Black metal that swaps snow-swept forests for the mountains, foothills and desert plains of Colorado.
The pioneering spirit of the Old West and the axe-happy demons of the frozen North come together in Colorado’s Wayfarer. Drawing on the history of the Great Frontier and their native surroundings, their previous records Children Of The Iron Age and Old Souls tell tales of powerful legends, magnificent landscapes and stolen lands. With recent release World’s Blood now in the racks, Astral Noize sat down with the band to talk heresy, heaviness and heritage.
What drove you to approach the world of black metal from the viewpoint of the Old West?
Influence of surroundings I guess. Black metal in particular has always seemed to draw influence from the culture, landscape, lore and history of its homeland. But we are not Nordic people from Norway, we are Americans from Colorado, from the West. There is a feeling here and a strong and bloody history here as well as a profound influence musically through history and culture, Colorado in particular having birthed the whole “Denver Sound” movement from which we draw much inspiration.
What parallels do you see between the lawless but deeply Christian mentality of that period in time and the heresy-fuelled squall of black metal?
It’s the same as it ever was, hungry expansionist mentality of those in power preying on those that they know that they can envelop. It was a Christian, “manifest destiny” mentality that drove the westward expansion and resulting genocide, so it’s another example of wealthy Christians attempting to remove another culture from the earth.
Your previous works – particularly Children Of The Iron Age – were much more direct and compact than the more expansive approach on World’s Blood. Was this a conscious decision or something that evolved naturally?
We actually see it as sort of the opposite, in that those records are certainly longer and I think meander a bit more whereas World’s Blood had a more singular focus in mind, and it was intentional to explore all of the facets of that without anything extraneous attached.
There seem to be a lot of influences floating around from Fields Of Nephilim to Grails, Spectral Lore and even Jesu. Who were you listening to during the making of World’s Blood?
Fields Of Nephilim definitely found their way in there. We are pretty heavily into bands like Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower, The Slim Cessna/Munly circle of bands rooted here as well as metal like Primordial, Ulver, and bands like U.S. Christmas. We have always drawn from a wide pool of influence and just like to write what we feel from there, not really to particularly adhere to any one thing.
Atmospheric black metal seems to be going through something of a renaissance; with this significant widening of your sound, do you still feel connected to that description?
The genre tag game has always been a pain for us, as there are more than a few elements involved. But “atmospheric black metal” as a tag does seem to encompass it alright, and there is a lot of good music floating around under that umbrella these days, as with many other metal subgenres.
Given the development you’ve fostered over the last three records, what’s next for Wayfarer? Would you consider using more traditional instrumentation?
Touring more on World’s Blood, and then writing more music. We feel like we know what we want to paint now, and we look forward to expanding on and growing that. As far as other instrumentation, it’s not necessarily a plan, but if it were something called for we wouldn’t be opposed to doing so.
Tackling the subject matter of stolen lands and heritage is a pertinent topic Stateside, with the events at Standing Rock still fresh in the public consciousness. Why is the Native heritage of America such a difficult thing to acknowledge?
It’s a shameful thing to have in a nation’s history, it was a drawn-out Holocaust and the American Government still tries not to fully acknowledge that. It’s been skated around in recorded history and education since it happened but that blood is forever on our nation’s hands. But those in power never want to present themselves in a poor light no matter how true it may be, so they will forever bury it.
World’s Blood is out now on Profound Lore. Purchase here.
Words: John Tron Davidson