I honestly didn’t think a whole lot of it at first, but about four minutes through “Balthazar,” bobbing my head, I thought “wow, this is pretty fucking solid.”
That feeling is one that would stay with me throughout the course of the Wayward’s self-titled effort, and for a number of very concrete reasons that can all be attributed to various aspects of this tornado of a record. I didn’t so much know what to expect being that there was no lyrics in the booklet, no press sheet to accompany the album -- all I had to go on was that the band was a three-piece from the New York area.
And this three-piece is able to create more noise and complex arrangements than just about any such band I’ve ever come across. The guitar work on this album is nothing short of exemplary, as the slick and complicated chord progressions that guitarist and vocalist Nick Skrobisz are able to turn out are constantly morphing and changing to fit the rhythm of a given track. The incredible speed and clean tones of “Ye Old Battle Axe” may contrast a song like “Cross Section,” where dissonance takes over, but if nothing else it’s always exciting to see just what path will be traveled down next. The guitar work sets an excellent basis for drummer Nate Simms and bassist Jesse Skrobisz, one that they’re able to work off to make every song sound completely fresh and unique.
More importantly though, is that the guitar work never falls into the category of “noodling.” It’s an easy thing to do when your guitarist is so incredibly talented, but for all the impressive tricks he pulls out of his bag, they’re firmly rooted in the basis of the song. The start-and-stop riffing of the aforementioned “Ye Old Battle Axe” is a perfect example, as every start and stop is reflected in the vocals, bass, and drums as well, all working together in perfect harmony to create something as dynamic as it is cacophonous.
From the howl of Nick Skrobisz to the pitter-patter of Nate Simms’ snare, this self-titled effort is one that exemplifies the term dynamic. Brimming with energy and talent to match, this band can go as far as the reaches of their own minds will carry them.
So, in this case, the sky’s the limit.