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Runespell - Unhallowed Blood Oath

Unhallowed Blood Oath
by Clarissa "Wulf" Wright at 11 December 2017, 9:07 AM

Hailing from the Australian black metal world, RUNESPELL, was initiated by Nightwolf (ETERNUM, BLOOD STRONGHOLD). RUNESPELL serves a more mystical side of black metal, influenced by ethereal aspects of war, bloodshed, valour and fate. Following from their initial demo release of “Aeons of Ancient Blood”, they now make an offering of “Unhallowed Blood Oath” in full-length, on CD or vinyl, in alliance with Iron Bonehead Productions. A thick fog of atmospheric sound sweeps in from the first track “Oblivion winds”. Beginning with a windy intro, sustained with distant trembles of the guitar. A catchy guitar riff persists on, supported with subtle blast beats. The harsh vocals are throaty, cold and echoed, as if they are coming from a distant valley. The vocals add a rough bite to the distorted, smooth sound filling the space. As the most-lengthy track on the album, the band lay it all out on the table at once, coming forth to a strong start.

“As Old Gates Unfurl…” sends in a breath of air with as an ethereal, acoustic tune repeats with odd drone effects in the background. This gap of space is then filled in by “Heaven in Blood”, built up with a deep ascending riff, climbing upwards repeatedly, changing in tone at the chorus and verses. This Absurd cover serves justice to the original, maybe creating a more smooth, atmospheric rendition.  “All Thrones Perish” begins with an epic vibe as a distant high guitar tremolo riff draws in closer from a distance, sustaining momentum, before deep reverberations set in along with the remaining guitars, drums and vocals. The song marches forth along with the gallops of blast-beats, ending with a raspy vocal gasp, fading into a muted, ambient guitar solo. Shortly, the full montage of instruments returns, bringing the song to a heavy close, as the persisting guitar riff fades away into oblivion. The album is rounded off with an atmospheric acoustic piece named “And Wolves Guide Me Home”, brightly melodic and mournful in mood.

It seems to me that RUNESPELL have a developed, strongly sculpted sound, which is deceiving considering the age of the project. While listening to “Aeons of Ancient Blood”, for me, it brought about an atmosphere as if spirits being summoned from the ground below, released into the foggy air. Sounds are echoed and spacey, fading in and out of different darkened forms. The album doesn’t have a typical structure, beginning with the longest song, and ending with an acoustic track, staying true to its own style in what feels right.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Oblivion Winds
2. Bloodlust & Vengeance
3. As Old Gates Unfurl…
4. Heaven in Blood (Absurd cover)
5. White Death’s Wings
6. All Thrones Perish
7. And Wolves Guide Me Home
Nightwolf – All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


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