Contrary to what some people believe, playing good folk metal is not an easy thing. There is a thin line between folkish, vivavious yet still serious stuff and some jolly-polka merry singing. Luckily for me (and You, dear reader) last Waylander's album is that first, good kind of folk metal.
"Kindred Spirits" is the continuation of what those northern Irish guys created on their previous album "Honour Amongst Chaos". The folkish tunes are generated by the traditional instruments, like whistles, mandolin etc. It sounds really good - the musicans are not some kind of amateurs, and they know how to create an addictive, celtic atmosphere. The only flaw that sometimes irritates me is the sound of the mentioned whistle - in some parts it's really needless (like in some moments of "Twin Fires of Beltine"). Luckily a band rarely do it. Also the parts when a band plays only on folk instruments automatically reminds me of some movies (like "Braveheart"), it's really a pure pleasure to listen to them.
The metal section bases mainly on traditional heavy/speed metal, but quite often it turns into a bit darker forms (like more aggresive "Erdath", or slow, dark parts of mentioned "Twin Fires..."). Generally speaking this album is heavier than it's predecessor, both in quick and slow parts. There is a lot of going here - the music often changes tempo, and folkish section very well highlights the atmosphere.
Over this instrumental core screams and growls the vocalist (in a bit black metal vain), who's often supported by his band mates. They are doing a good job, some parts can be really memorable, like e.g. choirs in "Of Fear And Fury".
The sound of this album is very good - selective, and properly heavy. The folkish section is produced in a bit soft way. Generally it's a good thing, also sometimes it makes a whistle a bit annoying - like I said before.
To sum up: Waylander recorded a very fine piece of music. In some parts it reminds me Skyforger's album "Kurbads", propably due to this heavy metal inlfuences. So if you like that kind of playing, you can search for this album. Maybe this is not the most original thing, but it'll surely brings you some good moments.
1. Echeos of the Sidhe
2. Lamh Dearg
3. Twin Fires of Beltine
4. Of Fear And Fury
5. Grave of Giants
6. A Path Well Troden
7. Quest for Immortality
9. Kindred Spirits