Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence

Wayfarer are a atmospheric black metal band with folk elements from Colorado, and much of their music tends to follow along the themes of nature and old history dating back to the wild west. The music is chaotic, yet also very peaceful; fans of groups like Agalloch will appreciate the harsh, wintery tone mixed with the softer moments. On their fourth album, “A Romance With Violence”, the group leans towards more of a straightforward metal opera, complete with introductions and interludes to give listeners a break between the louder tracks. For both old and new listeners this is something a little different than what they’ve done in the past, and the concept of the album is much more rooted in the time when the old west was prevalent with gunslingers, iron horses (trains), and the gold mining fever was gripping America, whereas in the past on their albums the concepts were a little looser, and like the music, it is much tighter here.

Wayfarer seem to have two fronts when it comes to their music. After a brief instrumental chock full of unique sounds like a saloon piano, the more familiar black metal elements get thrown in with ‘The Crimson Rider’. This is pretty much Wayfarer’s harsh side- black metal-esque tones on the guitar with raw snarling and rapid drumming that breaks up here and there for softer, cleaner guitar tones and thunderous drones that have almost a tribal drumming to them. The backing keyboards also help with the atmosphere. While not quite ‘kvlt,’ the guitars and bass host plenty of melody that would appeal to fans of more melodic black metal groups like Ghostbath. Then the group changes tactics on a track like 'Fire And Gold' which is one of the softer tracks aside from the instrumentals, losing all the black metal harshness and aiming more for the folk sounds, touching a little bit on gothic doom a bit especially with the tones of the vocals which sound like My Dying Bride. The clean vocal use is certainly more interesting than the harsh vocals, using a lot more variation with either the mournful tones or dramatic echoing. Overall, this is where the Agalloch fans will really get their kicks.

The group pulls both their elements together in the later tracks such as ‘Vaudeville’. Opening soft and ending heavy, this is an excellent mix of folk and black metal with backing choirs and a great close for the album. While the entire album is only 7 tracks with 2 of them barely 2 minutes, there are a lot of epics here on “A Romance With Violence” so there is a lot of time to digest the music. While some tracks tend to Segway right into the next, making listening to this album on shuffle a bit of a disruption, the whole thing can easily be enjoyed from start to finish without much room for boredom. Fans who like something a little different from the typical black metal onslaught with a bit of a learning curve on it will find Wayfarer a catchy listen, and for those who enjoy the spirit of nature infused with their music akin to groups like Panopticon will definitely want to check out their other albums as well.

4 / 5 STARS 


1. The Curtain Pulls Back
2. The Crimson Rider (Gallows Frontier, Act I)
3. The Iron Horse (Gallows Frontier, Act II)
4. Fire And Gold
5. Masquerade Of The Gunslingers
6. Intermission
7. Vaudeville