Runespell – Voice of Opprobrium (Review)

Runespell - Voice of OpprobriumRunespell is a solo black metal band from Australia, and this is his third album.

I’ve enjoyed both Unhallowed Blood Oath and Order of Vengeance, and now this new album, hot on the heels of the previous one, has arrived to sate my never-ending thirst for black metal.

This new release contains 37 minutes of classic second wave black metal. Taking influence from the genre greats of the 90s, the artist behind Runespell channels black metal’s dark heart born from times past, while still remaining relevant to the current age and having plenty to say in its own right. The album balances scathing terror with atmospheric depth, sometimes blurring the two together, and sometimes keeping them forcibly apart. There are six tracks, and the album has a light/heavy approach to sequencing and flow.

Opening track Firmament in Blood is an acoustic-based atmospheric piece that boasts tastefully deployed keyboards and electric leads. This is a six-minute bold and ambitious start to the album, one that showcases the artist’s increasing confidence and skill in crafting epic soundscapes that are more than simply black metal by numbers. It’s an impressive beginning.

The next song, (and title track), is more orthodox in many ways. The music on this track is melodic and raw, but in a layered, emotive way, rather than a more aggressive go-for-the-throat delivery style. It also has a delicate clean performed right at the start, and this is one of many examples spread out across the album of the artist paying attention to all of the details, and adding creative flourishes and ideas here and there that really do add value.

Wraithwoods is another highly atmospheric and engaging track along the lines of the opener, only more epic, if anything. All Thrones Perish II, (a sequel to a track off Unhallowed Blood Oath), takes us into more blackened territories once more. It has a medieval feel to some of the melodies, and it powers along at a galloping pace.

Wings of Fate is slow and sombre, another well-delivered atmospheric piece. The final song – Ascendant – starts with a hearty roar and a blackened rage. Powered by infectious melodies and subtly interwoven with delicate keyboards, it’s another compelling piece of work that acts as a strong ending for the album, eventually dying down to a light atmospheric closing.

Voice of Opprobrium is a quality old-school Black Metal album, make no mistake, but one that’s wider in scope than most, with plenty of depth and atmosphere. It could in fact be my favourite yet from this entity.

Very highly recommended.

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