Wilderun – Epigone
Century Media Records
Release Date: 07/01/22
Running Time: 71:14
Review by Beth Jones
Rarely is it that an album comes along which leaves me completely lost for words and in complete awe. Over the years a few artists have managed it. Devin was one, with “Empath”. Much earlier in my musical listening life, Queen’s “Innuendo” album left me speechless too. But in 2020 I had the pleasure of reviewing “Veil Of Imagination” by Boston, Massachusetts based Symphonic Progressive Metal band Wilderun, and that left me in much the same state…
Well, now they’re back with their new release, and bugger me, they have done it again! This album is ridiculous, and I simply do not have enough words for it (I’m pretty sure I said similar in my last review)! So, without further ado, I will try and explain why “Epigone” is a modern masterpiece.
Wilderun’s previous offering began with a track that was over 14 minutes long, and absolutely huge. I didn’t think it was possible to make a sound any bigger than that track. Turns out I was wrong again! While this record starts with a beautifully haunting acoustic number, we are introduced to the epic track next, with ‘Woolgatherer’. It’s insanely gigantic in every imaginable way, not just in length, and it all starts from the position of stunning, beautiful gentleness, both vocally and instrumentally. This is the most ridiculous prog I have ever heard – delicate, yet flamboyant and sumptuous, it sails you away to some sort of weird, and a little dark, symphonic Atlantis that simply should not be possible, or at all plausible. Massive orchestrations, intricate cross rhythms, close harmonies, clean vocals that soar, and demonic growls that tear at your soul, and it’s all rounded off with guitar riffage and bass wizardry that moves through so many colours during the track.
And this is very much how this album continues. Darker than their previous album, it really is an absolute genius masterstroke, and I am in total awe of the musical brains behind Wilderun. Magic. That’s what it is. There is no other word to describe it.
‘Ambition’ serves as a pause within the album, and is a haunting and sinister soundscape, which feels oppressive and insular – almost like being in a submarine deep under the ocean. This leads into ‘Distraction – parts I-IV’ which creates a 20-minute Progressive Metal Juggernaut that takes us to the end of the main album. Its orchestral elements are frankly stunning. I have visions of it being performed by a full orchestra in venues like The Royal Albert Hall, or Sydney Opera House. And the skill of every single musician in the work is exhibited perfectly within these tracks. The guitar solo in part III is just nuts!
I implore you though – do not let that be the end of the album. Purchase the full works that have the 2 extra tracks, because if you don’t, you’re depriving yourself of more brilliance. ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ is heavy and crunchy, but still retains that beautiful orchestral element, and a choral element as well. And the Synth remix of the opening album track ‘Exhaler’ is equally as beautiful, but somehow more haunting.
Stunning. Absolutely, totally and utterly astounding. Everything is perfect. If I could give a million out of ten, I would. Probably my album of the year already and it’s only January. It’s going to take a massive amount of beating. I’m feeling emotional right now. If you like prog, classical, or anything symphonic, and want music to make you really feel something, you need this album.
06. Distraction I
07. Distraction II
08. Distraction III
09. Distraction Nulla
10. Everything In Its Right Place (Bonus – only on CD & digital)
11. Exhaler (Synth Mix – Bonus – only digital)
Evan Anderson Berry – Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Dan Müller – Bass, Synths, Orchestrations
Jon Teachey – Drums
Joe Gettler – Lead Guitar
Wayne Ingram – Orchestrations
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