Grand. Grand and ambitious. These are the two words that truly come to mind upon first listening to the new album from Wilderun, Veil of Imagination. For those who don’t know (which included myself until only a few days ago), Wilderun are a Prog-Metal band from Massachusetts who also have a very clear love for Folk music, which plays heavily into the sound that they have moulded for themselves.
I’ll immediately throw my hands up – I’m not the biggest fan of any kind of Prog- music. Before you click away, however, I’ll tell you that even with that being the case, I think this album is VERY good, and whilst I personally don’t think I’ll find myself listening to it regularly, I fully believe that anyone who is into this style of music is likely to take a whole lot away from Veil Of Imagination. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the album should stand very confidently alongside the very best of what this genre has to offer, and that the album’s creators should have free reign to feel more than just a little bit proud about what they’ve crafted here.
The opening track, The Unimaginable Zero Summer, stands testament to what this band is capable of. It feels cliché to label the song ‘a journey’, but at just over 14 and a half minutes in length, that’s truly what it feels like, and it sets the tone for the 50+ minutes that will follow perfectly. Beginning with the first stanza from William Wordsmith’s ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’ before shifting into the music, the music itself starts in a manner not unlike what you might have expected to hear from a bard in a Medieval tavern. Before too long, this segues into very loud guitars, guttural growls and blast beats (spoiler: I really like it when it gets loud) and goes to show just how adept these musicians are at the styles they have incorporated into their sound. This is their third album, and yet the confidence with which they strive forward as the album progresses is nothing less than impressive.
Personal highlights for this writer are tracks 2 and 5, O Resolution! and Far from Where Dreams Unfurl, respectively. The former has a very swashbuckling feel to it that I’m just a bit of a sucker for, and the latter builds across its 8 and a half minute runtime to a stunning crescendo that quickly became my favourite part of the album.
I’m not sure I do have anything to criticise about this album as such, but if I had to pick something it would likely be the runtime. I know, it’s sacrilege to go after the length of a Prog- album! I don’t think there’s a lot that needs to be chopped, and by no means do you feel exhausted come the end of the album’s 66 minute runtime, but a little tightening on the final track, When the Fire and the Rose Were On, could definitely help the ship come into shore in a more impactful way. Realistically though, it isn’t all that necessary. In a world where so many albums of this ilk have the tendency to get lost in their own self-grandiosity, Wilderun have avoided it and created an album that knows what it’s got to say and how long it needs to do it.
If you’re a fan of Prog-Metal or are even just looking for an album that’s been masterfully crafted and that could well become a classic in the years ahead, you need look no further – Veil of Imagination is waiting for you!
Veil of Imagination is out on 17th July
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