Atmospheric Black Metal is a somewhat popular subgenre at the moment with a large number of bands making it. Creating something that stand out in this wave is difficult but that is what WAYFARER from the US are attempting to do with their second release Old Souls. Described as darker than their previous output they will no doubt be hoping to join many of their fellow countrymen along the greats of the Atmospheric Black movement.
Opening track Ever Climbing begins slowly. From the very beginning it is clear that this record is going to take more after the American than the European style of the genre. Building from its slow start the track reaches its peak and pounds along with short breaks filled with almost tribal drumming to add to the effect. Just as it slowly faded in the song slowly fades to a close. Frontiers is a couple of minute long instrumental number which transitions smoothly into the second real song Old Souls New Dawn. Another longer track heavy with atmosphere it is almost relaxing during the quieter segments before returning to the fierce noises that comprises the Black Metal sections of the song.
Catcher opens with a solitary guitar riff before the remainder of the band joins in on its repetition. Shorter than the other main tracks on offer here and with a powerful main riff for the first few minutes, the track features the trademark quieter segment before forcing itself back into the raw aggression. The albums standout track. Following on from this is another longer song, Deathless Tundra. This song illustrates one of the major problems with this album which is that there is little to differentiate it from those that have come before. It almost feels like the band has displayed all of the elements they have to offer. Unfortunately forgettable.
Penultimate track The Dust Lakes is another instrumental. Moments of it sound inspired and leave listeners wondering if they could have been incorporated into a complete song. To close off the album is All Lost In Timeless Chaos. Featuring some solid guitar playing and the seamless transitions between the Black Metal and atmospheric elements the band use it’s a solid closer to a solid album.
WAYFARER haven’t reinvented the wheel with Old Souls. In a genre all too often plagued with mediocracy the band at least manage to rise above this to have produced a good record but nothing that has not been heard before. Fans will not be disappointed however and if WAYFARER continue to hone their craft there is certainly a space with their name on it at the top of the pile.
Old Souls is out now via Prosthetic Records.
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