I come to review this second album by Irish Metal-masters WAYLANDER with mixed emotions. This album is a complete departure from the style they achieved on "Reawakening Pride Once Lost". I miss that style and I embrace this one equally for it is quite unique.
A more mature WAYLANDER have emerged from their three year absence playing a softer, more melancholic from of - equally as difficult to classify as "Reawakening..." - Metal. Too soft for Death, too fast for Doom, lacking the coldness of Black, yet achieving an almost perfect balance of all forms of Metal.
Here we can see a lot of older and non-extreme influences emerging (BLACK SABBATH, SKYCLAD and even METALLICA for example) to add a new depth to the WAYLANDER-sound. Although I miss the more extreme, fast and brutal tracks from "Reawakening..." here on "The Light The Dark And The Endless Knot" I find myself equally loving the epic power of the tracks here with their ever changing tempo's and moods.
The execution on the instruments show a great improvement in skill (although they can still be sloppy at times). The inclusion of guitar solos is very refreshing to hear in this age of Nu-Metal and although they aren't very original they provide a good listen.
One thing I really miss on this album is the guitar/tin whistle-style WAYLANDER had used on such great tracks as "Born To The Fight" off their debut. Here they remain completely separate as opposed to the great complimentary interlinking I loved before.
Strangely I say WAYLANDER have (unintentionally) taken a formula from MY DYING BRIDE. The tin whistle here at times can work in the same way as the violin of early the MY DYING BRIDE-albums creating a contrast to the guitars and creating new moods and emotions within the flow of each song and due to this I find this album quite "doomy" at times - which is a good thing!!!
The album took a while for me to get into on my first listen, the opening two tracks didn't really hit me, but as soon as the title-track kicked in I was entranced by this album. There are moments of pure genius to be found here, tracks like "Morrigan's Domain" would be considered masterpieces by ANY Metal-fan who listened to it. It is also my favourite WAYLANDER-track to date (well I think so).
Overall I say this is a great release and I would recommended it to fans of all kinds of Metal due to its diversity. A truly rewarding listen.