Runemagick CD review by Luc Rodgers
Jun 26, 2008, 03:01
RUNEMAGICK Voyage to Desolation/Dawn of the End CD
Swedish Death/Doom mainstays Runemagick bring into the world album number eleven and it is with this that I say, as many others have, “Why haven't I listened to them before?” Wrong place, wrong time (they left the massive label Century Media in 2002 and have since hopped around smaller indie labels)? What with the escalating popularity of metal, this seems an odd time for a band such as Runemagick to maybe call it quits, though that isn't set in Doom Stone just yet. It's not that this album delivers some surprising, or even overly memorable momentsâ€¦it is simply that they should be larger than this.
Openers “Voyage to Desolation” and “Chthonic Temple Smoke” both sludge and thunder on with nothing of considerable interest happening, if one is familiar with doom that is. It isn't until the third track, “Retaliation,” that the massive death metal is really heard. The guitar slides down into the abyss and mocks the flailing arms of the listener to finally soften a non-lethal impact. Now that you're in their grip, a hell breaks loose; it is a hell reminiscent of equal parts Watain's incredible Sworn to the Dark and Hail of Bullets's Of Frost and War, what with a smooth chugga-chugga and groove elements completely intact. The problem lies in there is nothing special about Voyageâ€¦. It is a capable album, one that can be played many times, but everything that happens is expected.
Where other doom bands expand and breathe deep the expansive world that instruments hold (most notably, Orthodox's Amancer En Puerta Oscura with its woodwinds and upright) or how over-the-top death metal can be (Behemoth is simply other-worldly in their capabilities), Runemagick seems to be okay with just being. Hopefully, in this time of rest, they will find a fresh outlook, a new “gusto,” and completely punish the world, and myself, with a release that defies the always-loosening rules of metal. [Enucleation]