Wilderun is a name that you’ll be forgiven for not having heard before. The band has been somewhat of an underground phenomenon in the American progressive and folk metal spheres and are now, with the help of Century Media records, re-releasing their 2019 album Veil of Imagination. Mixed by Dan Swanö and mastered by Jens Bogren, the band’s third release marks a slight transition away from pure folk metal and blends in more aggressive elements from across the realm of metal.
Opening track “The Unimaginable Zero Summer” serves as an excellent welcome to the album with over 14 and a half minutes of unquestionably beautiful piano and clean vocal melodies, earth shattering harsh vocals and aggressive sections and Swanö style guitar harmonies throughout. It is arguably one of the best opening tracks on a progressive metal album and, as mentioned earlier, warms up the ears and mind for what follows.
And boy, what a track that follows. “O Resolution!” takes the form of a Devin Townsend Project track on steroids with a chunk of Opeth injected for good measure. And yes, it works perfectly and sounds absolutely incredible with both the harsh and clean vocals from Evan glistening atop the mighty musical mountain. “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun” follows with an initially softer touch with piano and clean vocals making up most of the soundscape. The softer touch still continues throughout the track despite the heavier instrumentation and presence of harsh vocals. Whether that’s due to backing orchestral instruments lightening the mood or happy sounding leitmotifs it’s hard to tell.
“Scentless Core (Budding)” follows and is the shortest track on the album at just 3 minutes and 33 seconds in length. What it lacks in length it more than makes up for in quality however, with the male voice choir and backing instruments having a Tolkien-esque style to them. This continues to build into a grand fanfare before fading away into a soothing piano melody. The peace however, is all but shattered with the arrival of “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl” and the return of the lovely clean vocals of Evan. A set of particularly tasty guitar solos from guitarist Joe slot in perfectly and excellently complement what is probably one of the best tracks on the album.
“Scentless Core (Fading)” continues the album with some more lovely piano and acoustic guitar melodies to begin with. The Tolkien-esque backing instruments come back once again to accompany the clean vocal melody before the rest of the instruments come to create a driving rhythm which leads into following track “The Tyranny of Imagination”. A hint of Opeth is present in this track with the harsh vocals and guitar patterns echoing parts of Ghost Reveries. It’s done very well and being layered alongside orchestral elements helps it sit in the song perfectly.
The near 12-minute epic “When the Fire and the Rose Were On” rounds the album out with another smorgasbord of musical elements. From pianos and clean vocals to soaring guitar melodies and symphonic backing, this track takes everything that was heard previously and dials it up to 12 with astounding results. It is easily one of the best tracks on the album and the perfect track to end with.
In comparison to other progressive metal bands, Wilderun are not afraid to implement parts which may not be entirely common within the genre. However, it’s this incorporation which allows them to stand-out and create some of the most astounding music and soundscapes in the genre. From the astounding orchestra and clean vocals, to the fantastic melodies and harsh vocals, this is an album which demands to be listened to in full and can take your breath away at points. It is, without question, one of the most complete and finest progressive metal albums that has been created.
Veil of Imagination is out on July 17th