Now that weed is legal in Colorado, you might have expected Wayfarer to ease off the unbridled hostility and existential fury that informs their pointedly dramatic and wild take on blackened folk metal.
If anything, however, Old Souls points to a narrowing of focus, at least in terms of mood. From the soaring bombast of 10-minute opener Ever Climbing onwards, the band’s second album is remorselessly despondent, with only a few brief bursts of feral speed and pop-eyed aggression sustaining their aesthetic kinship with the traditional US black metal scene.
At times redolent of both Moonsorrow’s widescreen attack and Primordial’s triumphant pomp, Wayfarer counter notions of compromised familiarity by incorporating subtlety, elegance and a slender but perceptible streak of twanging Americana into their defiantly overcast textural melee. The result of that deft tinkering is songs like the stirring, gothic sprawl of Old Souls’ New Dawn and closer All Lost In Aimless Chaos’s ornate but chilling sonic suicide note. Even the stately, succinct plod of Catcher points to a band with enough bright ideas and personality to stand apart from the windswept pack.