Irish folk metal masters Waylander return with their fourth full length offering, titled ‘Kindred Spirits’; a collection of nine thrash-infused hymns that are solid and sincere in their performance and message. Without a release in four years, fans of Waylander should be satisfied with the work on ‘Kindred Spirits’ as each song is quite complete with atmosphere and attitude, snarling sinister vocals and a rhythm section that is air-tight. The guitar work, while not flashy, does an excellent job of providing melody and movement without losing sight of the spot-on drum progression.
The flute dances in and out of the mix at just the right times, expressing itself without error and creating an atmosphere that allows the mind to escape, reflect and imagine. Other ‘folk instruments’ or percussive tracks, such as the two minute interlude ‘Grave of Giants’, on ‘Kindred Spirits’ give a mood that Waylander creates well and because of their brevity and well-timed placement, do well to not outshine an otherwise solid as fuck metal album.
The blasting madness heard on ‘Of Fear and Fury’ is a testament to Waylander’s ability as musicians to withstand being pidgeon-holed into one genre…one that is often too quickly dismissed by fans of other genres in the metal community. If I had a single complaint, it would be the drums are quite sterile on this recording (that doesn’t mean they don’t dominate) and the songs can sound similiar, save for their intros, outros and bridges.
While I don’t find myself seeking out new ‘folk metal’ to listen to, I will definitely be recommending Waylander to friends and foes alike, as their sound is one to be heard to be fully appreciated and felt!