Words Of Farewell – The Black Wild Yonder
Reviewed By Christopher Foley
Man, this is more than a little upsetting. With debut opus Immersion, I’d found Words Of Farewell to be a promising act in an increasingly dull genre. Blending the celestial atmosphere common in the Scandinavian progressive power metal scene with the poignant style of melodic death metal delivered via acts like Insomnium or Dark Tranquillity, the Germans really had a sound I could get down with. Sadly, a lot of the searing charm of Immersion has been left behind in favor of basically aping Soilwork circa Natural Born Chaos or even Scar Symmetry at its least progressive.
Whilst it’s hardly the end of the world, as such a staunch champion of the debut, I’ve got to say this album is largely disappointing to my ears. Still, in the interest of fairness, it’s worth mentioning that there is some good stuff; particularly for fans of the style. The rolling grooves typical of the modern styles of both melodic death metal and *shudders* djent, are professionally utilized and never crutched on. Words Of Farewell includes, of course, deft musicians who can be heard throughout The Black Wild Yonder. Particularly strong is the guitar and key interplay, shown to dizzying effect in “Temporary Loss Of Reason”.
Actually, I guess the keyboards are probably the finest aspect here – and coincidentally the finest aspect on the aforementioned Natural Born Chaos too (“As We Speak” still rules). Leo Wichmann does a bang-up job of creating that kind of glossy, and to an extent, even classy atmosphere. It’s a shame the music he graces is largely hit or miss. The guitars seem all too content to rest on routine note chugging, saving the majority of creative flare for lead lines (this is fairly common practice within the style, admittedly). They do break out the actual riffs from time to time, although it’s nothing more than typical.
The vocals are also a decided step back (or forward in a direction which doesn’t suit my taste), as Alex Otto’s voice was a strong, crisp growl on the debut. Here, it strays into, again, Soilwork territory, with lines that come across as more than a little “tough-guy”. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t say the vocals were horrible by any stretch.
The rest is pretty much as expected: excellent modern production values, complete with all the expected clicking drums and dry guitars. If you’re at all a fan of this particular strand of melodic death metal, then this is an album you’re going to want to pick up without hesitation. For me it’s a little too much, and like I say, it takes away a lot of what I liked about Words Of Farewell in the first place. Gone are the more intense, poignant affairs, replaced with an obvious approach I care little for. Give it a blast if this sounds like your thing.
3.0 // 5