As I’ve said before, Melodic Death Metal can be tricky. Bands like MERCENARY absolutely do it right. Others, not so much. One of the problems is how generic and similar a lot of the bands sound. The technical proficiency is there, but it’s just cold, lifeless, music, as if the players are on autopilot, phoning it in. And this is why WORDS OF FAREWELL is such a breath of fresh air. They’ve got the heavy part down, but they also have a generous helping of melody. Even more important, their use of keys to create an atmosphere, a sonic landscape is what really sets them apart from others and frees them from the confines of being labeled as just this type of band. Their sophomore album The Black Wild Yonder is available now via AFM Records and is well worth checking out.
I knew as soon as I put it on I was gonna like these guys. And it wasn’t any one thing in particular that made me think that, it was their intangibles. This is not so much an album to listen to as it is to experience. When you hear songs like “Damaged Beyond Repair” and “Temporary Loss of Reason” (my favorite!) you can’t help but notice how musically they are as different as night and day, but they are still pieces of the same musical puzzle. “Reason” really makes the best use of keys out of all the tracks and that guitar line hook is goddamn infectious, plus the harmonized solo is lights out before the keys come in with a solo of their own. Definitely one of the more original pieces I’ve heard in 2014.
The beginning of the album is dark and mysterious, before “Continuum Shift” comes in and blows everything wide open. “Telltale Notion” takes this and runs with it, the keyboards figuring prominently from start to finish. Now I haven’t heard the band’s first record Immersion (you can bet I will, though!), but if it’s anything like this stuff then count me in. And what’s this? A seven-minute official album closer, you say? Hell yeah, I wanna hear it! One of the strongest tracks on The Black Wild Yonder, “Riven” finds the band firing on all cylinders. The ambience, the mood, everything about this song is a winner. The guitars are sharp and work well with the keys to wrap you up the song with no signs of letting go.
What boggles my mind a lot of the time is what goes into making a song a bonus track. Are these bands not hearing what I’m hearing?? “Overture” is one of the best fucking songs on this record and needs to be included on the regular version. I don’t get it sometimes, I just don’t. I also particularly enjoyed the crunchy attack of “In Kingdoms of Rain” and “Beauty in Passing”, two very heavy and aggressive numbers that mange to pack the needed punch without sacrificing melody. And there’s no way to listen to “The Outer Rim” without wanting to wreck shop somewhere, anywhere!
All told, WORDS OF FAREWELL are a great band and The Black Wild Yonder is a really, really great album. It is most definitely a welcome and sorely needed change for a genre that has grown somewhat stagnant in my ANYTHING but humble opinion.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Riven”, “Overture”, “Temporary Loss of Reason”, “Beauty in Passing”, “In Kingdoms of Rain”, “The Outer Rim”