Waylander - Kindred Spirits
Hampered by internal strife and label issues, Kindred Spirits is merely the fourth album from folky Irish metallers Waylander in the best part of two decades. Once heralded as a promising young leader of the burgeoning folk metal scene, their inability to maintain a stable line-up has seen them left well behind both their peers and successive waves of bands from not just the Emerald Isle but the continent too. As a consequence this is a record still very much stuck in those early days of the genre, denied the usual time and experience to mature that would usually be expected of a band closing in on twenty years of existence.
The major criticism to be levelled at Kindred Spirits is how the two strands remain separate; for the majority of the album it is nothing more than standard black metal with a motley assortment of pipes and whistles dancing a merry jig all of their own. Whereas bands like Primordial and Finntroll have melded the elements of their national heritage with the heavy guitars, Waylander have yet to reach that level of integration. There are still some good tunes hidden away on Kindred Spirits, and the traditional instruments don't sound at all gimmicky, but Waylander have an awful lot of catching up to do.