Review: “Veil Of Imagination” by Wilderun

Recorded at More Sound Studios in Syracuse, New York before being mixed by Dan Swanö (Opeth, Katatonia) and mastered by Jens Bogren (Sepultura, At The Gates) and critically acclaimed as one of the finest albums of 2019, “Veil Of Imagination” by Wilderun sees re-release under special licence via Century Media in July 2020. When we say “critically acclaimed“, it appeared on Cover Killer Nations albums of the decade, so it’s no a term we use lightly. As a band, they are based out of Massachusetts with Evan Anderson Berry (Vocals, Guitars, Piano), Dan Müller (Bass, Synths, Orchestrations), Jon Teachey (Drums), Joe Gettler (Lead Guitar) and Wayne Ingram (Orchestrations) forming a quintet who think on the gargantuan scale of epic when it comes to creating music. We’re talking on the scale whereby you’d need the Sydney Opera House or Royal Albert Hall to have a suitably fitting venue for a live performance from the band. Their previous two albums, 2012’s “Olden Tales & Deathly Trails” and 2015’s “Sleep at the Edge of the Earth” are records of black hole magnitude and stellar proportions, as much soundscapes of cinematic quality as anything else. The simplest way to describe their sound is as a variation on Progressive Metal with Folk and Orchestral elements, the kind of thing that Devin Townsend dreams of and Solemnity have created on the Death Metal side of.

The choice of Dan Swanö and Jens Bogren is perhaps the first indicator that the Folk elements on “Veil Of Imagination” are toned down in comparison with the bands previous two works and that this is going to be something in a more Metallic register. That by no means suggests any big style shift, just that the writers don’t feel that they necessarily have to incorporate that extra element in order to achieve their vision. What has always been incredible about Wilderun is that everything has it’s place. Nothing feels forced or unnatural or tacked on in some way, there are no parts for parts sake. When you’re painting on as large a canvas as they are, one can imagine it might be easy to get lost in the moment and over do something but somehow they skillfully avoid all of the potential pitfalls and trappings. The gentle spoken word introduction to “The Unimaginable Zero Summer” with it’s mournful acoustic guitars and somber orchestration builds into a soaring piece of guitar work that then lands at Death Metal’s door 4 and a half minutes in with Berry’s demonic vocals cutting the polar opposite of his achingly beautiful clean register. Their is an ethereal quality to everything, a majesty and in one song, they encompass something that sounds like a collaboration between Hans Zimmer or Danny Elfman and Opeth or Ne Obliviscaris.

Every join is seamless, everything flows together in a stream and if you think that that is impossible, over a 14 minute run time, it’s a breathless journey through darkness and light. The harmonies of “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun” are incredible, an instrumental piece that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a epic science fiction film. “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl” has a car chase like mid section of guitar work while Berry’s vocals depict a tale of fairy tale wonder. “The Tyranny of Imagination” contrasts dreams and nightmares with a balance between light and shade as the heaviest moment on the album, sounds of thunderstorms on the high seas within the rapture of the musics flow before the closing “When the Fire and the Rose Were On” brings some eclectic and warped sounding subliminal verses that have strange hallucinogenic properties. All in all, it’s an incredible piece of work that this review doesn’t even begin to do justice to [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. The Unimaginable Zero Summer
2. O Resolution!
3. Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun
4. Scentless Core (Budding)
5. Far from Where Dreams Unfurl
6. Scentless Core (Fading)
7. The Tyranny of Imagination
8. When the Fire and the Rose Were On

Veil Of Imagination” by Wilderun is out now via Century Media

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