Live Review: Winterfylleth – Cardiff

Winterfylleth Announce New Album The Reckoning Dawn

Live Review: Winterfylleth - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
21st October 2021
Words: Richard Oliver

It seemed to be live music night in Cardiff as there were three gigs going on concurrently in three venues all on the same street - the famed Cardiff music quarter Womanby Street. I headed to Clwb Ifor Bach for an evening of extreme metal although it was evident that this show had not been promoted as much as it could have been as it was rather sparsely attended resulting in the gig being demoted into the smaller downstairs room in the venue. This did mean though that we were treated to an intimate, up close and personal show with very little distance between the band and the audience.

Originally the support for this tour was meant to be Norwegian black metallers Mork but unfortunately Mork were unable to travel the UK and had to drop off the tour resulting in a worthy replacement in Dread Sovereign. With a strange lack of a local opening band, this Dublin based doom trio were the opening band of the evening. Comprised of Nemtheanga (of Primordial) on bass guitar and vocals, Bones on guitar and Con Ri (of Conan) on drums, the trio played a very traditional and old school style of doom metal with lumbering riffs, a pulverising rhythm and an overall feeling of bleakness and emptiness. The songs themselves varied in pace from moments of slow crushing heaviness to speedy moments bringing to mind Motörhead and at times employing d-beat rhythms. Songs included Nature Is The Devil’s Church and The World Is Doomed and we also got treated to a chunk of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath which had horns raised as it is still one of the heaviest riffs of all time. Nemtheanga has a hell of a set of pipes on him and also brought forth crushing riffs on his bass whilst the guitar playing of Bones took on more of a lead guitar role with the riff work carried out on the bass. Doom is nearly always a great genre to hear live and Dread Sovereign were no exception to that with a thunderous set.

Manchester’s atmospheric black metallers Winterfylleth are a band I’ve seen at countless festivals but very rarely have managed to catch at their own headlining show. After a small delay due to some technical difficulties, the band hit the stage finally able to play some of the material off their 2020 album The Reckoning Dawn. The audience were a little subdued initially especially during the newer songs but levels of spirit and enthusiasm soon picked upon when the older material was brought out with A Valley Thick With Oaks and The Ghost Of Heritage getting windmills of appreciation and Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain) even getting a bit of a pit going. Now that energy and enthusiasm levels were high appreciation was shown for some of the new material with The Reckoning Dawn and A Hostile Fate (The Wayfarer Pt. 4) going down a storm. Despite the fact the venue was far from heaving Winterfylleth nonetheless gave it their all and played one of the most energised shows I’ve seen the band play. The band seemed to be enjoying playing a small and intimate show with frontman Chris Naughton beaming away whilst new guitarist Russell Dobson (also of Necronautical) was a force of nature very rarely keeping still and taking the opportunity to get out amongst the crowd at times. The show was brought to a conclusion by a stunning rendition of Ensigns Of Victory.

Despite the poor attendance this was still a very enjoyable evening. The room the bands played didn’t have a stage or any sort of barrier between the bands and the audience meaning that the gig almost felt like you were watching a band's rehearsal which added to the intimacy of it and despite the challenges and limitations of the space, the sound engineer managed to do a very decent job. This was a great introduction to the music of Dread Sovereign for me and also one of the best Winterfylleth performances I’ve seen for a good while.

Live Review: Winterfylleth – Cardiff

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