As we get closer to the end of 2014, we begin reflecting on the great metal albums of the past 12 months. And indeed, 2014 has been a great year in metal, both for bands of yore, as well as some recent start-ups, who have dropped some killer debuts. But, alas, the year ain’t over yet, and we still have some great metal to bring us into 2015. One of these late drops was recently sent my way; the Prosthetic Records debut from newcomers, WAYFARER. The Colorado quintet will unleash Children of the Iron Age upon the world on November 25.
As I teased in the prior paragraph, the group has made an incredibly strong debut, placing themselves in a realm beyond simple categorization. At first, one would argue this to be a modern, straight ahead Death Metal record; however, in close listening, it’s easy to recognize that such a slim branding would be very obtuse. Throughout the album, elements of Black Metal seep out of the speakers as other sections counter with dashes of melody that are usually more synonymous with European acts. And yet, the production is a bit more low-fi, raw, unpolished and gritty, giving Children a classic Death Metal overtone that is sure to please fans of the original school of this offshoot genre.
But sound isn’t everything to a good disc; it takes precision songwriting to fluidly mix such volatile elements together seamlessly. And without a doubt, the guys in this band have reached that stride, even ascending to a point of near progressive status with their intricately structured tunes. Of the eight tracks on this inaugural offering, six of them time in well over the eight minute mark; and yet, each retains a great deal of interest to the listener, almost removing the need to pay mind to such expansive lengths of song. Further, nary a moment can be found where a riff outstays its welcome; a feat that proves impressive when writing such extended tracks. Let’s face it, we’ve all heard a group write a five minute song that holds three to four riffs, and the group harps on those riffs, beating them like a dead horse, a scenario I typically refer to as “Enter Sandman Syndrome.”
Bringing things to a close, I commend the fellas in WAYFARER for spawning such an epic and lively batch of songs for their initial release. I would be hard pressed to find a more impressive disc from any of their peers among the more traditional Death Metal styling. Children of the Iron Age sets a pace that is often troublesome for groups to top with each new release, so it will be exciting to see the way the group grows and the direction they pave on their sophomore effort. Until then, I will be greatly enjoying this one, and I strongly suggest that you take the time to do the same. Pick it up, make it part of your collection. You’ll thank me later.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE