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The Waymaker - The Waymaker Award winner

The Waymaker
The Waymaker
by Kevin Lewis at 01 September 2020, 10:00 AM

THE WAYMAKER is a new band composed of three people who have been in the Scandinavian metal scene for years, making this a bit of a supergroup, though they don’t call themselves that. Formed in 2019, Christian and Jani, who played in DIVINEFIRE together for six, recruited Katja, and the phenomenon began. Their eponymous debut album was released in August 2020 through Melodic Passions Records.

There is a lot to unpack on this record. First and foremost, this is Christian themed record. There are nine songs, including one instrumental and a cover tune. With three different vocalists, two male and one female, the dynamics are ripe for some excellent lyrical content. I had some pretty high expectations of this record just from the initial research I did. Finnish and Swedish musicians, especially in the more melodic end of the Metal genre are a particular niche I really enjoy. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!

Let’s get the controversial stuff out of the way first. The weakest song on this record is “Prophet’s Sign”, only because there are no words to get into. It is an excellent song. The musicianship is really impressive, as you would expect. Lots of melodic Metal and even some progressive elements. I love a good instrumental. The fact I choose it as weakest only because it has no lyrics tells you a lot about how good this record is overall.

Next area of possible contention: the cover tune. There are many purists out there who do not like covers, no matter what. I am not one of those people. Some bands are better than others when it comes to covering songs. How does THE WAYMAKER do with their cover of “Soldiers Under Command” by STRYPER? They crush it! With three vocalists to handle the duties, they take it on and make it bigger than the original. The guitar solo, the chants, the overlapping vocals… this is a proper cover tune!

The title track, “The Waymaker”, begins with an ethereal chanting sound, then launches into a seriously heavy riff that has a brutal bottom end. The bass and drums are both prominent and understated. They don’t overpower, but you notice them. The mix is good. It’s heavy, melodic, symphonic and even a little thrashy all at the same time. “Kingdom Of Heaven” follows, starting with a guitar running over you at 90 miles per hour before dropping into a keyboard driven rhythm. Shifting back and forth, this is a well-balanced song that pleases the listener.

Dropping to the second half of the record, “The Name Above All Names” has another awesome guitar driven intro before the song drops into a gentle verse structure with mostly muted instrumentation, only to kick up again for the chorus. “Rain Of Your Love” is the melodic song that never really tries to go for your throat. It is a song that showcases the bands ability to work in multiple genres. Don’t worry, though; “I Am Sustained” comes right back and kicks you in the teeth. It is heavy and full of fire.

“See The New Generation” is a fitting end to this record. Starting with an almost acoustic feeling guitar piece, the main riff comes out and just crushes you. Melodic with a few progressive touches, this is the perfect song to end the record. It highlights all the various talents you have heard throughout. Picking a favorite on this album is not easy. Favorite riff is “The Waymaker”, favorite lyrics and “I Am Sustained”, favorite overall song is “Kingdom Of Heaven”. Seriously, this is a really good record, start to finish.

THE WAYMAKER is one of the best new bands of the last decade. The fact this is their debut speaks volumes about where they can go from here. The chemistry this band displays is exhilarating. They work well together, at least in the recording studio. I suspect they will do well on stage. These songs sound like they are capable of being done live, and I for one would love to see that happen. I look forward to more releases by this band!

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Waymaker
2. Kingdom Of Heaven
3. Soldiers Under Command (Stryper cover)
4. Marching On
5. Prophet’s Sign (Instrumental)
6. The Name Above All Names
7. The Rain Of Your Love
8. I Am Sustained
9. See The New Generation
Lineup:
Christian Liljegren – Lead/Backing Vocals
Jani Stefanovic – Guitars/Bass/Keyboards/Vocals
Katja Stefanovic – Lead/Backing Vocals
Guest Musicians:
CJ Grimmark – Guitar solo on “Soldiers Under Command”
Alfred FridhagenDrums
Record Label: Melodic Passion Records
     


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Edited 25 October 2021
 

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