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Runemagick: Into Desolate Realms

If you’re interested in Runemagick, I suggest checking out their Wikipedia page so you can keep track of all their members, their changes in name, and their current status. The band has a solid reputation and they have released several good albums. However, they’ve also gone through at least two periods of silence. Their last (and longest) silent period ended in 2017 when the band released a new album and started to make live appearances. In 2019, the band first gave fans an EP entitled The Opening of Dead Gates and then, just a short time later, they released this album. All the tracks on the EP are also on the full-length. I’d suggest picking up the album, but the EP will certainly give you a solid introduction to this often-underrated band.

Of the four songs included on the EP, “Wolves of Nocturnal Light” definitely captures the band’s renewed interest in ambitious songwriting. The song, a 12-minute beast, combines the band’s signature death / doom with some nice rhythmic variety and strong guitar work. The song also weaves in some cool melodic passages and tempo changes in ways that keep things interesting without sacrificing any heaviness. The song’s subtitle says its part two of a sequence called “The Moon is the Portal to Death.” If you’re looking for Part 1, it will be released in the near future on a split with Chthonic Deity. If part 1 is anything like part 2, it will be worth waiting for.

This album has several other highlights. “Sorceress Reburned,” for example, offers listeners a rhythmically surprising opening riff, one that eventually takes listeners on a journey through some seriously heavy doom material only to shift again into an up-tempo guitar pattern. The lyrics are rather minimalistic, but I thought they conveyed the sense of despair and agony of what the title seems to be getting at.

The most confusing song title here is definitely “After the Sepulchral Lava.” I’m not certain what makes lava “sepulchral,” but I have no doubt that this song is creepy and cool in ways that do the title (and lava) proud. This song showed off more of the band’s interest in ambitious songwriting. There are plenty of rhythmic changes to keep things interesting. There is also a very cool wah-soaked guitar sound starting about 90 seconds into the track. I sometimes think the wah pedal gets overused, but here it sounds bold and refreshing.

I’d also recommend “The Opening of Dead Gates.” This is probably the track that gives listeners the best sense of what Runemagick is doing these days. Surprisingly, the band calls this track the “catchiest tune” on the album. It’s not catchy in the sense that, say, a top 40 hit is catchy, but it certainly gives listeners a solid piece of death / doom that showcases this band’s strengths really well.

Some people think death / doom lacks variety, but nobody can accuse Runemagick of that. The music on this album is full of variety and surprise but it also manages to maintain a consistent sense of death / doom from track to track. Fans of the genre should be pleased with this one. Be sure to check out the killer cover art. The contrast between the sky and the land is cool and there’s a volcano at the center that is erupting a whole bunch of destructive lava.

Track Listing:
1. Remnants of the Old
2. Into Desolate Realms
3. The Opening of Dead Gates
4. Sorceress Reburned
5. Decay to Nothing
6. In the Sign of the Dragon Star
7. Necromancer of the Red Sun
8. After the Sepulchral Lava
9. Requiem Beyond the Stars
10. Wolves of Nocturnal Light (The Moon is the Portal to Death Part II)
11. Ash and Silence

Added: November 11th 2019
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 621
Language: english

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