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sabato 16 settembre 2023

Runespell - Shores of Náströnd

#FOR FANS OF: Atmospheric Black
Hailing from Australia, Runespell has forged a quite solid career thanks to a very good collection of five albums, all of them very enjoyable. Which is surprising is that, although this project is quite new, as it was just founded back in 2017, Runespell has had time and inspiration to release almost one album per year. The stability of its line-up, consisting of the same three musicians who created Runespell, has obviously been very helpful. It is also noteworthy to highlight that the three members are also involved in other different projects, which makes clear the level of commitment with the music and the scene that these guys have.

Its previous album, entitled 'Verses in Regicide' caught my attention and it was a release that I personally enjoyed quite a lot. So, I was quite curious to see what Runespell could offer us this time, with its newest opus 'Shores of Náströnd', released again under the Iron Bonehead Records' flag. The Australian project plays a sort of black metal with a strong melodic and atmospheric touch. Their compositions have a quite solemn nature, providing an epic feeling that defines Runespell’s sound. Those characteristics are easily found in this newest album which consists of six pieces that will surely make happy the fans who already know this band. The album opener "Mirrors of the Dead" is a fine example of the band’s strongest points. Here, we will find a tasteful work with the guitars along the whole song, which have plenty of great and catchy melodies. After an introduction where the guitars and drums build an increasing feeling of something epic to come, the composition gains in speed and intensity, where the guitars play the main role, although we can hear some keys in the background which increase the majestic atmosphere of the song. The pace is far from being monotonous as it has its ups and downs in the speed and in the overall intensity of the track. The vocals are the classic black metal shrieks which are quite solid. This is actually a great way to open the album and it is probably my favorite track of the whole album. The first half of "Shores of Náströnd" is undoubtedly the finest one as the first three songs show the most memorable melodies and well-accomplished structures. Both "Elemental Fires" and "Spectres of War" have great melodies, excellent tempo-changes which include slow, mid, and fast sections and the aforementioned solemn touch. It is remarkable the nice use of the acoustic guitars here and there than can be enjoyed in "Spectres of War", which is a resource used again in the later part of the album. The longest and homonymous composition also uses the acoustic guitars, for example, as an introduction to the song. Even tough it is the longest track, it is rhythmically less varied than other songs as it generally has a mid-tempo pace during a great part of its length. The riffing uses this tempo to create a sort of hypnotic feeling to captivate the listener. In any case, the band introduces some variations in the intensity close to the end, which I think, it is a right move that enriches the song and makes it less predictable.

All in all, 'Shores of Náströnd' is another remarkably solid effort by the Australian trio Runespell. It doesn’t reach the level of magnificence to be defined as a stellar album. Nevertheless, its melodic black has some moments of greatness, and in general, a very good level which should satisfy the listener who wants to enjoy some black metal full of great melodies and a majestic touch. (Alain González Artola)