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Runespell – Verses in Regicide

Runespell
Verses in Regicide
by Alex Barnard at 24 September 2021, 11:34 PM

RUNESPELL is a Black Metal solo project from Australia. “Verses in Regicide” is Nightwolf’s fourth LP using this alias, released by Iron Bonehead Productions on September 10, 2021.

This has all the hallmarks of a classic Black Metal album – quietly-mixed drums, rumbling bass, and reverb-soaked guitars and vocals. It oozes imagery of cold, dark dungeons and bitter, snow-covered forests. Nightwolf’s voice recalls the ominous and harsh screams of DARKTHRONE’s Nocturno Culto on “Transylvanian Hunger” (“Structures of Collapse”); his riffs are melodic, particularly reminiscent of the playing of Ihsahn from EMPEROR; and his drumming is thunderous, much like that of Hellhammer from MAYHEM (“Vengeance Reign”).

All that being said, my one gripe with this record is that the riffs are a little too IRON MAIDEN-y for my taste. A lot of the tracks seem to have the same chord progression, one that I call the “Trooper progression.” It comes up frequently in IRON MAIDEN’s music, and is, frankly, part of my beef with Power Metal – but that’s another article for another day. You can hear this progression, in particular, on the songs “Realm of Fire” and during the first and third portions of “Tides of Slidhr,” – which even has a melody line that kind of sounds like the main riff from “The Trooper.” It is truly disappointing to me that Nightwolf would use such a clichéd chord progression; part of the reason why I like Black Metal is that the harmonies tend to go places that one would not expect them to go, and that they evolve slowly over time. Here, the harmonic evolution is very lacking.

Despite this, I think the true masterpiece of this album is the track “Shadow’s Dominion.” Here, my complaint about hackneyed chord progressions holds no water. The riffs are really dark, the melody lines are very ominous, and the triplet feel accentuates the evil that abounds from this piece. If only the rest of the album were as good as this song.

Overall, this album is OK. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by modern, more progressive-sounding Black Metal bands like KRALLICE and MGŁA, but even bands like DARKTHRONE during their heyday were great because they weren’t just rehashes of IRON MAIDEN. Sure, they took inspiration from MAIDEN, but they combined it with the evil and dissonance of groups like HELLHAMMER and DESTRUCTION, which is not the case for this album. In summary, if the riffs were better, RUNESPELL’s latest LP would be getting a much higher rating.

Musicianship: 6
Production: 4
Memorability: 3
Songwriting: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Structures of Collapse
2. Vengeance Reign
3. Realm of Fire
4. Into Dust
5. Tides of Slidhr
6. Shadow's Dominion
7. Windswept Burial
Lineup:
Nightwolf – Everything
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
     


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