorizer Magazine & in Zero Tolerance magazine (in which Winterfylleth featured on the cover), as well as rave reviews in Metal Hammer (9/10) and Kerrang Magazine (4/5Ks) and the rest of the global press. All of this culminated in the album being voted #20 in the “Top 40 Albums of 2010” in Terrorizer magazine.
Winterfylleth have since featured at a number of major festivals on the back of the successes of this album. Headlining a stage at Bloodstock 2010, as well as being invited to play Roadburn 2011 & Metal Camp 2011.
Winterfylleth are currently working on their 3rd album, for a 2012 release on Candlelight Records and will be following this up with appearances at Bloodstock, Wacken & Hellfest festivals in 2012 as well as a short UK jaunt with Primordial.
Winterfylleth are: – Chris Naughton (guitar/vocals), Simon Lucas (drums/backing vocals), Nick Wallwork (bass/backing vocals) & Mark Wood (guitar/backing vocals)
HMA: Your logo is beautifully designed and evokes element of nature, who is the artists and did you go through a series of logos before settling with the current one?
Winterfylleth: We chose to work with Moga @ Kogaion Art for the logo. He understood what we were after and nailed it after a few iterations. We’ve always used it and will continue to use it.
HMA: The rune writing enhances the sense of mystery and beauty, what do they symbolize and mean?
Winterfylleth: The rune writing states ‘Winter Full Moon’ which is the literal translation of the band name Winterfylleth. It was the ancient name for the first full moon of winter – The Winterfylleth – and was a celebration of the arrival of Winter and the transition between the seasons.
HMA: All your three albums have deep sense of heritage and culture; can you talk to us about Winterfylleth creative vision?
Winterfylleth: Well, the reason Simon and I met was over an appreciation of history; in particular the stories of the Peak District and our local area. We wanted to start playing black metal based around the stories and history in which we were so interested and brings them to other people. I think we also wanted to reconnect people to their history and backgrounds, because we feel that a link to history can have important applications in the modern world. We need, as people and as nations, to learn from our mistakes and triumphs to make sure that we are mindful of them in our policy making and decisions in the now. As such this theme of history and its powerful lessons has always run through our lyrics.
HMA: Where are these locations? England?
Winterfylleth: All the locations in our artwork are based around the British Isles. The artwork on the first album was taken in a place called Castleton in the Peak District and depicts Peveril Castle with Mam Tor the mountain in the back ground. Our second album is an image of the sunlight reflecting off Ulswater in the Lake District. The third album is an image of a scene from Snowdonia and shows the natural beauty of the British Isles.
HMA: Who looks after your creative artwork and how important is the visual concept to compliment your music?
Winterfylleth: Simon our drummer takes a lot of the images we use in the artwork, but ultimately the visual element of the band is solely down to our unspoken ‘fifth member’ Dan Capp, who does all of our artwork. His ideas and graphic imagery always fit with our vision of the image of our band, so we always work with him. You can find him here – www.dancapp.com – hes also done art for bands like Burzum as well.
HMA: Your lyrical theme is mainly based on English cultural pride, I am right or there is more to your music?
Winterfylleth: The themes are typically about English/British history heritage and folklore; usually steeped in ancient writings or poetry. But there is always an undertone of social relevance within what we do, and the aim is that people can come to understand history and its implications on humanity. The aim is then to make people more active is some of the social discourse that underlies some of the content.
HMA: Why are these subjects so important?
Winterfylleth: There was this Italian writer/political theorist called Antonio Gramsci who brought forward this idea about what he termed a ‘Cultural hegemony’. The idea being to perpetuate the ‘ruling-class domination’ of a culturally diverse society by one social class, who manipulate the culture of the society — the beliefs, explanations, perceptions & values — so that their ruling-class view becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm. This worldview then becomes the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.
Such is the state of the political and social landscape within the UK. Ultimately I think that media does this to aim towards the centralisation of our governments into the EU and to impact upon people’s ability to form identity within their own society. Eventually this would lead to all of Europe being led and controlled by less people than ever before; impacting more and more social control over people who have taken to the idea naturally due to the impression of this cultural hegemony over them. The reason that talking about history is important is to link people back to the lessons we have learnt in the past in to involve them in the social discourse, with a view to changing the fate of humanity. If not then they will continue to be labour slaves in the plan of someone else.
HMA: Where do you find inspiration and creative energy?
Winterfylleth: Inspiration can come from all over the UK and in every place you visit. So we are always finding interesting and inspiring things to talk about in our songs as we visit new places. The creative energy comes from the fact that we actually care about what we are doing and because we think that we have something socially relevant to say. It takes energy to keep people engaged and interested. When people are, or when they bring their energy to our shows, it spurs us on to do more and the loop is cyclical.
HMA: “The Threnody of Triumph” is your latest offering; does the album have a central concept or topic?
Winterfylleth: The concept is about a deathly ode – or Threnody – to those ones who have died, and is about how our ancestors viewed spirituality in the sense of how the soul and the body were connected. The album also has a broader concept about celebrating the lives of those who you love that have passed away. So as such we felt that a contrast between the darkness of loss and the epic-ness of celebration needed to come together in the songs, so that had an influence on the music writing. I hope the lyrics complement this and come across in the finished product – where we contrast darker, faster black metal with soaring leads and rich vocal harmonies. To make people more active is some of the social discourse that underlies some of the content
HMA: What graphic artist would you recommend to our readers?
HMA: …any great English literature that we might not be aware of?
Winterfylleth: Bradshaws Guide by George Bradshaw. A great historical reference.
HMA: Thanks for your time and for contributing to Heavy Music Artwork.
Winterfylleth: Our new album ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ is out on September 10th in the UK/EU and September 25th everywhere else.
Cheers for reading
Chris Naughton / Winterfylleth
Copyright © 2012 Interview with Alex Milazzo from Heavy Music Artwork all rights reserved.