Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination (Century Media)

It’s bewildering that Wilderun had to self-release their third album, Veil Of Imagination, in 2019. Bewildering because its combination of epic, soaring arrangements, virtuoso musicianship and ethereal songwriting make it a progressive metal masterpiece – one that any label worth their salt should have snapped up.

Thankfully, Century Media stepped in this year to give Veil Of Imagination the support it richly deserves. This beautiful record should be performed in the hallowed confines of The Royal Albert Hall, or amongst the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, not left as a footnote in metal history.

Veil Of Imagination is as spellbinding as some of Opeth’s finest compositions. And while Wilderun’s balance of symphonic death metal, dreamy melodies and gentle, soul-caressing wistfulness does draw comparisons to Mikael Åkerfeldt’s work, Dan Müller and Wayne Ingram’s orchestrations – and the widescreen vision of this Boston band – imbue Veil Of Imagination with its own sense of splendour.

The Berklee College of Music alumni may have evolved away from their folk metal beginnings, but there’s still an element of heroic bombast to much of Veil Of Imagination: Far From Where Dreams Unfurl boasts the kind of stirring, majestic choruses that would have Borknagar fans enraptured and O Resolution! feels like it was written and sung by a choir of frost giants.

This opus is hugely ambitious. Yet with Dan Swano and Jens Bogren on board for the mixing and mastering, Evan Anderson Berry turning in a stunning vocal performance, and his bandmates putting their Berklee education to good use, it sounds flawless.

Indeed, from The Tyranny of Imagination’s battle march percussion, to Scentless Core (Budding)’s cinematic flourishes and The Imaginable Zero Summer’s near 15 minutes of technical ecstasy, Veil Of Imagination will scoop you up into the clouds, from where you can look down on a swirling, mesmeric sonic maelstrom.

And it will feel so good, you’ll never want to return to earth.