Album: Veil of Imagination
Label: Century Media
Wilderun is a progressive metal band from Boston, MA. In 2019, the band released their third studio album, Veil of Imagination, which was picked up by Century Media and is now set for re-release on June 17th, 2020. The album takes you through a mind-blowing musical movement of eloquent and unexpectedly cinematic twists and turns, as the Boston-born quintet’s third album has been crafted by Evan Anderson Berry (vocals, guitars, piano), Dan Müller (bass, synth, orchestration), Jon Teachey (drums), Joe Gettler (lead guitar), and Wayne Ingram (orchestration). That these Americans have taken their heavily orchestrated prog and death metal -tinged scores to the foothills of metal’s misty mountains, completely through their own efforts, is nearly as inspiring the music itself.
Read our interview with Dan Müller HERE!
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Veil of Imagination is worthy of its length and to get the best of it, you need to listen to it as a complete album, from the longest song at 14½ minutes, “The Unimaginable Zero Summer,” to the nearly 12-minute outro of “When the Fire and the Rose Were One.” Everything flows naturally with a kind of rehearsed elegance. It gives the listener a feeling that the whole world has been described with emotions in front of you – it’s genius. Whether it’s a riff that transitions perfectly between songs “O Resolution!” to “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun” or subtly changing key and feeling over the course of 3 minutes before “Scentless Core Fading” merges into “The Tyranny of Imagination,” Wilderun‘s transitions are brilliant and effortless.
Veil of Imagination gives an impression of having a three act structure. In some strange way, it is reminiscent of a modern-day Wagner. The first three tracks spend most of their time signatures like waltzes, gently taking you forward in a circular motion with every beat, most clearly represented in “The Unimaginable Zero Summer.” The next three tracks could be the second act, followed by the majestic and powerful “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl.” And finally, the third act consists of “The Tyranny of Imagination” and “When the Fire and the Rose Were One,” which special value between parts that lack harmonies and parts with harmonies. These sounds, of course, blend throughout the album, but each act has its own special importance.
This talk of “movements” and “acts” shows a great deal of significance in that Veil of Imagination is a clear development of the band’s sound toward the truly symphonic. While the transitions are one part of this, orchestral arrangers Dan Müller and Wayne Ingram craft fantastic beds of strings and choirs that make Wilderun‘s sound distinct. Rather than being a metal band playing with an orchestra, the band is part of the orchestra. This is helped by the combinations of piano and violin in “The Unimaginable Zero Summer” or “Scentless Core (Budding),” which merge into the more intense and grand “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun,” with plenty of choir to add an extra layer of drama. The band uses a variety of sounds one rarely hears in metal, like the harps “O Resolution!” or fluttering piano and flutes in “When the Fire and the Rose Were One,” giving the album a true sense of orchestral mastery.
The album’s symphonic nature, of course, still contains a metal spine. Wilderun demonstrates this with Evan Anderson Berry’s ferocious death metal growl and classic singing, as well individual metal riffing. Aside from the album breaking down the door with blasts and death metal grooves, “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl” features noodly melodic death riffs with counter-intuitive harmonies, while “Tyranny of Imagination” starts out with a sinister symphonic death feel. Joe Gettler’s guitar solos on “O Resolution!” and “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl” are a reminder that these guys just have the right chops. The same is true of Jon Teachey’s drums pushing into blasts at times or tom-heavy fills, while the bass features prominently throughout, with Müller delivering a heavy, driving performance that reminds me at times of Martín Méndez in “O Resolution!” and “Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun.” However, never does the symphonic conflict with the metallic, either thematically or sonically; they work in perfect balance.
In summation, this is an album that you must take time to fully digest. It’s not for everyone and yet fans of progressive metal, in general, will absolutely adore this. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to those folks who love nothing more than listening to an extremely well-written and executed prog metal album. It’s the prog, the whole prog, and nothing but the prog.
Rating: 10/10, 5 stars
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