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Now this album is notably different from the band’s earlier efforts. While earlier they used to compose 4-8 minutes songs overflowing with stunning riffs, here they’ve increased the regular doom influence of their music beyond a likeable limit. Not that it is bad music; it’s just not at par with their other stuff. Unfortunately, this was the album I heard first. Naturally, I never bothered to dig deep in until a friend told me how much talent these guys actually had.
Death metal in the vein Bolt Thrower and Grave was what they used to play but doom in the vein of Draconian and My Dying Bride is what we have here, only not as good. The number of actual recognizable riffs is terribly low. Atmosphere is what the band has probably aimed for and depends on, making the music unchallenging and lesser creative. Soloing is non-existent and so are the tempo shifts. All songs as a result sound similar and repetitive. Although there are moments after which speed could have been introduced, for some reason they choose not to. A common feature of albums with such formats is that the guitars are accompanied by heavy keyboard overtones, which brings me to the album’s next drawback, their absence.
The album might get good marks for what it is supposed to be, but when it comes to talent & originality, I think it fails, unlike their earlier albums. Get the first three albums first, this one the last.
The dark occult chants which emanate from the five tracks on Runemagick's "Envenom" pummel the listener with blunt force. This group plays with a doomy style instrumentally, with thick, lumbering grooves overlaid by growls of demonic possession and wicked black chants.
The monsterous tones of "Vultures" resonate with the enormous, deeply sustained bass notes from Emma Karlsson that give this trio a distinctly evil sound. Runemagick author fairly long compositions as so many doomy acts do, but they take pains to place enough variety in their riffing to hold the listener's attention well. The title track kicks off with a fast riff that is uncharacteristic for doom, but fits the dark atmosphere very well. The vocals are sparse much of the time with a specific emphasis on riffing.
Nicklas Rudolfsson handles the guitar and vocal duties for the group, placing melodic, single-note melodies over Karlsson's bass work when applicable, and at other times opting for a hammering chugging attack. Daniel Moilanen plays simple beats with a lot of start atop action and this technique suits the music of Runemagick very well. He places appropriate fills without overplaying and this is a key ingredient in the group's overall sound. As the stream of consciousness guitar melodies of the title track melt into stop action downpicking and triplet gallops, Moilanen provides the proper amount of accents needed in order to accentuate the heavy features inherent in the band's sound.
The flanged axe work Rudolfsson undertakes in "Nebulous" adds a cosmic aura to this group's compositional structure. The frontman's bleak vocal grumblings are sparse yet effective as the rumbling lyrics echo over the song's buzzing riffs. You'll find detuned, heavily distorted plodding throughout "Maelstrom", a track which seethes with the bitter force of dark magick.
This crawling repast of blackened doom ultimately succeeds in it's ominous pummeling as Runemagick reveals themselves to be yet another dusk triumvirate in the ever growing legions of the genre.