Have you ever listened to black metal and thought it could use some western sounding songwriting? Or maybe have listened to country and thought it could use a little blackened style? Well, it’s probably likely you’ve never thought of either, and that’s completely okay, I hadn’t either. However, Wayfarer’s newest record ‘American Gothic’ does just that: create a style of blackened country-ish metal that is flawlessly executed and makes for a unique songwriting journey that is beautiful through and through.
“The Thousand Tombs Of Western Promise” opens with a brooding acoustic progression accented by sliding technique and atmospheric reverb. This explodes into a supporting cast of melodic distorted riffs, simple, open drum groove and abrasive, raw vocals. This balance of country/americana tinge and blackened metal persists throughout ‘American Gothic,’ leading to a unique experience of metal with a southern atmospheric flair. “The Cattle Thief” and “Black Plumes Over God’s Country” continue to expand their sound with a great emphasis on open soundscapes filled with country-tinged guitar passages contrasted by driving drums and abrasive screeches and growls. However, Wayfarer goes deeper into melodic sensibility experimented with on ‘A Romance with Violence,’ stripping back the heavier metal aspects and highlighting the blackened country style. “Reaper On The Oilfields,” with its droning instrumentation, slowly burns with a dark, sludgy atmosphere that accentuates the western-centric songwriting and haunting, eerie vocals that loom across the track. The saloon-esque piano melody of “False Constellation” showcases this country-tinge that shines through the heavier, blackened moments which blends the two styles effortlessly. Further so, “A High Plains Eulogy” is like a western ballad, highlighted by smooth vocal melodies that glide over ambient passages that fill the atmosphere with beauty, providing a subtle contrast that fits perfectly among the more aggressive sections.
‘American Gothic’ is a beautiful exposé of Wayfarer’s unique approach of blackened-country, western-tinged metal. Though more focused on melodic components than their black metal approach from years before, the band continues to expand their style and refine their sound in harmonious songwriting and stripped-down soundscapes. This is the new ‘American Gothic,’ a journey through a genre that shouldn’t work, but is beautifully mastered.