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Wilderun - Epigone review




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Reviewer:
9.5

187 users:
8.28
Band: Wilderun
Album: Epigone
Release date: January 2022


01. Exhaler
02. Woolgatherer
03. Passenger
04. Identifier
05. Ambition
06. Distraction I
07. Distraction II
08. Distraction III
09. Distraction Nulla
10. Everything In Its Right Place [Radiohead cover] [digipak bonus]


2022, go home, you're already on fire.

I should probably avoid jumping to conclusions from only one data point. Should, would, could… Where's the fun in that, though? Judging by the definitely insubstantial empirical evidence available to me at the moment, 2022 will be an amazing year for metal. Should Epigone turn out to be a statistical outlier, Wilderun certainly starts the new year with a big bang, if nothing else. Come for the review, stay for the hype; this is all the fireworks I need this New Year's Eve.

It's not immediately apparent, seeing as how Epigone certainly takes its sweet time unveiling its genius. In fact, I'm positive Wilderun like to tease their listeners to no end. It opens with four minutes of acoustic strumming and mellow singer-songwritering that ends in a noisy crescendo that turns out to be one hell of a red herring, as the first half of the fifteen-minute "Woolgatherer" brings more of the same. Yeah, it's that sort of album. The sort that demands your full attention while trying your patience. The sort that expects a scented candlelight ritual while played on vinyl (sorry guys, I have to make do with an unwieldy promo stream), and spends much of its time mostly hinting at the excellency buried within. You know what? It seriously works. It shouldn't, but it really does. There are so many amazing little moments sprinkled throughout Wilderun’s progressive, cinematic storytelling that they manage to keep even my admittedly lacklustre attention span along for the entire ride, and I'm still coming back for more.

At risk of permanent disgrace (nothing to lose there, actually), I'll say Epigone is what I always wished Opeth were. Yeah, I'm a Swede, and I never liked Opeth. They're super boring. Write a big headline about it, won't you? Nah, don't. Instead, write a big headline about the sheer pleasure of hearing the band finally bring out the death growls and blast beats halfway through the second track, and about the infuriating way they seem admirably content with just putting it out there before returning to mellow, acoustic noodling for several more minutes. Write a big one about the absolutely massive chugging riff in "Passenger", that's over as soon as it enters, never to return. Or write about how the incredible highlight "Ambition" jumps between sections of prog death bliss, seriously hard-rocking riffs, and vivid soundscapes that amount to the closest aural approximation of open eye visuals I've heard since, uh, next year. Why am I telling you what to write about; I'm already writing it? Well, because you're going to spread the word and make sure any fan of progressive and symphonic music does themselves the service of giving Epigone that full attention it demands and deserves. I haven't even followed along with the lyrics; I really don't need to. The vivid images Wilderun paint with their expansive, ambitious music speak for themselves.

There are tiny hiccups, of course. The way most of the clean, subdued sections never really stick to my memory bugs me, but only until the next jaw-dropping moment of prog metal mayhem. The synth interlude does nothing for the album, and feels very out of place. The album ends as discreetly as it opens, without the big fanfare expected. It takes balls to play this sort of music. It takes confidence to demand your listeners' attention. Furthermore, it takes a mercurial personality to subvert expectations over and over, but Wilderun have got balls, confidence, and mercuriality in spades, and they aren't even afraid to be annoyingly low-key about it.

Epigone makes me forget, and re-remember, that good things may indeed come to those who wait, and can be made even better partly thanks to the wait. Epigone does it over and over, even several times within a single song. It's not a perfect album, but its shortcomings are negligible, and it's a masterpiece for sure.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9





Written on 31.12.2021 by 100% objective opinions.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 40   Visited by: 461 users
11.01.2022 - 20:59
Tuonelan

I read a lot of comparisons to Opeth, but I don't think the two bands are coming at their progressive sides from anything like the same direction. Wilderun seems to me to be more comparable to Riverside or Porcupine Tree in my ears. They all go through similar movements and transitions, but when it comes time to cash in on the transition Porcupine Tree and Riverside push in a familiar direction to the one that they have been hinting at, where Opeth take you into some newer, weirder place. Opeth estranges you in a way that the others do not.
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Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy
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11.01.2022 - 21:16
Rating: 9
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Tuonelan on 11.01.2022 at 20:59

I read a lot of comparisons to Opeth, but I don't think the two bands are coming at their progressive sides from anything like the same direction. Wilderun seems to me to be more comparable to Riverside or Porcupine Tree in my ears. They all go through similar movements and transitions, but when it comes time to cash in on the transition Porcupine Tree and Riverside push in a familiar direction to the one that they have been hinting at, where Opeth take you into some newer, weirder place. Opeth estranges you in a way that the others do not.

Wilderun don't sound like Riverside or Porcupine Tree at all to me, other than the fact they're progressive music.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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11.01.2022 - 21:49
Tuonelan

Written by RaduP on 11.01.2022 at 21:16

Wilderun don't sound like Riverside or Porcupine Tree at all to me, other than the fact they're progressive music.


It's the chord progressions where I hear it most, not the atmosphere or mood. They keep their music (to borrow language from jazz) more "inside" the progression where Opeth tends to go "outside" more.
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Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy
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11.01.2022 - 22:56
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Tuonelan on 11.01.2022 at 21:49

Written by RaduP on 11.01.2022 at 21:16

Wilderun don't sound like Riverside or Porcupine Tree at all to me, other than the fact they're progressive music.


It's the chord progressions where I hear it most, not the atmosphere or mood. They keep their music (to borrow language from jazz) more "inside" the progression where Opeth tends to go "outside" more.

I sort of see what you're aiming at, while I don't agree much about the band comparisons (I see what you mean about Riverside though, honestly), you're right about the way these guys compose music, and I think it's this "evolutionary progressivity" that makes me like Wilderun a lot more than I like Opeth. The latter often don't give me any sense of cohesion at all, and while I'm all for some eclectic shit now and then, Opeth come off more like "look what we can do, and look what we can do now!" in much the same regard that always kept me from enjoying Dream Theater.
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12.01.2022 - 14:20
Daniell
_爱情_
Written by Tuonelan on 11.01.2022 at 20:59

I read a lot of comparisons to Opeth, but I don't think the two bands are coming at their progressive sides from anything like the same direction. Wilderun seems to me to be more comparable to Riverside or Porcupine Tree in my ears. They all go through similar movements and transitions, but when it comes time to cash in on the transition Porcupine Tree and Riverside push in a familiar direction to the one that they have been hinting at, where Opeth take you into some newer, weirder place. Opeth estranges you in a way that the others do not.


A small preamble - I do not mind that bands sound similar to other bands. It doesn't affect my assessment of any album. After all, 90% of metal bands rip off other bands, and 90% of bands sound like other bands. So please don't construe what I say about similarities to Opeth as criticism of Wilderun.

I think Wilderun deserve attention and I'm giving it to them. I've been listening to this album, as well as "Veil of Imagination" for quite a few days now. And I hear NUMEROUS moments on both albums that make me think "what Opeth song am I listening to?". It happens ALL THE TIME. If I didn't know better, and was drunk as a skunk, you would be able to convince me that I was listening to some Opeth outtakes/B-sides. Heavy passages, mellow passages, progressions between them, overall flow of most songs. This is Opeth worship all the way. If I had too much time on my hands, which I don't, I'd juxtapose song fragments from both bands to show these striking similarities.

All that said, I still rate these two albums around 7.5, so I think they're pretty good. The band has a lot of potential, and if they keep evolving and developing, they will come into their own. After all, in my opinion, Opeth peaked on album no. 4 (Still Life), so I can easily see Wilderun peaking on album no. 5 or 6.

And again, because this thought keeps pestering me - the album title tells me: "We know that this is Opeth worship, and that's why we named this album Epigone".
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12.01.2022 - 21:15
Rating: 9
BlankFile

It´s a great release, once it sinks in. It´s almost impossible not to compare it to their previous masterpiece CD "Veil of Imagination", the stakes were really high after that one, and the expectations towards "Epigone" were tremendous aswell. This álbum is excellent in it´s own way, but Veil is their absolute masterpiece and still untouchable in my book.

Having said this, we have lots of spectacular moments in "Epigone". The first 4 tracks are absolute killers, than we have a strange transition in "Ambition" and we begin to worry a little bit, but fortunetely the "Distraction Saga" ends the álbum in almost perfect note.

It will be easily one of the best álbums of the year, for sure.
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14.01.2022 - 11:33
Rating: 9
qnick90

It didn´t work with me at first listen at all, but somehow few melodies stuck with me and I could not rid of them (in a good way). It´s kinda complicated to listen and I managed to "get into it", or in this case to be more precise "understand it" after 3rd or 4th spin. So only now I can fully appreciate this album. Cannot agree with Opeth worship accusations, there is much, much more to this album than simple Opeth worship
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14.01.2022 - 20:19
Rating: 7
Vonpire

Passenger is a great track!
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Beware the Shadows of Dusk
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14.01.2022 - 20:59
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by BlankFile on 12.01.2022 at 21:15

It´s a great release, once it sinks in. It´s almost impossible not to compare it to their previous masterpiece CD "Veil of Imagination", the stakes were really high after that one, and the expectations towards "Epigone" were tremendous aswell. This álbum is excellent in it´s own way, but Veil is their absolute masterpiece and still untouchable in my book.

Having said this, we have lots of spectacular moments in "Epigone". The first 4 tracks are absolute killers, than we have a strange transition in "Ambition" and we begin to worry a little bit, but fortunetely the "Distraction Saga" ends the álbum in almost perfect note.

It will be easily one of the best álbums of the year, for sure.

Written by qnick90 on 14.01.2022 at 11:33

It didn´t work with me at first listen at all, but somehow few melodies stuck with me and I could not rid of them (in a good way). It´s kinda complicated to listen and I managed to "get into it", or in this case to be more precise "understand it" after 3rd or 4th spin. So only now I can fully appreciate this album. Cannot agree with Opeth worship accusations, there is much, much more to this album than simple Opeth worship

This was my impression first too... "What the hell are they even trying to do here?" but since I listen to what I review a decent amount of times, it eventually caught up with me... It's nice you took the time that's arguably needed to enjoy this album and that you enjoy it, great!
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14.01.2022 - 21:00
Netzach
Planewalker
Written by Vonpire on 14.01.2022 at 20:19

Passenger is a great track!

Oh fuck yes.
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