Honour Amongst Chaos
posted on 12/2008 By:
For a while, Ireland’s Waylander with a Century Media Records debut (1998’s Reawakening Pride Once Lost), looked poised to be on par with country mates Cruachan and put Ireland on the celtic/folk metal map. Then there was 2001’s rather messy and lackluster The Light, The Dark and the Endless Knot, then the band disappeared - until now.
Well, seven years off and a new line-up appears to have re-ignited the promise of the debut as Waylander looks to shake up the viking dominated folk scene with a celtic injected take on thrash and NWOBM that finally gives the folk metal scene a less Scandinavian flavor. While acts like Finntroll, Ensiferum, Equilibrium, Finsterforst and such deliver a pomp happy, bouncy, filled, polished, bombastic take on folk metal often relying on overbearing synths and humpa breakdowns, Waylander offers a rougher, readier take on the genre that's proportional to the rough craggy land they hail from. They incorporate a basic riff structure that’s part Skyclad, early Forefather, early The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Winterfylleth and Primordial as well as the aforementioned thrash and NWOBM.
Flocking the riffs is the tin whistle, mandolin & bodhran (a handheld drum) played by new member Dave Briggs and the gravelly rasps and croons of frontman and founding member Ciaran O'Hagan. Both give the material the desired, mystic celtic atmosphere which is quickly displayed in fine form for the opening duo of “As the Deities Clash” and “Walk With Honour,” proudly proclaiming the return of Waylander to the fray. Then after a brief Braveheart-ish soundtrack start, “Beyond the Ninth Wave” explodes with a blackened fury and then “Galloping Gaels” (though it sounds like “Galloping Girls”) continues the album's far sterner delivery, fully cementing the band's return to glory days.
Arguable standout track, the 10 minute “To Dine In the Other World” starts with somber ethnic instrumentation and O'Hagan’s moody croon but then alternates between a very Primordial-styled epic number and a more folkish jig and a cool acoustic mid section. Admittedly, despite its quality, Honour Amongst Chaos has seen its high points when “Usurpers of Our Legacy” kicks in with some shaky blast beats and “Takers of Heads” rumbles with a more old school structure, as the formula has made its point and starts to wear off, especially with the lengthy (5-11 minutes) songs. And personally while the celtic elements are melded with the metal as far as intros and interludes (i.e the mid section of "Elemental Chaos"), I would have loved to have heard a more purely celtic, traditional piece like closer "Bru na Boinne".
Honour Amongst Chaos is a triumphant return for one of the pioneers of “Celtic Metal” and if Sláine (Google him if you don’t know who I’m talking about) listened to metal; my guess it would be Waylander.
Register to post comments.