Review Summary: The album starts powerfully, goes through hundreds of different transitions and then ends on a sombre yet still commanding note that despite the hour long playtime, leaves you begging for more. This is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
You’re standing on a cold mountain, the wind whipping at your skin and stinging your eyes, yet you feel at home here, as if welcomed somehow. Your sight is obscured by the rain, but it doesn’t matter, for it is beautiful anyway. A deep mist resides around you, and as you plummet down the mountain side, you get the feeling that you never want to leave this place.
This could happen to you while listening to Kammen, the seventh album from the criminally unknown band Wyrd. There is barely a snippet of information about this band anywhere, the only bit of information I could find about them when I bought the cd was that they were a black metal band, and that is only half true. Sure, you will find some black metal screams, evil riffs, a cold atmosphere and ferocious drumming, but alongside all of this is the almost dominating folky influence that is obvious throughout the album. From the magical guitar work on ‘October’ to the beautiful melodies in the title track. There is also a very powerful doom influence, noticeable on many tracks, with slow rocking melodies and deep, powerful vocals. The list of influences and styles could go on, but there’s no need, all you need to know is that is one fantastically varied album, and at over an hour long in listening time, it needs to be. With such a wide array of influences in their music it is hard to compare them to any other band’s either, at certain times they sound remarkably like Agalloch
, while at other times featuring the sort of driving power that Novembers Doom
tried to pull off on their latest, only Wyrd do it so much better, but one band I feel they are most similar to, maybe not in sound but in style, are Amorphis
, although these guys are by far much heavier than Amorphis, the way each of these bands can so easily mix in the folkish elements with their more brutal sound is remarkable and a joy to listen to.
The album starts rather unspectacularly, with a powerful but still rather safe
opener that is probably the least dynamic on the album, ‘The Hounds of the Falls’ is by no means a bad song, far from it, but when you compare it to the stellar pieces of work on the rest of the album there is definitely something missing, in fact, it is most similar to Opeth
in the fact that the band seemingly place less emphasis on the ebb and flow of this song, compared to the other songs, and more so on the introduction of each of the different elements that will take place on the rest of the album, but Opeth can pull this off a lot better, fortunately though, the rest of the album is completely different. The rest of the songs on the album simply expand on a few of the attributes and mould them wonderfully which keeps them more engaging. The next song, for example, ‘Cold in the Earth’, concentrates on the bands death metal side, bringing forth their most brutal song and topping it off with an epic chorus. This song is dominated by ferocious growling, a brilliantly heavy arrangement of riffs, and a lovely memorable chorus that simply provides the final touch to an already stellar song. It is not until after the first two songs that the band have had enough fun ripping your senses to shreds, and instead focus on overwhelming you with the magnificent atmosphere and epic arrangements.
"The sun and the moon thrown from their paths, not a single star flickered in the night, time stood still in silence, holding its breath, waiting for the end."
I fell in love with this band (or more precisely, this album) almost instantly, the atmosphere is simply unbelievable, the vocals are perfect, and there are enough brilliant melodies to put any other band to shame! The bass work is surprisingly high in the mix, driving the music forward, and the keyboard work gives the music an ethereal quality. The vocals range from deep, brilliant death metal vocals that instantly remind me of Akerfeldt (high praise indeed!) to a wide arrange of different singing styles, each of which are done to perfection. The guitars are done brilliantly, just being at the right level in the mix, not overpowering the rest of the music but still providing the melodies that will stick in your head and provide the main structure for each song, one song that needs to be highlighted here is the rather excellent ‘The Last Time’, which plays around some almost Swedish sounding melodies and creates an exhilarating six minute journey into this bands version of melodic death metal, and it reminds me a hell of a lot of Edge of Sanity
(and if anybody knows my opinion of this band, you’ll know why I loved this song!).
"I'm gone there's nothing left for me here, just an empty house with empty cold rooms, full of bitter longing and gloom, full of bitter longing for you"
So, with an immersive atmosphere, beautiful melodies, powerful death metal riffs and exquisite vocals, the only thing that needs to be good are the actual songs; or the song writing to be more precise, and Wyrd are as varied and excellent with this as any other thing on this album. From the rather quickly paced five minute songs (probably the most common on this album), to both a ten minute, and a seventeen minute epic in between! ‘Rajarra’ sounds like a heavier and slightly more direct Moonsorrow
and it impresses both with the many stunning riffs and the overall pacing of the song, at no point does the length seem forced, and the band appropriately place several acoustic sessions in it, and place a slight less emphasis on the vocals, making it a truly stunning composition to listen to, it all builds to an impressive climax towards the end where you realise that this is something special, everything fits, there is nothing more this band could have done to make this sound any better than it already is, and it is precisely for this reason, that this album deserves to be heard by more people, so many more. The fact that the lyrics are in another language only adds to the immersion and mystical aura. This leads me on to another subject, the lyrics, Wyrd have some of the most impressive lyrics I have heard in a while, poetic, graceful, heart-felt, it is another facet of the music that the band have perfected, it is so easy to just get lost in them as you listen to the music, and find yourself slowly forgetting about everything around you, just letting the music take your full attention. You don’t need to do this, as you do with many other bands, Wyrd command
your attention, not by brute force (though they are more than capable!) but by captivating melodies and a unique atmosphere.
"Now in the falling of gloom, the red fire paints the empty room, burn all the bridges, burn the past, flames will swallow all that once was"
It is almost impossible to pick any highlights from ‘Kammen’, the seventeen minute track might be the most obvious pick, but when songs like ‘October’ and ‘The Last Time’ are also in the mix it just makes you wonder in amazement how this band have managed to create such a masterpiece here, everything, from the production to the vocals and instrumentation is perfect. Although in theory, they have not tried to create anything ground-braking here, but they have done so anyway, as if the band themselves could not fathom creating such an album, could not fathom writing such amazing music, and did not even begin to think that all the small little influences and ambitious songs would turn out to be so brilliant. The album starts powerfully, goes through hundreds of different transitions and then ends on a sombre yet still commanding note that despite the hour long playtime, leaves you begging for more. This is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.