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Wilderun – Epigone Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 January 2022, 3:40 PM

From their EPK, “with “Epigone,” Boston-bred aural imaginauts WILDERUN take a deeper and darker step beyond their expansive, Prog-leaning Metal scores that so skillfully came together on 2019’s “Veil of Imagination.” An ‘epigone’ is a follower or imitator or an acolyte of sorts, usually used in the context of art or philosophy, Evan notes, “every song on this album grapples with that concept in some fashion, each through a different point of view. My own feelings of failure, struggling to present myself genuinely, as well as the general resentment of identifying at all with the idea of being an ‘artist’, were the jumping off points of this theme. However, the lyrics aren’t necessarily written to be coming only from my personal perspective, even though they are obviously heavily informed by my experience. I think each of these struggles transcend the plight of the artist and attempt to touch on something more fundamental.” The album contains ten tracks.

“Exhaler” leads off the album. It opens with soft, clean guitars and smooth vocals. Breathe out and relax, it beguiles. The melodies begin to develop, and they are beautiful. The sound expands outward with strings and orchestration towards the end. What a lovely opener. “Woolgatherer” is a fourteen-minute beast. Continuing with the previous sound, the opening elements are as soft and cool as a warm breeze on a spring day. A somewhat dark riff kicks in, slow and rich with sound. Death vocals roar in along with the cold wind of spring; a reminder that old man winter is not yet done. It transitions back to the smooth sounds in the opening sequence. A storm brews in the background, and comes at you with the strength of an EF-4 hurricane. It closes with more soft and charming tones.

“Passenger” is another lengthy song, beginning with a heavy and staccato attack of guitars, bass and drums. It morphs to a more melodic sound, and then the harsh vocals enter, as if the passenger pulls aside his hood to reveal a scarred, marked face. The team flexes their collective muscles with a passage of instrumentation that is as tight as it is complex. It picks up speed and sprints towards the finish line with supporting orchestration, then stops abruptly. On to the next movement. “Identifier” is over eleven-minutes in length. It opens with a full, rich sound, alive with melody. They ride the fence in the beginning, equally shifting elements of both light and darkness. Cushy vocals with harmonies move the song forward, followed by a harsher passage. The dust settles and an attractive figure emerges at the end, casually nodding to you on his way by. I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful guitar solo or the catchy closing sequence.

“Ambition” is a short, three-minute track…a segue if you will to the second half of the album. It features odd and strange tones along with some whipping winds. The final four tracks of “Distraction” are much shorter, and can be described best as one longer song. “I” begins with dreamy vocals and a tough mid-section of guitars. It transitions to a darker sound complete with blasting drums and wild symphonics. “II” begins with murky tones with a tenacious edge. The war is fully on, as is the flexing musicianship. Harsh vocals leave their mark in this song. “III” culminates the movement with the struggle for acceptance. The calm tones in this song suggest that the writer has realized this ideal. Catchy hooks fill the air and reel you in. “Nulla” closes the album, with a flair that culminates in a massive and gloomy sound. This is the end of times, and it is glorious!

If you are familiar with the band, the complexities of their arrangements never cease to amaze the listener. I didn’t think it was possible to outdo the work they put together on “Veil of Imagination,” yet that is exactly what they have accomplished here. One thing right off the bat that you have to consider here is the massive length of the album and songs, and that each one plays a part on the album. It held my attention during the entire journey, and I found myself surprised at every corner. Like DREAM THEATER or HAKEN, the band is obviously talented beyond words. But don’t mistake this band for a copycat of either act, they have their own sound and their own identity. This is the first grand album of 2021!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Exhaler
2. Woolgatherer
3. Passenger
4. Identifier
5. Ambition
6. Distraction I
7. Distraction II
8. Distraction III
9. Distraction Nulla
Daniel Müller – Bass, Synths, Folk
Jon Teachey – Drums
Evan Anderson Berry – Vocals, Guitars
Wayne Ingram – Orchestrations, Guitars, Folk
Record Label: Century Media Records


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