From the first song alone, I could tell the sophomore release from these young metal prodigies has just as much going for it as their stunning debut—Children Of The Iron Age (2014).
Like myself, Wayfarer hails from the cold, spiring Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Their latest release is Old Souls.
I’ve always believed much of American black metal has been too quick to appropriate so much of European black metal’s sonic and visual aesthetic. An aesthetic which is undoubtedly very personal to those artists experiences, lifestyles and heritage; leaving only a smaller sect of Americans to take the original template of the sound and re-sculpt it to make it their own.
Wayfarer builds on the initial sound of black and folk metal; pounding and forging something undoubtedly tremendous, ravenous and strenuous. Eluding to a time when suffering was as bountiful as the vast incomprehensible beauty of the planet; the soil that mankind has so glutinously raped and ravaged beneath our feet. Old Souls is a sprawling journey in-and-of itself.
Rhythms and percussion pounding, like a thousand weathered, but tireless, footsteps—doubling as war drums for which the spilt blood has long since sunk into the earth. Distorted guitar passages jagged like filthy cliff sides, beneath stunning harsh primordial vocal work; both with tones as savage and cruel as nature itself.
Ultimately, the band’s strongest aspect lies within their sense of composition and melody. These are captivating songs with an utterly cinematic quality to them and their arrangement. And just when you think you may have a rockier-type track, like Catcher, the band charges at you from the side halfway though, running you through with the ‘true grit’ this album features so well.
As immense and punishing as they can be, Wayfarer’s sense of dynamics—including the utilisation of small acoustic passages, like in Old Souls' New Dawn or Deathless Tundra, or earthy drum sections in Frontiers—really puts the already high melodic, rhythmic and emotionally aggressive content just through the damn roof.
As a guitarist, I cannot say that what grabbed me when I first saw Wayfarer wasn’t exactly that. The sense of melody from the bass and guitar passages, despite the distortion and the thoughtful clean interludes, really brings this band’s material to a pinnacle height for me. The percussion is so thoughtfully restrained. This release gives you just enough to feed your bloodthirsty hunger for swift and thunderous drum violence, but not too much to not perfectly compliment the songs properly.
With the full band’s composition ability, there is as much patience here as there is passion and ferocity. It may not be the grimmest thing in existence, but that was never really what they set out to do. Truthfully, everything I have ever heard from Wayfarer is masterful. Track highlights? Ever Climbing and Old Souls' New Dawn.
Strange Fires is an eclectic, visually-oriented music blog. Written and curated by Colorado-based musician, writer and artist Doran Robischon for the past six years, this source draws from a mix of contrasting genres in the name of fluid exploration.