Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth 01The newly devised Angry Metal Guy forums, in collaboration with the great guys at Metal-Fi, have had very mixed results. On the one hand, I now have a place where I can discuss metal with people from all walks of life – rather than just my superfluous IRL ‘friends’ whose metal credibility crashed and burned when they thought Bullet For My fucking Valentine was kvlt, a great ‘underground’ discovery. On the other, it has been apocalyptic for my productivity and bank balance. It goes to show the great diversity of music which regretfully flies under the AMG radar and reinforces the point made by Steel Druhm that we have a great fucking readership. Though some disagree (notably Kronos the miserable bastard), this had already been a stellar year for music prior to the forum’s establishment. Now that it’s here, I can only curse Refined Iron Cranium for further condemning my pauper monetary status.

Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is imperious. Boston’s Wilderun have crafted something so majestic that I can already confidently assert that it will be jostling for first place in my Top 10 o’ 2015. Heavy, melodic and symphonic, yet more than the sum of its parts, Sleep at the Edge is an Opethian metal album, but with grandiose orchestrations and a healthy wedge of Turisas folk. I have AMG’s explicit blessing to compose a “gushy” review, and fair warning: gush I shall.

Despite the very slick execution which ensures the material immediately sinks its hooks into the listener, there’s a lot to consume and consider with this album. It subtly coalesces extremity, classical and folk, genres which aren’t necessarily subtle themselves, leaving an overarching grace which transcends the grandeur of its composite parts. I cannot overstate how excellently the orchestrations are integrated, elevating the metal instrumentation to new heights without supplanting the core. The symphonic spectrum is utilized, from brass on “And So Opens the Earth” and “Bite The Wound,” through wind on “The Means to Preserve,” to strings on every track, even reaching a harp on “Linger.” The album reaches its heavy apex with “The Garden of Fire,” the opening to which leaves little room for doubts over Wilderun‘s metal cred. Evan Berry’s growls resonate with savage intensity, while his cleans are appropriately emotive. His phrasing and delivery on “Linger” evoke Mikael Åkerfeldt so convincingly that one could almost be persuaded he performed guest vocals. So while not exactly original, this testifies to Berry’s conviction and execution.

Moreover, the diversity of sounds and textures never feels extraneous or redundant. The song-writing is incredibly precise such that the album avoids stagnation. I frequently criticize records for overly-exuberant editors but there’s not a second here that I’d rather wasn’t. Everything fits together like an elaborate puzzle, carefully arranged via Pro Tools rather than the shitty jigsaws of Venetian flower markets you used to receive from your gran (just me?). Wilderun demonstrate great dynamic awareness in their constructions, with progressive songs and logical structures which ensure the aggressive peaks and subtle troughs are accentuated. The juxtaposition of “The Garden of Fire” with “Linger” at the core of the album is brilliant in this regard, twinning the heaviest track with one of the lightest.

Wilderun - Sleep at the Edge of the Earth 02

Though it’s clear that Sleep at the Edge functions brilliantly as a collective, an album which flows within itself, no song is contingent on another for meaning or quality. Each is memorable, even the understated conclusion which could easily have been a forgettable classical piece to frame the core. It’s the calm after the cacophonous conclusion to the prior track, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Particular note also has to go to “The Garden of Fire:” its opening sounds like unwritten material from Ghost Reveries, including what would have been one of the record’s star riffs. Indeed, the supreme clean vocal transition at 0:47 of “The Faintest Echo” has recalled me far too many times and foregrounds another great song. But one could easily defend almost any track as the best and they wouldn’t be wrong (aside from the fact that no opinion can be correct or incorrect).

The album sounds good too. I accessed an ALAC copy via Bandcamp which is appropriately rich in detail. The mixing balances affairs expertly, giving priority to the particular instrument carrying the focal melody while allowing other instrumentation to flesh out the compositions and augment harmony. I really am nit-picking when I say this since it sounds more generous than its dynamic range of 7, but a fuller range would better distinguish individual tones and afford further refinement for which Wilderun evidently strives. There isn’t much more I can say which hasn’t already vehemently spewed forth from my frothy, gnashing mouth, but you owe it to yourself as a fan of heavy metal to own this. Time will tell if my opinion ticks over into the hallowed halls of 5.0/5.0 (if White Wizzard can make it, so can Wilderun), but I really love Sleep at the Edge.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 16-bit ALAC
Label: Self-Released
Websites: WilderunOfficial | Facebook.com/Wilderun
Release Dates: Worldwide: 04.07.2015

  • Jean-Luc Ricard

    I haven’t seen such a bad gush since Mickey Vumklänger back in ’93. “They tried throwing ice on his balls, they tried destimulating him with a dog carcass… but the guy just kept popping the protein.”

    • No sir, I don’t like it.

      • Jean-Luc Ricard

        You’ve never seen Rimnasium 7?

        • De2013

          Is it out already????

  • El Cuervo, you are now “on the clock”. Today is Judgement Day… I am getting this album solely on your GLOWING review. We shall see if it lives up to your lofty praise! :)

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I got mentioned (and cursed) in an AMG review :D
    I can think of very few things that hold such honour for me. You guys are awesome!

    Also, early AOTY contender for me. It’s one album I don’t mind forking out the equivalent of $7 for at all – that’s how I know it’s a great album.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Yeah well I’m going to blow some trumpets (saxophone neutral here) in your direction as well.
      Hail to Refined Iron Cranium! for the find of the year!
      Thankfully though there is enough glory here for some some trickle down praise for EL Cuervo and the AMG forum…

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        Haha thanks, I’m just glad I get to find and share good music with one of my favourite sites. Not to mention the band getting some more listens!

      • Thatguy

        I actually play saxophone – amongst other things – I just wanted to stir up more anti-saxophone frenzy to see what fell out…..

        Back on topic – I love this and thanks RIC for finding it and El Cuervo for a great review

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Hey I like Kenny G as much as the next guy…I just didn’t wan’t to upset anyone :)

          • Thatguy

            If I thought you meant that I would have to seek you out and put you out of your misery

    • Great finding, mate!

    • El_Cuervo

      What can I say? I’m a man of the people

    • Feytalist

      Allow me to also jump on the bandwagon and say that this is an excellent album, and an excellent band. Good rec, m’man.

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        I’m just glad the band is getting more recognition.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    This feels like the Dreamgrave of 2015 to me. A totally unexpected delight.
    Steven Wilson now has a serious contender for AOY.

  • I would gladly have written this myself if not for all the other writing I need to be working on right now. These guys are stellar. Absolutely adoring this record, and I’ve already listened to it three times today.

  • Wilhelm

    Sounds really good like Opeth meets Enslaved with some folk thrown in.

    • swthate

      Enslaved never came to mind, but now that you say it…

  • 517H

    Thank you for providing the bandcamp link, good sir.

    Stellar album. I was hooked at about the 3:25 mark in the embedded track. Listening to this and watching the new Fallout 4 trailer. It’s a good day so far and it’s only 20 minutes old!

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    Please don’t use drop shadow on your logo and album title. Especially when it’s dark enough that you don’t need it.

    Music is good though. It’s like a sillier Opeth.

  • Excentric_1307

    I was wondering when this would finally make an appearance. I guess I have metal cred now: I was a fan before AMG inc. discovered this band! …I’m soooo kvlt.

  • Lord Gronbuske

    I’m finding new stuff on the board as well(this included) so I’m really glad it started up! Great album!

  • Beardfist

    Every time a review somehow mentions White Whizzard, I remember with such splendor the entire debacle.

    And if this is able to contend for that score after the scathing lashings and restrictions regarding scoring post-Whizzing, well, that’s a mighty feat indeed.

  • You were told never to speak of White Wizzard!

    • OOOOOOOOH!!! Hes getting in his High Speed GTO!!!

    • De2013

      Next thing you know they’ll start asking questions about HMG…

  • Celaeno

    You got me so excited with this review that by the middle of the third paragraph, I really had to force myself to finish reading it before I went and drowned myself in the music. But, finish reading I did because the language in this review was beautiful. It absolutely resonated with me. Damn fine review El Cuervo. I loved the gush. Definitely adding this to my collection.

    • El_Cuervo

      Glad you like the review. I almost feel bad for being sooo positive but when there’s pretty much nothing I would change…

  • Thanks for the love EC!

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Well, confound it! I thought my comment on this blog referring this album hours after it released would have been enough but nooooo! You had to start up an entire forum, sell out to merchandising ploys and grow a full beard before even realising the power of this Boston band! Madam X! You were my only hope! Where were you when I needed you?!

    *wallows in self-pity*

    Great album though, listen one sealed it as my AOTY and nothing has touched it yet. Fantastic effort.

    • Kronos

      You have no proof!

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Malthusian – Below the Hengiform

        It was your review. Read the comments. You upvoted me. Utter not denial of the sin you brought upon me! Wither wander you, foul beast!

        (This is the third damn time I’ve made this comment so it better work)

  • Worldeater

    A rare treasure indeed!

  • Okay, but consider this: I’m a starving university student from a poor country. Why must you tempt me to spend what little money I have?

    • Consider it motivation to stay in school and then have the chance to buy it when you’re swimming in all that money that comes with your degree (yes I’m being slightly sarcastic)

  • I’m impressed enough to think that Obsequiae may not have the RoTM clinched yet. Even if it was released on April.

  • RilesBell

    Lots of stuff to enjoy on this album. Vocals are a bit weak for me compared to the rest of the music but I’ll give it some time.

  • This is some solid shit. I was waiting for you guys to award this one a good score, knew you would!

  • Luke_22

    Great review dude. This sounds fantastic. Majestic with just the right amount of brutality mixed in. The groove following the blast beat section at around 3:20 is amazing.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Whoah, heavy Turisas vibe indeed when the vocals kick in on that second track. Great stuff.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Is it too late to change the RotM backdrop…

  • Wow this is nice. Some nice tracks for metal relaxation and reflection. Thanks Cuervo.

  • Karmazov

    I am really enjoying this album thus far, it satisfies my death/folk tastes. The Opeth influence really makes me happy.

    • Eztoknoel

      Compared to WIlderun…Opeth can suck a brick. Yes, a brick.

  • Noobhammer

    Hah, these guys are touring the east coast this summer with local NC band Aether Realm!

  • antitayyip

    what an unorganic record! i threw this shit to my trash can..

    • James M. Peterson

      I mean it’s really fucking compressed but that shit would’ve just taken more money that they didn’t have at the time dude…

  • sickgrinder

    Horrible, like every bad idea from every other metal band thrown together in album and sold for actual coin.

    The vocals are pretty bad and the clean vocals are even worse, it sounds like a modern trendy death metal band mixed with something that sounds like stille volk

    Just my two cents….

    Solid production though.

  • HEAT

    Came for the bone but was given white meat

  • basenjibrian

    This was a nice find! Very melodic and enjoyable and DIVERSE. So diverse and multifaceted! Thanks, guys!

  • Étienne Parent

    A little bit of a shock at the first listen, especially considering my love for their debut album, wich is definitely catchier and, lets say, “happier” and “lighter” but just nothing less than great, considering it was their first album. This sequel is no doubt a grower that pays off at every listen by the greatness and extrême quality of each songs. For me, the review score is right, 9 out of 10 and a contender for album of the year with Alkaloid, Enslaved, Arcturus, Steven Wilson and a forest of stars! !! Thank you guys for making god damn great freakin metal music m/!

    • El_Cuervo

      It’s funny, I’m really not a huge fan of their debut. It’s decent but doesn’t go beyond that. This is very different but transcends it in every way for me.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Good to see some love for A forest of stars here, it’s one that seems to get better and better!

  • swthate

    Okay, so, honestly at first I was disappointed. The only reason for that being the suggestion that Garden of Fire sounds like unwritten material from Ghost Reveries. But that’s my own fault of expecting the most perfect DADFAE, mesa boogie guitar tone I’ve ever heard in my life, and compared to that, the embedded video sounded so tinny and… flat.

    After I realized I was expecting the moon and more, I told myself to just keep with it. After finishing the embedded video and finding a playlist of the album on YouTube to take for a test drive, I’ve come to accept and friggin appreciate them for who they are… not as a hopeful successor to everything that is Ghost Reveries.

    While the guitar tone is different, I can definitely hear the dark, spiraling influences of Ghost Reveries with that perfect folk blend of Turisas…

    So, after I slapped myself around a bit for not giving these guys any credit, I can now say these guys rock. Plain and simple.

    Thanks again to the crew here for another awesome find.

  • Eztoknoel

    I love the tinge of Dimmu Borgir they employ, works perfectly. Too bad this will be the best album they ever produce…

  • noisemonkey

    the only issue I have with this LP is it’s lack of length. Great album overall.

    • Diego Molero

      Lack of length? Is almost an hour long

  • polygraphovich

    This album is actually fucking amazing – pardon my French. I’ve been exploring more recently and listened to a lot of stuff that has made me double take on the spot, stuff that’s made it into my definite replay, daily repetoire for the near foreseeable future.. but this.. this.. wow. I haven’t felt this way since I heard Haken for the first time. This is the perfect meld of everything I love about metal as a genre as a whole. It’s far reaching, expansive, crushing and soothing all at the same time, without a single dull moment; never once did I reach for the skip – forward that is.

    Absolutely fucking marvelous. This all only after my first listenthrough, and I’m the type of person that tends to give an album at least three goes to let it grow on me. Many such albums have become all time favs, but few rarely grip me right from the get go as this has.

  • Kees van Laarhoven

    Listening this one right now! Will surely give it more spins