Wednesday 20 June 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Wayfarer, "World's Blood"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/05/2018
Label: Profound Lore Records

On “World’s Blood” Wayfarer rises to be more transcendent than many of its contemporaries in the execution of its new album and overall there is so much to appreciate on this Colorado act's return.  "World's Blood" is a dazzling listen

“World’s Blood” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Animal Crown
2. On Horseback They Carried Thunder
3. The Crows Ahead Cry War
4. The Dreaming Plain
5. A Nation Of Immigrants

The Review:

The beauty and bestial of black metal is that it is today an expansive metal subgenre. At its best, there is something truly gauzy, conceptually original and aurally memorable records. However, there is plenty on the scene that is at times too derivative (first wave throwback movements, anyone?), audacious and over-the-top in a way that can mask musical deficiencies. Goat and pentagram iconography, and too much flourish – literal and figurative – on song titles and imagery, can only carry any band so far. In its most cringeworthy moments, there are more than a few unintentional parodies of black metal.

Fortunately enough, Wayfarer rises to be more transcendent than many of its contemporaries in the execution of its new album, "World's Blood."

The Denver band has been reliable thus far in its output, producing an LP every two years or so. 2014's "Children of the Iron Age" was well received by fans and critics. There might have been a touch too much self-importance early on. Folk and atmospheric metal together can be a bit tiring at turns. And the overlong tracks and intricate storytelling may have felt out of place at first. As you settle in with the band, though, you get a strong sense that Wayfarer is devoted to creating an experience. There are many bands that arguably try to do the same. Wayfarer's iconoclastic approach deserves a deeper look, though.

On "World's Blood," Wayfarer provides a sound informed by a mélange of styles. Black metal, doom and hints of sludge are central to the album. What makes it most fascinating, though, is identifying the disparate inspirations. "Animal Crown" begins the recording with a flash of spaghetti Western romp. There's immediacy to the noisier guitars and rhythm section as the first track builds, with a pained vocal wafting just above it all. The liner notes remark of how the band sought to represent aptly the Western frontier that is part of its experience. Inescapable to that tale is a picture of loss. Rarely has it been so stunningly felt.

The band excels when its orchestration reaches an almost polyrhythmic instance on songs like "On Horseback They Carried Thunder." What feels at first like chaos rewards you as the song crests into a beautiful hybrid of black metal, where pensive pacing strains just below the surface. Where it once drew out tracks possibly a bit too much, Wayfarer's selection and overall production this time offer a new focus. This attention to little things as well as major arcs makes for a more sophisticated album than ever before. With "The Crows Ahead Cry War," thundering drums threaten from a distance. The balance between measured and frenzied is a gorgeous tension you feel again and again on "World's Blood."

That flume of shot-a-man-in-Reno dirty Americana vibe peeks its head out at the start of "The Dreaming Plain," before laying waste into a mad sound space. "A Nation of Immigrants" flits past this inspiration too, in a divergent manner. In all, "World's Blood" is a dazzling listen. One of their best? That's up to longtime fans to judge, but undoubtedly there is so much to appreciate in the Colorado act's return.

“World’s Blood” is available here

Band info: facebook|| bandcamp