Hidden Gems: Wilderun – Sleep at the Edge of the Earth (2015)
Genre: Folk metal / death metal / symphonic metal / progressive metal / black metal
Release date: 7th April, 2015
Record label: (Self-released)
For fans of: Opeth, Turisas, Korpiklaani
As the abnormally large list of sub-genres at the top of this article demonstrates, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, the second album by American metal wizards Wilderun, is an incomparably expansive experience. Driven by the creative genius Evan Berry, the 2015 release is a criminally underappreciated magnum opus that tragically few metalheads have cast their ears upon.
Primarily, the nine-track trailblazer exists as the harbinger of American folk metal, continuing Wilderun’s reaction to the genre’s initial movement within Europe at the hands of groups like Korpiklaani, Finntroll and Amorphis.
While the band’s debut, Olden Tales and Deathly Trails (2012), achieves this by specialising in progressive, heavy renditions of classic traditional tunes like “How Stands the Glass Around” and “The Coasts of High Barbaree”, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth does what any good follow-up record should and marks a musical evolution. This time around, the covers were ditched and Wilderun was let loose, crafting entirely original compositions. And what compositions these were.
Taking the inherent folk tendencies of such instruments as the dulcimer, banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin and autoharp and adding in the brutality of death metal, the structuring of prog and the grandiose darkness of Nordic black metal, Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is an extreme powerhouse. It takes such an immense array of ingredients and somehow delivers a coherent, addictive tour de force.
In an era where metal is a market that is almost becoming saturated, Wilderun’s sophomore effort has the rare distinction of being undeniably original, with the end result proving both enigmatic and charismatic. It draws listeners in with its sheer technicality, and keeps them hooked through a blend of melody, musical variety, aggression and symphony.
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is still available physically and digitally on Wilderun’s Bandcamp page.