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Wayfarer - World's Blood

Wayfarer
World's Blood
by Chris Hawkins at 17 June 2018, 11:53 AM

Formed in 2012, WAYFARER came into being with the aim of providing a distinctly American shade of music with bands such as ENSLAVED and PRIMORDIAL as their roots.  "World's Blood" is the band's third full-length.  Hailing from Denver, CO, the album is flavored with a type of atmosphere reflecting their home.  This album is truly the band's most broad in scope and their defining moment. One has a broad sense of the mystic appeal of the Rocky Mountains as well as the rich history of the West.

"Animal Crown" aptly serves as the lead track.  It sets the tone of intensity extremely high as it flirts with a more traditional interpretation of the genre they have maintained in the past that they are not a part of:  Black Metal.  In all fairness, in an interview I read with guitarist Shane McCarthy, he did say that the genre would serve as the closest definition of the band's sound were he to have to make that decision.  The second track, "On Horseback They Carried Thunder" showcases a band truly spreading its wings.  The longest track on the album at 13:12 minutes, it spans a range of vibes and motifs, from clean guitars to a more Doom-based sound to rawer, more primal Black Metal riffs.  Perhaps if there is a track that incorporates all things WAYFARER, this is it.  With its shifting nature between the mid-paced, eerie main riff to more traditional Black Metal sounds, the title of the fourth track, "The Dreaming Plain," says it all.  It is as if the listener is invited to his own dream quest, personally led by WAYFARER.  Where track two was possibly the most defining, this is truly the most mystical with a dream-like, haunting atmosphere that hangs over the entirety of the song.

Instrumentally speaking, the bass has a very up-front role on this record.  When the guitar plays thick, hanging chords, the bass is left to hammer out its own rhythmic melody and leave its indelible mark upon the recording.  The drums consistently provide a solid basis upon which the other elements are built.  Vocally, there is a range from low, guttural growls to other varieties of screams with the last track, "A Nation of Immigrants," providing the only diversion with its monopoly on clean vocals also aided by chilling female vocals.  Everything from rich, traditional acoustic guitar playing to screaming electric guitars are used with the guitar providing the larger musical ideas.  From eerie, clean passages to thick chords, the guitar's voice is loudest.  The Black Metal-type riffs never sound boring or plain as unique ideas are countered to the traditional Black Metal sound.  The guitars indeed provide the largest sense of atmosphere, from aggression to loneliness.

WAYFARER, along with UADA and PILLORIAN, are a new breed of American Extreme/Black Metal.  Consisting of swathing amounts of Black Metal influences, the music also reflects a culture and ethos that is not only distinctly American, but particularly derivative of the West.  The band successfully merges the unbridled tenacity of Black Metal with the mystic storytelling of their home.  It is truly fascinating to hear bands such as WAYFARER expand the definition of Black Metal by adding their own unique ideas to the mix.  The cover, with its enigmatic depiction of a lone horseback rider, is perhaps the cleverest visual representation of the band's musical ethos of astral-plane-dwelling art.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Animal Crown
2.  On Horseback They Carried Thunder
3.  The Crows Ahead Cry War
4. The Dreaming Plain
5.  A Nation of Immigrants
Lineup:
Shane McCarthy – Guitars
Isaac Faulk – Drums
Jamie Hansen – Bass, Vocals
Joey Truscelli - Guitars
Record Label: Profound Lore Records
     


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Edited 17 November 2018
 

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