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Runemaster - Wanderer Award winner

by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 06 August 2020, 12:12 PM

RUNEMASTER is Heavy/Power Metal band from Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. They were formed back in 2007 but were not active from 2009 to 2013. This is actually their first full-length album after releasing 3 EP’s and one compilation. They did not recorder anything 2007 and 2015 but were very prolific in the years after. Nothing is really known why the band went on hiatus but they are back with a vengeance.

They are part of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, the movement that came about in the late 2000’s. It’s a revival of sorts of the sounds of the 70’s and 80’s of the NWOBHM movement back in that day. They wanted to come back to the origins of the genre and make it somewhat new again. Some say this is the truest from of Heavy Metal and bands to this day follow the commands of bands like IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST and follow in their footsteps. They do add some more modern sounds to the genre but pay homage to the greats. Well, RUNEMASTER does a fine job of displaying their talent and honing their craft to a broader audience.

Like a lot of bands from the movement, they have darker lyrical themes, occasionally dipping into the occult, the supernatural and the unknown. You absolutely have that aggressive undertone throughout the album yet the music is largely based around melodies and great guitar riffs. They really don’t go astray on that side of things. You have your fair share of long solos and drumming greatness which is fine by me because I love the older bands and seeing newer bands shine a new light on the genre is a pleasant sight. The Bass is on point and sounds fantastic, sometimes it was very reminiscent of Bob Daisley from Ozzy Osbourne’s band, the sound is just so crisp.

You see, what this shows in 2020 was that modern bands were willing to adopt all the spirit of the early ‘80s – a pivotal time in heavy metal – without repeating any of the drawbacks of that time. Simply put, RUNEMASTER took the energetic riffing of early IRON MAIDEN, ANGEL WITCH, and SATAN and stripped it of any notions of hard rock or balladry to adrenalize it even more.

There has been a slew of bands who have released competent and energetic revisionist heavy metal, much of which has now married revival spirit with a certain dose of creativity. I think RUNEMASTER rightfully belong on any Spotify Heavy Metal playlist and to this day are one of the bands that have surprised me the most in the genre, reminiscent of bands like WEST OF HELL or early ENFORCER. They won’t revolutionize anything but they can solidify the validity of the movement with this excellent opus. This is by far one of the very best albums I have heard all year.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Raven Lord
2. Hagalaz
3. The Blood Dimned Tide
4. Inscription in Metal
5. Pyres of Heathen Kings
6. Helm of Awe
7. Mannaz (Immortal Journey of the Chainless Mind)
8. Maelstrom
9. The Hidden Force
10. Rider of the Nine
11. Ascendant Lunar Runes
Aidan – Guitars
Keith – Drums
Ed – Bass
Guv – Vocals and Guitars
Record Label: Rafchild Records


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