Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence
Wayfarer seem to have two fronts when it comes to their music. After a brief instrumental chock full of unique sounds like a saloon piano, the more familiar black metal elements get thrown in with ‘The Crimson Rider’. This is pretty much Wayfarer’s harsh side- black metal-esque tones on the guitar with raw snarling and rapid drumming that breaks up here and there for softer, cleaner guitar tones and thunderous drones that have almost a tribal drumming to them. The backing keyboards also help with the atmosphere. While not quite ‘kvlt,’ the guitars and bass host plenty of melody that would appeal to fans of more melodic black metal groups like Ghostbath. Then the group changes tactics on a track like ‘Fire And Gold’ which is one of the softer tracks aside from the instrumentals, losing all the black metal harshness and aiming more for the folk sounds, touching a little bit on gothic doom a bit especially with the tones of the vocals which sound like My Dying Bride. The clean vocal use is certainly more interesting than the harsh vocals, using a lot more variation with either the mournful tones or dramatic echoing. Overall, this is where the Agalloch fans will really get their kicks.
The group pulls both their elements together in the later tracks such as ‘Vaudeville’. Opening soft and ending heavy, this is an excellent mix of folk and black metal with backing choirs and a great close for the album. While the entire album is only 7 tracks with 2 of them barely 2 minutes, there are a lot of epics here on “A Romance With Violence” so there is a lot of time to digest the music. While some tracks tend to Segway right into the next, making listening to this album on shuffle a bit of a disruption, the whole thing can easily be enjoyed from start to finish without much room for boredom. Fans who like something a little different from the typical black metal onslaught with a bit of a learning curve on it will find Wayfarer a catchy listen, and for those who enjoy the spirit of nature infused with their music akin to groups like Panopticon will definitely want to check out their other albums as well.
4 / 5 STARS