Irish WAYLANDER have always been kind of in the shadow of the big two PRIMORDIAL and CRUACHAN, even though they have been around since 1993 already, yet they somehow never managed to get past these two in terms of popularity. While the roots of all three bands are fairly similar, until CRUACHAN’s return to their roots with “Blood On The Black Robe” they were probably the band that was still closest to them.
The tin whistle and bodhran have been staples in WAYLANDER’s diet since their inception and also on their fourth album “Kindred Spirits” they incorporate it into their Folk/Black Metal sound, lending it this unique Irish feel. Just like their previous effort “Honour Amongst Chaos” four years ago, their latest has this defiant spirit shining through that still sets them apart from most of their contemporaries that opt for a smoother approach.
As I had pointed out in my last review, WAYLANDER’s sound still evokes the images of a band of long-haired warriors, war paint smeared across their faces, standing ready for battle, while in the background a band plays defiant traditional tunes to raise the spirits before the bloodshed begins. And “Echoes Of The Sidhe” kicks the album off in style and without even the hint of an intro, up-tempo, with the flute addings its unique Irish touch without getting too upfront, nicely done. And they don’t just sit back and follow the same formula either, thankfully.
While not all tracks manage to elevate themselves from the average within the Black Metal portion of their sound, WAYLANDER know how to spruce things up to keep it interesting, such as the recurring acoustic guitar of “Lamh Dearg”, the beautiful melodies in “Of Fear And Fury” or the introduction of a choir in “Quest For Immortality”. Special mention should go out to “Erdath”, which is the most varied (and over good lengths fastest) track of “Kindred Spirits”, which starts out with a calm and reflective bass and flute to erupt into a Black Metal led attack to then lead into a slow, brooding sequence while keeping up the defiant spirit.
The few more average Black Metal passages notwithstanding, “Kindred Spirits” is yet another album by WAYLANDER that should appeal to fans at the intersection of old PRIMORDIAL, CRUACHAN, SUIDAKRA and similar bands, just with its own edge.
(Online October 9, 2012)