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Runespell - Voice of Opprobrium

Voice of Opprobrium
by Damian Smith at 09 September 2019, 9:08 PM

If my brief time here at Metal Temple has taught me anything, it’s that there is seemingly no end to the amount of one-man Black Metal projects out there. And, in a genre where innovation is seemingly frowned upon, and so many of these bands are just trying to rehash the sounds of their influences, I’ve started to find that listening to some of these records can get kind of tedious after a while.

From the first note, however, I’ll admit that Australia’s RUNESPELL had my attention. “Voice of Opprobrium,” the band’s third full-length record to date, begins with a lush, and atmospheric acoustic guitar arpeggio with the instrumental opener, “Firmament in Blood”. Gradually, some sparse percussive instrumentation, and choir are added, contributing to the epic feel of the composition, which easily calls to mind some of BATHORY’s later offerings. The track, which clocks in at a lofty six plus minutes, is a bold choice to open the album, and one that I’m not entirely certain pays off. I found myself enjoying the first several minutes, but about half way through I was definitely getting antsy for a change of pace.

The dip in audio quality as the second track begins is a bit jarring, but never the less, the title track, “Voice of Opprobrium,” does feature some interesting, melodic interplay between the lead guitars. In fact, the guitar playing here is really quite refreshing, and creative. “Wraithwoods” is another acoustic instrumental that goes about its business in much the same way “Firmament in Blood” did, although I think its placement on the album, and composition puts it a step above. Even at five minutes, “Wraithwoods” doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

Shortly into the third song, “All Thrones Perish II,” there’s some beautiful layering to be heard with the guitars. I believe I count three, or four different guitar parts happening at once? Again, sections like this really show a tremendous deal of creativity. While listening to this song, though, I couldn’t help but wish that the production on this album were just a little bit better. With so much attention to detail in the performance of each of those parts, and other sections on the album, it’s a shame to have it all buried in the background. The remaining two songs, “Wings of Fate,” and “Ascendant,” follow the same acoustic/heavy order scheme, with the latter delving into some more aggressive, almost Thrash territory at times.

Despite my not being overly fond of how the album is paced, or the production, this album has plenty of interesting ideas going for it. The songwriting, and guitar playing in particular really make the album stand out.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Firmament in Blood
2. Voice of Opprobrium
3. Wraithwoods
4. All Thrones Perish II
5. Wings of Fate
6. Ascendant

Nightwolf – All Instruments
Record Label: Iron Bonehead


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