When Wilderun’s latest record Veil of Imagination originally debuted independently in late 2019, it quickly sold out, but the band was out of resources to continue the endeavor. And when Century Media came knocking in early 2020, they took advantage of the signing and recording deal to continue the momentum from Veil of Imagination.
The re-release of the band’s third record is not just the original track-list but includes a fearless and exhilarating version of Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.” And from the increasing demand of their fans, Wilderun will also include a vinyl option, something they have been shooting to do for many years and with the support of Century Media can now fulfill.
“Our fans have been asking for vinyl for so long,” frontman Evan Anderson told American Songwriter. “The requests started coming in during our 2015 album Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, and it’s probably been the most requested thing from us. When we started to get more into the prog community is when we really got the vinyl enthusiasts. But since Veil of Imagination is the new record, we wanted to do that first, but maybe later we will get Sleep at the Edge of the Earth out on vinyl too.”
The re-release stemmed out of necessity and demand, but also came from the itch to create, while the band was experiencing quarantine and isolation during the early beginnings of the pandemic. With limited gear and traditional studio access, Wilderun looked to the vault for the bonus track. “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” was a project they had in the works for years and came almost easy since they already had the drums tracked, the most difficult piece to record, especially in quarantine, Anderson explained. And luckily, they had an engineering afficionado within their own lineup, Wayne Ingram.
“We had recorded drums for the cover when we recorded Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, so the drum tracks are five years old. But once we recorded the drums, we realized we didn’t have the time and had to focus on the record. Drums are always the hardest thing to do outside of a decent studio. If we didn’t previously have those tracks, I don’t know if we would’ve done it. Everything else we recorded on our own home setups and luckily Wayne was able to re-amp everything in his rig. We all just sent him our stuff and it worked out well.”
When Wilderun chose the song as a cover, they were looking for a “classic” song that lots of people would be familiar with that they could revamp into something completely unexpected. As the song was already “epic” in its original composition, the band sought to build on that, with added orchestration and folk instruments, while messing with the structure and dynamics just enough to put their prog spin on it. And even though it was a bonus track, they still wanted it to sound cohesive with the rest of the album, to do that they went back to Dan Swano, who mixed the master for Veil of Imagination originally.
“The song writing is epic because it’s a 10-minute Iron Maiden song,” Anderson said. “Which felt appropriate because Wilderun’s music is generally pretty long. But we wanted to take the epic expansive feeing to the next level. Our mentality was if you never heard the original and had no idea who Iron Maiden was, then maybe you could believe it was a Wildreun song by the way we rearranged it. We had a lot of fun with it.”
In addition to the re-release, Wilderun has been slowly treading into some quarantine-esque releases, which they have been using as a creative outlet. With the cancellation of their April tour, they wanted to remain visible among their fans while also keeping their sanity, so they recorded an alternate version of their single “Hope and Shadow” from Sleep at the Edge of the Earth, and included a visually appealing music video.
“The idea came from wanting to be active in some way while everything was shut down,” Anderson explained. “We thought what can we do and most of us have some kind of small studio home setup so we were able to put that together. We chose ‘Hope and Shadow’, as the first and we may do more, but we don’t know yet. Since we’ve been focusing on Veil of Imagination for the last few years it was nice to go back to a previous song. The material on Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is a little more intimate, so the home isolation feel matched with the song. It’s not an extreme rearrangement but a few heavier parts got switched to acoustic parts and we added some different textures and instruments.”
Ingram with the help of bandmember Dan Muller, answered the call again to make the song come to life outside of a studio during quarantine. Ingram also served as multi-instrumentalist for the track, laying down mandolin, banjo and a lap harp that he created himself.
“Both Wayne and Dan are great at audio engineering and if we didn’t have them in the band it would’ve been a lot more difficult,” Anderson said.
With quarantine and state-issued shutdowns looming over many regions again, Wilderun is taking advantage of the down time to wrap up material for their fourth record. Though they are not quite sure what the album will sound like yet, they are half way through the process and are shooting to announce more details soon, while looking forward to their adventure with new partner and label Century Media for the re-release of Veil of Imagination due on July 17.