Album Review: WAYFARER World's Blood
In 2011, the formation of the Denver-based Wayfarer took place. May 25, 2018 will mark the release of their third full-length album World's Blood. Wayfarer has always had a strong pull on me musically. Having lived in the high Rockies of Colorado and also in the high plains in the Denver Metro Area for some time, I can identify and appreciate their sound in a more relatable way.
Over the course of these three albums, their sound has become more refined, and the band's direction well plotted. The development of Wayfarer has experienced has seen them find a sound that is almost their own, even in a deafening explosion which the subgenre witnessed the past five years. This sub-subgenre (for those who identify more with labels than actual music) of black metal can easily be mistaken for atmospheric black metal western folk of the central Rocky Mountain region. To clarify, the overall tone of the album is black metal, with some excellent production and song structured elements that draw upon a wearisome time of tired and weathered souls.
With the harsh sound of their subgenre they aim for, there are also elegant melodies spread periodically through the album; they are quickly abated by that long sorrowed ambiance. While this approach is a tease only matched by Tantalus, never quite grasping that leading riff that was developing in a sonic melody that would have quenched the parched palette, or fully developed into a sustaining morsel to be digested. It's painful to witness, whether this bands testimony of aural torture is what they were striving for or not. None the less, it's well played and executed, saturating the entire album.
Overall I feel it subtracts more than it bolsters the sound while viewing the sum of it all. This is the weakness of the album. Many may view it as a strength, as there is always a suitable argument for both sides, but as I hear it, the sound has sold itself for this tease where a more depth driven approach would have given a redemptive quality and really made this a masterpiece. For Zeus' sake, please just give poor Tantalus a break.
Instrumentally there is a fair balance of sound. Fast blast beats and churning lead guitar riffs, while also containing sustained breaks of more wandering or ambient portions that bring the listener back to the soul aching tones of harshness and gritty realities that our western nation once had. The latter sound is a more atmospheric black metal product while the riveting drums and shrill complex guitars and harsh vocals segments clarify a strong, more traditional black metal core that is their overall sound. The balance in itself is pleasing as one style does not drown out the other.
I do recommend this album as it's an excellent product overall. I feel it does not hold up as well against their previous album Old Souls but has good aspects that allow me to enjoy it for what it is. It may not have been what I wanted or expected, but Wayfarer did manage to produce something many bands don't dare to try, and they pulled it off even though it was not for me. I hope others will listen to the album and really enjoy what I disliked about it. This is the beauty of the diversified genre of metal, and also the members that make of the metal community, fans and musicians alike.