Wolcensmen – Songs From The Fyrgen

The brainchild of Winterfylleth guitarist Dan Capp, Wolcensmen actually predates his time in the Mancunian Black Metal outfit by some years, and is a Folk project dedicated to a time when This Sceptred Isle was unperturbed by religion and industry. Originally released in 2016, Songs From The Fyrgen (Indie Recordings) is a reissue of Dan’s first foray into full-length territory and is a stirring and emotive one.

‘Withershins’ opens the proceedings, a traditional Folk chant with mournfully played guitar and cello strings. The shimmering piano and swirling winds are the evocation of a bleak Hardy hilltop and lead nicely into ‘The Fyre-Bough’, a celebration of earth which is as powerfully resonant, thanks to thudding drums and a groaning cello, as it is haunting. Capp’s vocals are light and accented, while Jake Rogers’ lilting flute contribution gives the middle section a ‘Forever Autumn’-like air.

There’s more of a percussive feel to these traditional flavours than one would expect. ‘Sunne’ has a Scandinavian slant in its repetitive chants, again driven by sparing yet powerful drums, while ‘Hoofes Upon The Shymmeringe Path’ sees tambourine and bodhran accompaniments add to the dramatic tone. ‘’Neath A Wreath Of Firs’, meanwhile, despite the introduction of atmospherics and an early reliance on Capp’s guitarwork, is steadily and expertly built by the growing influence of rhythm before a delicate, evocative second movement carries to the coda.

‘The Mon O’Micht’ is delivered in what appears to be a form of Old English, again fired by deep, often sparkling beats and a killer bassline, giving original arrangements a contemporary boost. Rogers’ woodwind skills are again brought to the fore in the gorgeous, emotive ‘Snowfall’, his flute dancing wistfully in the air as a snowdrop in the wind. ‘The Bekens Are Aliht’ follows, horns sounding across the hills before piano and guitar melodies, on the back of a marching drumbeat, sound a sombre yet euphoric paradox to the skies.

This stirring debut is brought to a close with the heartfelt ‘Yearninge’, another mix of the melancholy and the pleasingly light, strings and rhythms introducing and element of power and hopefulness where previously there seemed none. It’s an album full of sadness and glory and an admirable tribute to a forgotten time.

7 / 10