Wilderun
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth


4.5
superb

Review

by Dizchu USER (11 Reviews)
April 11th, 2015 | 71 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A welcome change of pace from the countless Viking-themed bands that populate the folk metal genre.

It's been three years since Wilderun's début "Olden Tales & Deathly Trails" made its subtle impression on the folk metal world. It straddled the line between the fun, lively sounds of bands like Turisas and the more serious tone of bands like Skyclad. All while incorporating traditional American folk songs into their spiralling compositions, telling tales of maritime adventure and tragedy. In a genre oversaturated with gimmicks and woefully thin on self-awareness, it was a breath of fresh (albeit salty) sea air.

"Sleep at the Edge of the Earth" picks up where the début left off, with sprawling, intricately orchestrated epics and beautiful, memorable melodies. The near-20 minute Ash Memory suite that comprises most of the first half of the album makes the band's intentions clear immediately. Somehow able to sound absolutely enormous and delicate at the same time, it uses recurring motifs and a clever use of dynamics to evoke a uniquely sombre and triumphant atmosphere.

Frontman and primary songwriter Evan Berry has really outdone himself on this release. On the début album, the line between the band's original compositions and the re-interpretations of old American folk classics was already blurry. It is a testament to Berry's songwriting abilities and the band's arrangements that "Sleep at the Edge of the Earth", while using fewer (if any) explicit references to old folk tunes, still manages to sound like it was cut from the same cloth. If the catchy melodies of Ash Memory and The Garden of Fire weren't derived from folklore of centuries past, they sure sound like they could have been.

Berry's vocals alternate between soothing and menacing. The singing is soft and comforting, eschewing the theatrics of most metal vocalists in favour of a folkier, more humble (yet still confident) approach. They range from powerful and soaring to fragile and restrained, much like the compositions. His harsh death metal vocals mostly take a back seat and aren't quite as outstanding, but are decently done, enhance the heavier moments and don't feel out of place.

As for the instruments? Each member displays both exceptional skill and restraint. No performance stands out from the rest, and this works in the band's favour. There's a true sense of collaboration between all of the instruments, which (beyond the standard metal instrumentation) include traditional folk instrumentation such as the mandolin, melodica, dulcimer and banjo. In addition to all of these instruments, there are layers of orchestrations and choirs used carefully (and tastefully) to enhance the more dramatic sections. Don't expect the obnoxious synth stabs and cheesy horns that plague other symphonic metal bands to appear here.

There is not a lot to complain about with "Sleep at the Edge of the Earth", though it does seem like it reaches its peak too soon with the Ash Memory suite. That is not to say the other songs are lacklustre, as each one has something exciting to offer. Even the mix is great, especially considering the abundance of overly-compressed, disastrous production jobs in symphonic metal.

"Sleep at the Edge of the Earth" is highly recommended for folk metal fans everywhere. The passion that went into its writing and recording is immediately apparent and while folk metal is hardly a novel concept these days, Wilderun displays so much sincerity and confidence in their sound that every component seems necessary. While it is unlikely that the album will appeal to many outside of folk metal's fanbase, it is truly an outstanding example of what the genre has to offer.



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user ratings (158)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dizchu
April 11th 2015


304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://wilderun.bandcamp.com/ Here's a stream, first album is available too.



Constructive criticism is welcome, album is awesome.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2015


11790 Comments


Sweet, I'll definitely check this out, love folk metal. Fantastic review too, pos'd hard.

Digging: Ariana Grande - positions

Dizchu
April 11th 2015


304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, man. I love folk metal too but I have to be in the mood for it. Moonsorrow and these guys tend to be the exception though.



I need to review something mediocre, I can't just dish out 4s and 4.5s constantly.

DoctorVelvet
April 11th 2015


181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn, beat me to the review.



This album is absolutely HUGE.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
April 12th 2015


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll give this another go real soon. I listened to this yesterday and wasn't enthralled by it, but it was decent and to be fair I was already in the drowsing off stage.



Good review for a fifth!

Hawks
April 13th 2015


73885 Comments


This sounds pretty sweet. Nice review too. m/

jimmykidd
April 13th 2015


640 Comments


This is actually pretty great. Really digging the various influences. Nice review!

Archelirion
April 13th 2015


6273 Comments


Grats on the feature! Album is pretty good, agree that it peaks with the Ash Memory suite but it's perfectly ok throughout. The closer gave me goosebumps, beautiful stuff.

Dizchu
April 13th 2015


304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Woah, I'm quite overwhelmed by the feedback. Thanks, everyone.



Yeah that closing track sounds like it could be a film score. I'd be perfectly content if they ditched the metal parts because the orchestral/folk parts are just so well done. Actually I'm really reminded of Aquilus now that I think about it.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2015


2641 Comments


Brilliant and fluent review, really enjoyed reading it. This also seems like the sort of album I should check out, especially in regards to the albums you recommended. I'm assuming this is an improvement over the debut album then?

Emyay
April 13th 2015


6282 Comments


about 2/3 of the way through this. really cool stuff, will give another listen

Dizchu
April 13th 2015


304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I personally see it as an improvement, but the tone is a bit different to the first one so it's not quite as simple as saying it's a refinement of the début. The first one was more upbeat and "swashbuckling" I suppose, while this one is more reserved. It still has the bouncy riffs and stuff though.

piroga84
April 13th 2015


362 Comments


sweet review, i will check it out immediately!!
pos'd of course, you are already a pro

emester
April 13th 2015


8271 Comments


Awesome review.

Folk Metal has always been very hit or miss for me. Some albums I love but most just fall under just alright or boring. But that seeing that Skyclad inclusion in the reccomended by reviewer section really has me interested, so I will definitely make sure to give this a go.

R6Rider
April 13th 2015


5252 Comments


That intro sounds a lot like Insomnium's The Gale.

Dunpeal
April 14th 2015


4411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3.8 to 4.1 for sure

DoctorVelvet
April 14th 2015


181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was personally saddened that they dropped the whole pirate/shanty thing they had going in their first album. They employed that phenomenally well and it was a unique factor they had going for them. But this album is still excellent, just in a somewhat different way.

Dizchu
April 14th 2015


304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah me too. "The Coasts of High Barbaree" from the first album is one of the most entertaining folk metal songs I've ever heard. I can respect them wanting to do more of their own material though, this album is definitely a lot "prettier".

CaptainDooRight
April 14th 2015


4348 Comments


book

Funeralopolis
April 15th 2015


14452 Comments


Bet this sounds like any other Opeth clone

Digging: The Ruins Of Beverast - Rain Upon The Impure



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