Review: “Epigone” by Wilderun

How do you follow a critically acclaimed masterpiece? That’s the question that Boston Progressive Metal outfit have to answer with “Epigone“, knowing that it’s predecessor in 2019’s “Veil Of Imagination” is considered to be the kind of grandiose and sophisticated affair that you’d need the Sydney Opera House or Royal Albert Hall to have a suitably fitting venue for a live performance from Evan Anderson Berry (Vocals, Guitars, Piano), Dan Müller (Bass, Synths, Orchestrations), Jon Teachey (Drums), Joe Gettler (Lead Guitar) and Wayne Ingram (Orchestrations) as it crosses the great divide between Metal and Art. Before we get the review underway, lets just say that you can pretty much ignore the singles released in “Radio Edit” form for music videos because taken out of the context of the album they don’t work anywhere near as well as they do on the record itself…

The first change is that Wilderun chose Jens Bogren (Sepultura, At The Gates) for mixing the album having had him master it’s predecessor and with Evans quoted as saying that the band wanted to make the record more melodically and harmonically dynamic while keeping the escapist aesthetic, it should perhaps come as no surprise that opening cut “Exhaler” is a epic melancholic affair with some Jazz free form drum patterns emerging from time to time against his meek and mild clean vocals. Indeed it’s not until the end of the  first third of “Woolgatherer” that the expansive Metal aspect of the band surfaces, unfurling huge wings and taking to flight with a Black Metal inspired segment of gargantuan proportions that fades all to quickly to the melodic intricacies that came before it. The compositions are of kind of quality that you might expect from Hans Zimmer (and it should come as no surprise that Ingram has work for the film score composer’s Bleeding Fingers Company), with each song flowing as one from a river into the deepest of blue oceans with the kind of meandering that you might expect from more recent Opeth records and the kind of twists and turns you find on a Between The Buried And Me album.

The curiosity is that the orchestrations float on top of the music while the Metal underpins it, painting in light and shade and welcoming a bold and brave new World. Odd time signatures and quirky riffs appear in “Passenger” alongside the first real punch of Death Metal with gravely unclean vocals playing off against a choir and the kind of orchestrations that you might expect to find in a feature film, giving a depth and texture to everything that nothing short of mesmerizing. Wilderun have created something at the height of their mercurial dimensions in “Identifier“, as intense as a pyrotechnic flame burst and as captivating as the fire that it might ignite and how they have had the imagination to envisage something like this and then follow that vision through to the final album is just astonishing. Split by the science fiction synth piece that is “Ambition“, a palette cleanser before the almighty 20 minute quartet of movements that is “Distraction I-IV”, which doesn’t need to be segmented at all. Ambitious and diverse, “Epigone” may not have as much of the jagged madness of “Veil Of Imagination” but it is still a epic undertaking of breath taking beauty. There are moments where it doses and lapses into momentary slumber but those grow on you with each passing listen making this album the calm after the storm… [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Exhaler
2. Woolgatherer
3. Passenger
4. Identifier
5. Ambition
6. Distraction I
7. Distraction II
8. Distraction III
9. Distraction Nulla

Epigone” by Wilderun is out 7th January 2022 via Century Media

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