Sometimes, a lead single can all but guarantee you’ll love an album, which was very much the case after I heard “Far from Where Dreams Unfurl.” As I outlined in my review, Wilderun have crafted my favorite prog metal albums of the year with Veil of Imagination by a wide margin, thanks to a dynamic approach to the genre that pulls from folk metal, melodeath, and classical traditions.
With such a dynamic sound, it makes sense that Wilderun responded with an eclectic list when we asked them to participate in our Anatomy Of series. Their choices include unsurprising influences along with selections that totally caught me off guard. I invite you to dive into their picks below, only after experiencing what Veil of Imagination has to offer.
Dan Müller (Bass, Synth, Orchestrations)
Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Soul for Rock ’n’ Roll
This album was on constant rotation when I was a teenager. I learned to play every song on the record and would spend hours every day dissecting the parts. It taught me what bass can do in a metal context – following the guitar part during heavy riff sections but then playing its own unique lines when the guitars opened up. I try to make my bass parts an integral part of the composition as a whole without being overly showy. Most bassists today still can’t achieve the synchronicity Geezer Butler and Tonny Iommi had.
Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi
This was my introduction into Philip Glass, who would become one of my greatest musical influences of all time. I had never heard textures like this in orchestral music before. The line between organic and synthetic is totally blurred throughout this soundtrack. While symphonic metal bands tend to draw influence from composers the likes of John Williams or Beethoven, I knew I had to find a way to incorporate the more minimalist elements of 20th century composers like Glass.
Joe Gettler (Lead Guitars)
Blind Guardian – Imaginations From the Other Side
I remember finding this album fairly early in my teenage years and was quickly enamored with André Olbrich’s lead playing. I remember finding it and buying the live DVD (Imaginations Through the Looking Glass) the same day. I got hooked. I was watching that DVD almost every day and was trying to learn bits and pieces of songs all over the album. André’s playing was always so simple, aggressive, and had such a percussive quality with all of the open space in the phrasing. Those elements had a pretty big impact on me as a young guitar player; and still do when I write solos for Wilderun now.
Evan Berry (Vocals, Guitars, Piano)
Mr. Bungle – Disco Volante
No album has expanded my perspective and wonderment for what music is capable of more than Disco Volante. I heard this when I was about 16 years old, and I remember thinking “I literally had no idea music was able to do this.” While most of what is musically happening on this album doesn’t relate much to Wilderun, the mindset that it instilled in me has probably done more for my ambition and musical perseverance than anything else. Bands like Opeth, Emperor, and Ensiferum have more directly influenced what Wilderun does sonically, but my personal foray into attempting to write interesting and varied songs starts here.
Orphaned Land – Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven
This may have been the first “epic” metal record I heard that truly had one foot firmly in folk music. While lots of the bands I had listened to up until this point had folk influences, and used folk instruments in their songs, it felt like Orphaned Land’s music was more deeply rooted in the traditions of folk music from centuries past. This album is telling ancient tales with ancient sounding music, all tied together with a cinematic and symphonic backdrop to complete their sonic world. It may be overblown and pretentious to a lot of people, but I fell in love with it, and I’m sure helped contribute in some way to the over-the-top, kitchen-sink mindset we seem to gravitate towards with Wilderun.