I have just discovered a relatively new folk metal band, going by the name Wilderun. Unusually for this genre, the band isn’t from Europe but actually originate from Boston, Massachusetts.
Formed in 2012, the band comprises vocalist / guitarist Evan Anderson Berry, guitarist Wayne Ingram, drummer Jon Teachey and bassist Dan Müller and already have a well received album under their belt with debut release “Olden Tales & Deathly Trails”.
“Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth” is their second album, and what a good record it is. Opening with the acoustic instrumental “Dust And Crooked Thoughts”, I was reminded a little of the likes of the equally atmospheric “Children Of The Stones” by Winterfylleth, though I felt that this track is perhaps more Viking flavoured with the addition of choral sounds.
Then it’s into the four-song “Ash Memory” – a diverse suite that brings to mind European folk metal bands such as Ensiferum but also the progressive metal of Opeth. In fact the album as a whole should, I would have thought, appeal to fans of Mikael Åkerfeldt and Opeth, such is it’s breadth of vision.
The record is very well produced by the band and Jason “Jocko” Randall and is sonically rich – it sounds superb through headphones.
As well as the main guitar, bass and drums, and additional lead guitar supplied by Joe Gettler, other more folky instrumentation is employed by the band, including dulcimer, mandolin, autoharp and banjo, and there is some excellent cinematic orchestration arranged by Ingram and Müller that really enhances the whole listening experience.
Following “Ash Memory” is the nearly ten minute duration “The Garden Of Fire” where the Opeth comparisons feel particularly apt with a mixture of harsh and clean vocals and some decidedly Opeth-like guitar work. That said, whilst it may not be overly original it is nonetheless a demonstration of the very good songwriting skills of Berry, who composed the whole album.
“Linger” showcases the more mellow side of the band before the eleven minute epic “The Means To Preserve” which is a little like a snapshot of the record as a whole, containing, as it does, the full range of styles and tempos found throughout. A spellbinding number for sure, which leads to the closing title track which reprises the melody of the opening instrumental in a more cinematic setting – in fact, like the rest of the album, to my mind it could easily work as a soundtrack the TV series “Vikings”.
Bearing in mind that this is just their second album I am seriously impressed with “Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth” – a contender for top ten albums of 2015 without doubt…
1. Dust And Crooked Thoughts / 2. And So Opens The Earth (Ash Memory Part I) / 3. Hope And Shadows (Ash Memory Part II) / 4. Bite The Wound (Ash Memory Part III) / 5. The Faintest Echo (Ash Memory Part IV) / 6. The Garden Of Fire / 7. Linger / 8. The Means To Preserve / 9. Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth