Winterfylleth – “Whisper Of The Elements” (Stereogum Premiere)
Back in 2012, in a short review of the song “The Swart Raven,” I wrote, “I’ve never understood why Winterfylleth aren’t one of the biggest (or bigger, anyway) black metal bands in the world.” That sound bite turned up in the press materials for the band’s forthcoming LP, The Divination Of Antiquity, and while such sentiments have a tendency to curdle with time, in this case, I find it to be even more applicable than it was two years ago. Where once Winterfylleth operated in the (admittedly long) shadows of bands like Agalloch and Wolves In The Throne Room, they’re now functioning on the highest possible level. The Divination Of Antiquity may be the best black metal album of 2014. “Whisper Of The Elements” is its first single, and it’s nothing short of triumphant. Winterfylleth have scaled back the folk elements that defined the band’s previous work, not eliminating them, but integrating them in subtler ways, leading to an altogether more enthralling result. You can still hear them in the band’s clear and abundant use of melody, especially in the choral section that comes at the song’s incredible climax. In a statement about the song, Winterfylleth frontman Chris Naughton said, “This is the first time we’ve ever sung choral vocals over a blast beat section and done extreme vocals at the same time. I think it makes for a spine-tingling experience if you listen closely.” I sincerely could not agree more. You can read Naughton’s full statement below, but before you do so, for god’s sake, listen to “Whisper Of The Elements” at the absolute peak volume your current environs will allow. It’s an amazing experience, and it may not even be the best song on the band’s new album.
Here’s what Chris Naughton had to say about “Whisper Of The Elements”:
The song is part of the wider album concept about ‘learning lessons from history’ and/or gaining spiritual insight from (i.e., divining and therefore Divination) history and the past (thus antiquity).
The song “Whisper Of The Elements” is about how nature will always be greater than man, and even though we all wage wars on one another, try to profit from each other and generally run around like we own the planet, ultimately nature has the power to rebel against that and bring us back down to earth. Its also about how nature was there before us and it will be there after us, and compared to nature we are but a blip on the timeline of the planet.
Interestingly this is the first time we’ve ever sung choral vocals over a blast beat section and done extreme vocals at the same time. I think it makes for a spine-tingling experience if you listen closely.
The Divination Of Antiquity is out 10/7 via Candlelight.