In my never-ending quest to own every album with Dan Swanö's name on it, I've come across quite a few odd and obscure albums. Godsend's third and, as of now, final album, A Wayfarer's Tears is definitely one of the weirder albums I've discovered during my journey. On this release, expect to hear a mix of progressive rock, doom metal, traditional heavy metal, goth rock, and even pop. These things don't usually mix well, but Godsend does it in a surprisingly entertaining and coherent way. This is far from any of the essential Dan Swanö-related releases, but if you are a fanboy like me, this should be on your list.
As mentioned, the music here is a weird hybrid of doom metal, goth rock, progressive rock, traditional heavy metal, and occasionally pop. All of these five genres aren't often present in the same song, but there are often doom metal songs in the vein of My Dying Bride or Anathema followed by a proggy heavy metal song. Although this sounds incoherent on paper (and it occasionally is), Godsend pulls off this unique sound very well. This sounds a bit like Swanö's Nightingale project, but A Wayfarer's Tears is much more raw, doomy, and occasionally heavier. All in all, if you're into doom metal and have eclectic tastes in music, this album should appeal to you.
A Wayfarer's Tears is a 12-track, 56:38 long album. Saying this album has 12 songs is a bit inaccurate due to the fact that 5 of the songs form a 20+ minute suite, A Wayfarer's Tears. This epic tour de force is surely the highlight of the album for me. This is a doomy, proggy, and emotional rollercoaster well-worth taking. The rest of the album isn't ever quite as good as the epic, but none of it's bad. However, as expected with a nearly hour-long album, there is some filler. Most of it's towards the end, as the album takes a huge dive in quality after the Wayfarer suite. It starts to drag on and lose its intensity and power after about 35-40 minutes. Not too many bands can make a perfect, filler-free album that's over 40 minutes, and Godsend isn't one of the exceptions. The weakest song in my opinion is the 10:40 Starfall. Doom metal fans may get a kick out of Dan Swanö's low, almost inhuman, funeral doom-styled vocals here, but for me it's just boring and pointless. I'm sure it's an acquired taste, though. The rest of the songs are of at least decent quality.
The musicians are good on A Wayfarer's Tears, but judging by the lineup history, it could have been better. Dan Swanö's vocals are fantastic; it seems as though they were meant for this type of doom metal/goth rock. This has Benny Larsson (Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, Total Terror) on drums, so of course his playing is great as always. This has Erik Oskarsson of Nightingale on bass, and he does a pretty solid job as well. The two guitarists are generally pretty good, but they are occasionally on the sloppier side. Even though each of the musicians is individually pretty great, when they come together they aren't exactly a tight playing unit. It comes across as a bit amateurish despite the fact that these are very accomplished musicians.
The production is one of the major faults here. I just don't like this primitive and raw doom metal sound, and even though it gets the job done, its too lo-fi for my liking. It's an acquired taste, though, and old school doom metal fans will disagree with me here.
A Wayfarer's Tears is a very good album by Godsend, and recommended to any fan of Dan Swanö, doom metal, or just anyone looking for an unusually eclectic metal album. I have to say this isn't the type of music that excites me very much, even though it is a high quality album. I will give this a 2.5-3 star rating for an album that will only really please a limited audience. If the entire album were as great as the title-suite, I surely would have given a higher score.