Forming back in 2012, Wayfarer is finally releasing their debut album Children of The Iron Age onto the world after signing a deal with Prosthetic Records. Wayfarer is an unique 4 piece band hailing from Denver, CO and their music blends the styles of death/black metal with an atmospheric feel. This album was produced by Dave Otero, known best for his work with Cobalt, Primitive Man, and Cattle Decapitation. This album is heavy hitting, but also provides a serene atmosphere with its music. Musically, it shares a sound similar to bands like Opeth and Enslaved, but instead focuses on creating a fantastical environment within each of their songs.
Each song provides the listener with a journey and an experience. As I was listening to these songs, I felt myself imagining different fantasy environments, similar to a setting in a Dungeons and Dragons game or a Lord of the Rings book. With the average length being about 7 minutes per song, it is easy to get lost in the vision of the band and immerse yourself in the music. The album begins with the track “The Earth Only Endures” and immediately jumps into an intense, but melodic groove. “The Earth Only Endures” invokes an emotion and feeling similar to a call to arms or a song about a famous warrior with the faded vocals and driving rhythm. Each song sets a different scene and would make an epic soundtrack for different kinds of fantasy. In the song, “Toward Mountains,” the stronger drum and bass compared to other tracks gives me the impression of a group of adventurers climbing through the mountains . “Stormcall” would provide a great soundtrack to a group of pirates and the guitars play a sea-shanty style of riff to encapsulate this image. In my opinion, the best track at setting this type of tone is “A Place Among The Stars”, which uses an acoustic backing within its strong beat to paint a picture of a long journey through a dark forest. The vocalist does not overpower the band and acts more like an instrument to further the band’s sound and message. The guitars provide a folk metal sound throughout most the album with the use of acoustic guitars and upbeat riffs. Each instrument plays a critical part in the songs, and none of the instruments overpower each other.
The main problem this album has is some of the transitions can feel forced at times, but as the album continues, this flaw can be overlooked. The other problem I had is that the album as a whole feels like it is trying to be a concept/progressive metal album, but the lack of good transitions between the songs (and sometimes within the songs) makes it feel lost. While each songs portrays an unique sound scape and tone, the jumps between “settings” can be disorienting without proper closure and lead ins to the next track. The album would have benefited by feeling like a cohesive journey moving through the environments the songs portray instead of 8 short stories. With better transitions, the album could have been an much better overall experience. Also worth mentioning, the title track “Children of The Iron Age” was one of my least favorite tracks on the album.
Overall, Wayfarer delivers some great tracks and an experience with each song on the album. The music paints a story of fantasy and surreal environment and makes this an album worth listening to.
The album drops on Prosthetic Records November 25th.
Stand Out Tracks: The Earth Only Endures, Toward Mountains, A Place Among the Stars