Released: 2014, AFM Records
Ah, hell yeah man. I eat this kind of stuff up and I am just now discovering Germany’s Words of Farewell. Formed in 2007, THE BLACK WILD YONDER is the band’s second full length album, following the 2011 acclaimed release, IMMERSION. The cool thing about this band is that they defy easy categorization, though you can hear plenty of influences throughout this melodic, brutal album. Most prevalent is Gothenburg influenced melodic death metal combined with atmospheric keyboards and grooves that recall Samael’s prime. Top it off with progressive nods to Dream Theater and you have a very fine cocktail indeed. Alexander Otto’s vocals are fairly guttural but not unlistenable, being more mid-ranged and less of the expected cookie monster or reptilian croak that pervades so much brutal music today. That is not to say the dude will when any singing awards, but it serves its purpose effectively, if a bit limited on this album.
The lead-off track “Continuum Shift” should be worth the price of admission alone, and if you are not on board with this track, then move on and save yourself some time, as this tune perfectly represents what the album has to offer. Main point of impression on this album is that the band has managed to weave intricate and complex music into arrangements and structures that resonate. Each tune sinks in and is absorbed quickly, the investment time to “get it” passing in the blink of an eye, which is a truly difficult thing to accomplish in technical music. THE BLACK WILD YONDER builds upon the foundation of IMMERSION and improves it, the sophomore album being a noticeably more complete and better written album than the already worthy IMMERSION debut.
Layers of keys are combined with staccato riffs and fluid solos to really propel the music into many different directions. The vocals are never varied, and it is here that I would level a minor complaint, as Otto has not done anything more than emulated the vocal style of every early Gothenburg death metal vocalist. Yet, the band is playing music that is so much more than death metal that it practically screams for more expansive vocals. Nevertheless it is a small quibble to which you can add a sameness of songs, which becomes noticeable by track 7 or 8. Still, what we have here with a few adjustments and tweaks is what could be the prototype for future melodic death metal. Recommended for fans of Samael, Gothenburg Death, and symphonic metal fans.