WYRD is a new band to me, and everywhere I browsed online, doing research, it looked like they were a Black Metal band with some Pagan Metal influences; but after enjoying this album for the last month, I feel confident saying that that label is not 100% accurate and doesn’t do them justice. Sure, you will find Black Metal riffs, screams, screeches and beats, but that certainly is not all there is to hear. From a deep rolling rumble to soft acoustic guitar followed by a slow Doom riff and deep Death growl, there really is a lot to be found, there are also some very strong Pagan and at times Folk Metal influences at work here.
One of the best albums released in 2007 was NOVEMBERS DOOM’s “The Novella Reservoir” and a comparison can be drawn between these two records. “Kammen” at times has a very strong Death Metal feel and it is especially the thunderous riffing that WYRD employ so well that reminded me of NOVEMBERS DOOM almost instantly. On the vocal front certain similarities can once again be found between these two bands, but Nargath’s vocals vary from clear singing, to higher pitched screeches and even a deep Death Metal growl that has hints of Mikael Åkerfeldt and OPETH. Some of the tracks also slow right down to Doom Metal, tracks like “October” and “Rajalla” come to mind, and it adds a chunk of atmosphere to the album that reminds me of the sound that KATATONIA had in their earlier years. All these influences and styles make this record a perfect companion for a dark, rainy night, holding a glass of red in your hand and letting the melodies wash over and through you, sending thoughts spiraling down, to be lifted again by the thunderous thrills and rolling riffs.
As mentioned, I had no prior aural knowledge of WYRD, but now that certainly will change. There has been a big surge in Pagan Metal bands entering the top tiers of Metal in the last few years, heroes like MOONSORROW, PRIMORDIAL etc. have come to the fore and opened up a new genre for the world to enjoy. “Kammen” has really placed WYRD up there with the big guns (or should I say axes?) - very thoughtful, melancholic, but also aggressive, thundering and certainly heavy. It is a pity this album arrived in my mailbox so late in the year for it would certainly have been in the running for one of the best releases of 2007. Recommended for fans of Pagan Black Metal in general and if the above mentioned names have a place in your CD collection, “Kammen” is well worth a spot on your playlist, and dare I say it, it will feature quite prominently.
(Online January 24, 2008)