Quite apart from the superb cover artwork, which looks like some sort of processed Frank Frazetta painting but is in fact a photograph taken in 1908, you should be interested in Denver’s Wayfarer for the sole reason that they offer so much to the casual listener.
Ostensibly dwelling in the black metal camp, Wayfarer actually render themselves largely unclassifiable thanks to the sheer untrammelled scope and glorious vision of their music. When bassist Jamie Hansen isn’t actively engaged in howling at the moon, so much of the band’s musical output is cast away from the world of metal, it’s otherworldly starkness giving the music an almost filmic quality which must make them of interest to anyone with a working knowledge of intelligent music.
The sombre tones of large portions of On Horseback They Carried Thunder and especially The Crows Ahead Cry War could easily accompany a film about the old West, or a Ken Burns documentary full of stark sepia footage of war, betrayal and the conquering of worlds. Similarly much of the music has a classic feel to it that transcends the black metal tag, placing Wayfarer squarely on a timeline that includes such giants of American music as Mountain and, to a lesser extent, Kansas. There are no angry badgers with guitars here.
Closing track A Nation of Immigrants is simply massive, building from strummed acoustic whimsy to percussive tribal eulogy, accompanied by some, dare I say It, Spaghetti-styled guitar accompaniment, the intensity of the track belies it’s sparse instrumentation. Fans of Norse Gods Wardruna will recognise the modus operandi at work here. But from whichever hemisphere the influence comes, the sheer naked power of the music and the intentions of it’s progenitors stands the same.
Wayfarer have produced an exceedingly interesting, special piece of work in World’s Blood. It deserves your attention.
World’s Blood is out now on Profound Lore Records.