10 October 2017

WINTERFYLLETH, WIEGEDOOD and NECRONAUTICAL; Mama Roux’s, Birmingham – 2 October 2017

It’s pretty surprising to me that it’s Winterfylleth’s 10th anniversary. I feel like they’ve been around a lot longer. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that the band is so tightly bound to heritage and ancient landscapes. As if they’ve always been here with us – as old as Mam Tor itself. In reality it is their 10th anniversary and tonight’s Birmingham show is the final night of a tour around the UK and on the continent to mark the occasion. They’re currently UK black metal’s flagship band. The subgenre is often forgotten and unloved in this country so it is a joy and an inspiration to watch the band riding the wave of success that they’ve been enjoying recently… I’d argue that they deserve a lot more.

Tonight they appear, with Belgium’s Wiegedood and the UK’s Necronautical, in the unconventional surroundings of Birmingham’s Mama Roux’s; a cross between a warehouse and a New Orleans’ bordello. It’s Monday night but that doesn’t matter, the room is starting to fill as Necronautical (8) take to the stage. Hailing from the North West, the band is all corpse paint, grimaces and candelabras. They inject into the evening all the drama and theatricality that the following two bands don’t necessarily bring to the table. During their short set, “Nihilartikel” from their 2016 album ‘The Endurance At Night’ particularly stands out (video below). The track perfectly demonstrates their fast, catchy and grand variety of black metal.

From Ghent, Wiegedood (9) offer a highly immersive show. Saying nothing to the crowd that has gathered – long bitterly sweet atmospheric sections stretch out before us, I find myself completely lost and feeling more than a small amount of glorious melancholy. But this doesn’t last. Ferocious onslaughts punctuate the quieter moments, shocking the system; shrieking vocals, ruthless thundering drums, some serious guitar work. It was my first experience of Wiegedood – they certainly impressed and took no prisoners tonight. Almost exclusively playing tracks from their new album ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed II’ – it is definitely one to check out. You can watch the video to track ‘Ontzieling’ (Dutch for ‘Despair’) below.

You’d be forgiven for finding Winterfylleth (9) underwhelming as they stand on stage waiting to begin the set. They’re an unassuming bunch but their beautiful and epic soundscapes and haunting vocals never fail to transport me to another time and place.

With ten years of material to choose from, we’re spoilt with a wide ranging setlist. Particular highlights include the magnificent and rousing ‘Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)’, from their debut album ‘The Ghost of Heritage’ as well as its galloping title track. The title track from last year’s remarkable ‘The Dark Hereafter’ is another high point as well as the slow mournful ‘Forsaken In Stone’ from 2014’s ‘The Divination Of Antiquity’ and probably one of my favourite tracks ‘A Valley Thick With Oaks’ from 2010’s ‘The Mercian Sphere’.

The one thing that always strikes me about Winterfylleth is their ability to create a sense of vastness. Each track is sprawling, they’re more than songs; they’re endless landscapes, entire worlds. There is something quite magical about it. Here’s hoping for at least another ten years of this enchantment.