041: WAYFARER

Wayfarer’s music falls somewhere between atmospheric black and folk music, but the themes and concepts they utilise are far from typical for either genre.

I once saw Wayfarer rather fantastically described as ‘frontier metal’, and that kind of sums it up. The concept here is the wild west – saloons, horses, open plains, ranchers, and steam trains. It’s as unique and as strong an idea as I can think of in black metal, and it’s a surprise it’s not more common with other bands.

But this is far from a gimmick. Their latest album, ‘A Romance With Violence’, opens with the janky melodies of an old saloon piano, and that’s about as ‘on the nose’ as the Western theme gets. From then on, it’s legitimate and monstrous metal. The riffs hit hard, and the drums belt along like the train on the album’s cover.

The lyrics tell tales of gunslingers, heroic riders headed to the gallows, and the prospector’s hunt for gold. All classic tropes of a genre here presented without an ounce of insincerity. This is a challenging, unforgiving era, and this is very much the music to soundtrack it.

Wayfarer are a formidable band of undeniable talent. The fact they put this talent toward a beautifully realised ride through such an iconic and oft-examined period of history, and still present something unique and valuable, is further proof of it.