#Runespell Shores of Nastrond

4 min read

Band: Runespell
Title: Shores of Nastrond
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Release Date: 11 August 2023
Country: Australia
Format Reviewed: high-quality digital recording

From Australia, we have Runespell, a black metal 3-person band that brings the listener on a journey, that captures the psyche, building alter worlds of imagery, that once you hear how masterfully this scenery is painted, it will be an album that you come back to often.

Runespell kicked off their metal journey in 2017 with a demo, followed by a first album, “Unhallowed Blood Oath”. In 2018 another full-length album “Order of Vengeance”, came out and in 2019 that was followed by the album “Voice of Opprobrium”. In 2020 a split album came out with a 2021 album entry of “Verses in Regicide”. In 2022 an EP was released called “Sentinels of Time” to now finally a 5th full-length album entitled “Shores of Nastrond”. As you can see, each year since the band started things off, they have been busy bringing their music out. The band consists of: Irrwycht, on Keyboards, Basilysk, on drums and vocals, and Nightwolf who plays, bass, lead, sings and plays drums. Between the three of them, they have created some memorable sounds and from what I see, will continue to do so long after this album.

Let’s check out this 6-track album…

The first track “Mirrors of the Dead” begins in an acoustic opening, with echoing going in and behind the acoustics. The atmosphere is being built with the addition of an electric guitar riff and keyboards in a refrain of melancholy. Drums are paced and play slower on the ears. The tempo changes to heavier and punishing, both in speed and the growled vocal. Tremolos, slow and paced break in against the now frenetic drumming, and that vocal only gets more guttural. This track holds that melancholic keyboard rhythm and seems to weave it in and out of the drums, guitars, and singing.

The track 2: “Elemental Fires”, is more of that barely-there acoustic guitar to start, but the tone intensifies shortly after. Keyboards are strong in this track as is that guttural vocal, seeming to roar and echo in my ears as I listen. The full musical sound in this track is epic, wall of sound type, until nearing the end, a savage roar of vocals and the black metal guitars/drums combination is on in full force leaving no doubt of the black metal sound they create.

Third, “Spectres of War” begins in a protracted screech sound, then immediately kicks off the guttural vocal and guitars and drum and all of it is on fire. Strong expression. Atmospheres and pacing are evident in this track, making it powerful.

Next “Unfurled Night” begins in a beautiful poignant, acoustic, an interlude. You cannot help but travel somewhere with this whimsical, yet dark passage, then, the whispered vocal is introduced. Where am I right now-somewhere floating, spinning, losing myself in these delicate sounds and not sure what comes with the whisper. A foreboding, a warning, or a celebration of the night.

In the fifth track, “Shores of Nastrond”, a melancholy is present to start, with the keyboard giving an overlay of airy toned sound. Lighter in tone is what I mean. The tone deepens and the guitar add the riffs, pairing with keyboards. Wow, a tempo change, a break from the first sounds, guitars build that change and the vocal is there to keep that tempo change breathing.

A story is being told here, in the instruments, falling back to the original melancholy of keyboards and the guitars and drums digressing off to another realm. This track sounds pagan inspired and it’s done to low key hit that pagan sound, without overdoing it.

The sixth track: “Vigirdr Fields”, has water sound effects, and more of the simply strummed acoustic guitar. That simplicity of sound helps create the levels of this atmosphere. The track becomes heavier hitting, intense and easily addicting with the inclusion of all the instruments. The ending of this track is more of that Runespell magic of sound.

Runespell knows how to ensorcell and create some immense imagery in their music. There are pagan tones, but done in such away as seeming to breathe, naturally. I felt some times that I was transported elsewhere, where the guitars, drums, and vocals from these three talents were what was keeping me bonded to the songs. Overall, I found some of the passages to be long, and some to be duplicating from earlier tracks. Having said that, I would listen to this album again and again, because the magic of the combined album is there, and it stands out. 7.5/10 Metal Marie



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