Oakland’s Wilderness Dream were on to something with their 2015 self-titled debut EP, its fifteen minutes proving to be a great length to tease audiences for what would come next, what we all assumed would be a full-length of the band’s punk-infused thrash/death metal. But, on July 21, the band is releasing not a full-length but a second EP, Paralysis Rise (on Creator-Destructor Records; you may recall we premiered the song “The Observer” here last month). Not that we’re complaining: the 18 minute EP is another wise move by the band, not because it caters to the false idea that we all have short attention spans and can’t deal with anything longer, but because EPs are a great format for extreme music, and guitarist/vocalist Ben Murray knows it.
“I love EPs, especially for a band like Wilderness Dream,” says Murray. “We write short songs that are unrelenting, so a full-length just didn’t seem to make sense for the delivery of the assault. I come from a punk/hardcore background, so EPs have always been cool to me. I love the feeling of being left wanting more. We have this idea of doing one more EP—a trilogy of Eps—and then finally doing a proper full length. Our songwriting is evolving a bit into stranger and stranger structures, so some songs might get longer and more deserving of a full length.”
The new EP is a touch less hardcore than its predecessor; although it still sounds like the roots of hardcore are lingering, the band seems to be moving away from punk and jumping firmly into the good ship metal.
“We always wanted Wilderness Dream to be as metal as possible, as heavy and dark as humanly possible,” says Murray. “However, I think since it was a new band and chemistry, coming out of Trey [Derbes] and I playing in [melodic hardcore band] Heartsounds, it ended up being a little more melodic and melodic-hardcore sounding, albeit with a lot of thrash metal in there too. Once we had six tracks on our belts, we knew our sound and what we were capable of, and all knew that we needed to step it up, ditch the remaining melody and just go for the audio destruction, one hundred percent.”
Murray says that the lyrics to the songs on the EP are influenced by his own personal struggles; no surprise there, considering they have such cheery titles as “No Light,” “The Lie,” and “Venom.”
“I write all the lyrics, and had a lot to get out about the year I had in 2016, recovering from a severe bi-polar manic depressive episode, where I was in a debilitating depression for about eight months,” he says. “Shit was the absolute worst, so I tried to recall all the suicidal ruminations and existential hopelessness that I felt when writing these tracks. Hopefully I channeled all of that into something somewhat positive. It was certainly cathartic to create violent visuals, lyrically, to represent how my head felt that year.”