Wayfarer – World’s Blood (2018) REVIEW

The expectant swarms of atmospheric black metal vassals, particularly those amidst us cloud-sheltered Cascadian sect, demand regular sacrifice in the form of vent-like flows of muddied-yet-triumphant Precambrian tremolo riffs. Unintentionally so, from this inspirational cycle gushed the influences necessary for the early efforts from Denver, Colorado based Wayfarer. Their sound was a polished talent in the lightly folk-ish atmospheric black metal crowd alongside Wynterfylleth, Ash Borer, and Falls of Rauros. I’d always felt the project was just on the cusp of Saor‘s foamy, melodic greatness if they’d lean into the fire of folk more. There is little more satisfying than all expectations, and my own awful ideas, being thrown to the wind. In the case of Wayfarer‘s third album ‘World’s Blood’ they’ve let ragged folk elements rust in the rain and embraced post-rock, ambient, and various other influences to greater effect.

‘World’s Blood’ is a newly risen Eocene eminence towering mightily above the shaky, flustered jank of their peer’s quickly eroding output. Some of this attenuating storm of wind and soil comes from new environs resultant from greater change. Guitarist Joey Truscelli, who’d contributed bass performance to their 2012 demo has joined full-time and fully integrated since 2016. New distribution (Profound Lore) as well as a new producer (Colin Marston) signal a twinge of a new Wayfarer that is forward-thinking, or at least more grounded, with greater distance from their more obvious earlier influences. The same floods of semi-melodic atmospheric black metal riffs and post-whatever style still structure ‘World’s Blood’ but a virtuosity shines through the composition and performances that is a world removed from ‘Old Souls’.

With some greater mind for atmospheric gilding, and in defiance of sub-genre constraints, the broader stylistic ventures of ‘World’s Blood’ contain traces of post-rock, atmospheric sludge/post-metal, Marston-esque contrapuntal wandering, and a full on neofolk finale. Much of the album consists of darker streams of guitar work that dominate the three 10+ minute tracks at the center of the album with alternating build-and-crescendo typical of post-rock influenced black metal. Prominent and slightly gnarly bass guitar tone gives the recording a nice heft when everything plows forth in unison and escapes the typically flat sound of atmoblack records. I know it might not even sound like a black metal album by description at this point… yet ultimately does have the necessarily dark pulse needed for an actual black metal ‘attack’ that gives way to several satisfying peaks in each of the longer middle compositions. I didn’t completely realize there was a ‘Denver sound’ in terms of atmospheric black metal but if ‘World’s Blood’ is an example of it, then I appreciate it leagues beyond the blackgaze and atmoblack I’ve heard as of late.

The art and packaging is simple and attractive but the greater themes of the record escape me outside of speculation without a lyric sheet. Clear allusions to the plight and defenestration of the native people of the United States are made in every Wayfarer record and, judging by the song titles and slight tribal ambiance explored, this one is no different. There is some grand, serious tonality to ‘World’s Blood’ that feels more appropriate for their themes than previous. Hints of cinematic score, Americana, and dream-like atmospherics provide an incredibly harrowing and detailed hallucination of history and fantasy alike; As a listener I’m not sure if I’m meant to ogle the psychedelia of it all or wrestle with it’s tragic message of callous decimation. In absorbing both the beast and it’s burden across many listens I found awe and disorientation to be an appropriate enough mixed response.

Easily the most spell-binding and professionally presented atmospheric black metal release so far this year, ‘World’s Blood’ is the sort of record I’m happy to jump into and fawn over for a couple of months only to completely forgot had I not documented the experience. That isn’t a suggestion of a forgettable experience but rather an exhaustible one. With some excited frequent listening it’ll become it’s own blurry set of tracers and mirage melted into to the apeiron of music you’ll connect with this year. I’m not sure if I’ll remember it by the end of the summer, but it was an amazing piece to be enveloped within. Because of the albums interconnected structure it is hard to recommend select tracks so the duo of “Animal Crown” and “On Horseback They Carried Thunder” should inspire you to let the whole thing spill over in full, as intended.


Artist Wayfarer
Type Album
Released May 25, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Profound Lore Record’s Bandcamp! Follow Wayfarer on Facebook

Wounded at the core. 4.0/5.0

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