Waylander – Kindred Spirits

Pagan metal by way of Kreator? Huh. Strange bedfellows indeed. “Echoes of the Sidhe” fires off “Kindred Spirits” with its uptempo push and riffwork that centers around a palm muted, thrashy crunch. The Kreatorisms seep out of this delivery effortlessly/obviously and are further driven home by a vocal style that bares similarities to Drudkh meets Mille Petrozza mid ranged snarl with body. Add flute melodies to this union for a strange plot twist that somehow works. It doesn’t necessarily feel right, but its inclusion doesn’t detract from the song. “Lamh Dearg” thankfully finds Waylander stepping away from the obvious love of German thrash found lurking in their songwriting, to embrace more… for lack of a better made up word, “Pagany” stylistic traits like acoustic guitar, alternate percussion choices and more of a predominant, clunky sounding bass guitar. The tempo meter conforms as well between ¾ and 4/4 with a lot of swing for that light hearted sonic dance often found in the Pagan/folk metal genre. The flow in these songs begins to accent the more memorable hooks in Waylander’s songwriting. I do like the fact that the vocalist mostly sticks to his screamed vocal harshness. When it comes to this genre, “off” sounding pitch singing tends to be the norm and can be mostly responsible for the light hearted silliness that can all too quickly infect folk spun pagan black metal. Thankfully, Waylander never crosses the point of no return and keep their music influenced by thrash and blackened metal rather than take it all too far into the folk side of things.
With a 20 year anniversary looming on Waylander’s horizon, the years these guys have been sipping on the old ale horn has earned them a noticeable sense of professionalism, but the stylistic oddities found on “Kindred Spirits” could obscure peoples perception on where exactly this band resides most comfortably. Perhaps it’s too heavy for those into the folk side of metal, and a little too reliant on the flute and musically predictable for the black metal crowd to get excited about. “Kindred Spirits” is in no way a bad album, but it unfortunately lacks that essential and inspired fire that needs to be burning at the core of your guts when writing and performing for a new album. By the time the overbearing gang yells found on “Erdath” diminish and even more Kreator styled riffs surface again, I realize that in spite of it’s initial charm, the likelihood of me ever spinning this album again is slim. Probably not a good sign. -Marty
Listenable Records

~ by martyworm on September 30, 2012.

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