Wyrd - Death of the Sun - (7/10)
Published on May 1, 2016
Originally a one man project, Finland’s Wyrd recently changed to a full band in order to work on their newest release, a first in seven years. Death Of The Sun sees the now full-band mixing plenty of coldness from black metal along with melodies and instrumentation found in the likes of Pagan and folk metal. While this is not new in the Wyrd world, the album is ultimately a little inconsistent although enjoyable in quite a few places.
Admittedly, with “Cursed Be The Man”, the album rips through one of the more memorable tracks thus far in 2016. The riffs are incredibly catchy and the energy is undeniable. However, the remainder of the album shows some more flaws in the vocals and pacing department. By “Inside” the utilization of clean vocals sounds like an abrupt change from the sheiks in the prior songs, and comes off more than a little odd even after a few listens. The chorus’ and overall vocal melodies on the album are a bit of a downfall when using the clean vocals. They do not have the same intensity, or ability to grip the listener as the screams do. Sounding more like a prog or classic metal at times, while getting plenty in to the pagan realm at others. There are plenty of raspy, whispered style vocals as well, especially near the middle of the record that come across like what you could hear on an Agalloch record, but don’t seem to have a major impression on the listener. Sadly, this back and forth draws down the quality of the actual musicianship.
Musically speaking, there are the aforementioned cold black metal riffs, with plenty of folky acoustics as well. For the most part, the musical aspect of the album is the most enjoyable, but the strength clearly lies in the more upbeat and heavier songs. The acoustics, while sounding beautiful any times, feel lacking as well in the emotion department, with a prime example being the penultimate track. Seemingly building up to something bigger the whole song, the album nearly ends on a very anti-climatic note as the song goes by over 6 minuets without reaching the crescendo it seems to be building up to. There are some issues as well in the middle of the album with a few songs following a little too much of the same pattern and losing some interest by not having anything really standout or impactful going on. A few of the songs do manage to be interchangeable with others as they are just too similar.
Wyrd is a band that has a big place in Finnish metal, having been around for the better part of 20 years at this point, and has quite the discography behind them. However, with Death Of The Sun, the band has unfortunately released some material that feels a little off. This releases shows us that the band is at their best when going fast and heavy, but cannot keep the same level of interest when going slower. Despite some of the acoustic guitars being really pleasing to the ear, the vocal discrepancies hinder a lot of it, and the songwriting does not do much to help, as there are just too many similar passages and structures to be found. It took a few spins, and the album does start to become more interesting with this spins, but there is still an overall lack of quality compared to some of the band’s past work or even stuff in the genre since the last Wyrd release. The album does not feel like such triumphant return, but one that still features some very enjoyable moments. If nothing else, the opening track may be the best, or one of, that I’ve heard the entire year so far, so kudos to that. Death Of The Sun does it’s best to impress but sadly falls flat save for some really great moments.