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Third album from Colorado black metal group Wayfarer. This time, they've made like a saunter of Cowboys and are heading west. Their thematic focus is on the great frontier and the horrors of American expansionism, something well captured in the dread and intensity of black metal. Released on Profound Lore

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World’s Blood by Wayfarer
1 review. Add your own review.
4 people love this record. Be the 5th!
8/10 Robin Staff review, 30 May 2018

If you thought Deafheaven were black metal’s peak of gimmick, look away: this one’s a Western. Wayfarer have made a record of specifically American black metal, taking the genre and using it to evoke the history of their native Colorado. The press release makes it unclear whether this is a glorification of a romanticised ‘Western’ or a critique of American settling and violence, though they make interesting points about the latter, describing the record as “a hallucinatory picture of the western frontier, and the haunting presence of the blood in the soils from a culture lost to time.

It’s a question for a larger text box, but the interesting attempts Wayfarer make have me wondering: how do you use black metal to talk back at violence? A genre plagued with and rooted in bigotry, nazism and murder will never fully be separated from its politics, and while some crossovers have ignored the question completely, some more recent anarchist and anti-fascist bands have actively tried to talk context: bands like Dawn Ray’d have done it best, acknowledging the genre’s history as a problem in itself. Wayfarer are using the genre here to take, in part, of American suffering, creating a record that uses lamenting melodies as much as it does aggressive black metal oscillations and growls. It’s an emotive, active record that mixes post-rock with the more distraught and thoughtful elements of its harsher genre hallmark, creating a dramatic soundscape while hinting at a deeper, more political context.

Wayfarer’s sound is torrid but tangible, reminding me of the best records by Xathur and Hope Drone; its blastbeats and riffs are typical of the genre’s stormy wind tunnels, but there’s melody and meditation in their work. Tonally, they’re mining territory black metal has been happily veering into in its modern era, making music that shines a light on the listener as much as it does cast a shadow on them. Considering its description, 'World's Blood' stands out as one of this year's most interesting metal releases.


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