With their 2019 release, “Veil of Imagination,” the American progressive metal act WILDERUN impressed a lot of journalists around the globe. Luckily, their efforts didn’t go unnoticed and they were picked up by Century Media Records for a re-release of “Veil Imagination,” out on 17 July 2020.
I discovered WILDERUN on Facebook when their eye-catching promotional photograph was shared on my news feed. Soon, I discovered an epic journey through various music soundscapes that simply amazed me. I was too late to the party to write a review back then, but now after having listened to “Veil of Imagination” over and over again and with a re-release coming up, I’m first in line.
“Veil of Imagination” starts with the ambitious “The Unimaginable Zero Summer,” clocking in at 14 and a half minutes. This track has it all. Starting out with narration, the song twists and turns through various landscapes of a beautiful score that is layered, progressive, and folky in its nature. While the song progresses, it gets heavier and ultimately blends in more genres with precision, creating a unique blend of music that, at the first listen, might tend to be a bit overwhelming, but somehow is intriguing at the same time. Within these 14 minutes, you already get an impression of what a band like WILDERUN is all about – they’re foremost storytellers who, by using cinematographic soundscapes, can summon images in your mind if you dare to close your eyes.
“O Resolution!” continues with as much extravaganza as the band had embraced from the start of this album. The song trades gang vocals with softer vocal passages, as well as growls, giving it extra depth. Again, the band has managed to create a masterful song with a lot of intriguing parts that catch the listener’s attention. A more ominous atmosphere sets the precedent of “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun,” which starts off in a cautious manner, reprising some melodies that the band had previously introduced, as well as something that reminds me a little bit of “Fly From Here” by YES. Midway through, the song gets extremely heavy, with grim riffs on the verge of doom metal taking control. The song has a fairly progressive, layered part in the middle, but then its mood changes again to something more hopeful. “Scentless Core (Budding)” forms a short intermezzo. Starting off with a beautiful and warm-sounding piano melody, twisting through beautiful soundscapes, a choir humming, and a symphonic, progressive crescendo, it creates the perfect atmosphere for the anthemic “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl,” the lead single off “Veil of Imagination.”
The song is a true highlight of the album, being perhaps a bit more catchy and hooky as the band manages to capture the sound of the more accessible types of music, while still holding on to the richness of WILDERUN’s own sound. With catchy lyrics, WILDERUN invites the listener to sing along to a powerful chorus that you won’t easily forget. “Scentless Core (Fading)” follows and initially allows a break from its bombastic predecessor. A piano melody is followed by an intriguing voice-over part, reminiscent of TURISAS, before it turns into an ominous, grim soundscape with heavy riffs and dark melodies.
Progressing smoothly into the next track, “The Tyranny of Imagination,” while the bass and drums deliver an overall sinister mood, the grim atmosphere is also present in orchestrations, vocals, and the lyrics, making WILDERUN true masters of creating different moods within their soundscapes. Midway through, the song gets a little bit brighter, apparent in the lighter drum sections and more melodic approach to the songwriting. “When the Fire and the Rose Were One,” the final song, starts off with a melancholic piano melody and soft vocals accompanying it. There is a dreamy start to the song that takes its listener on a journey to the final climax of the album, with references to earlier melodies. Before you know it, the music fades away until a voice-over speaks and we are left with nothing but silence; an eerie and peculiar outro then makes the listener distantly wonder what the heck just happened, which pretty sums up the rollercoaster of emotions you go through while listening to a release like “Veil of Imagination.”
Having listened to a lot of albums in the past years due to my activities as a reviewer, I have seldom been as awestruck as I was after listening to “Veil of Imagination.” WILDERUN have managed to create a unique sound that somehow is reminiscent of a lot of different key players of the folk metal scene, such as TURISAS and ENSIFERUM, but also have incorporated the progressiveness that bands like OPETH and AMORPHIS have. I say “somehow reminiscent” because even though the sound is vaguely familiar, it’s hard to put a finger on it. It’s folky, it’s progressive, it’s melodic death metal, but more than anything, it’s just pure and simply WILDERUN. With grande production, these masterfully composed tracks will take you on an introspective and explorative listening journey through bombastic, ominous, and hopeful soundscapes, which I can only describe properly as the soundtrack to a movie… without the movie. While you may not get the true gist of this album on the first listen and it takes a while to digest, this might just simply be the best release of 2019 and 2020 combined.
- The Unimaginable Zero Summer
- O Resolution!
- Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun
- Scentless Core (Budding)
- Far from Where Dreams Unfurl
- Scentless Core (Fading)
- The Tyranny of Imagination
- When the Fire and the Rose Were On
Evan Anderson Berry: Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Dan Müller: Bass, Synths, Orchestrations
Jon Teachey: Drums
Joe Gettler: Lead Guitar
Wayne Ingram: Orchestrations
Century Media Records