Review Summary: An extremely underrated Death Metal release from Runemagick
Runemagick are a Death Metal band that was formed in 1990 in Sweden. They are known for incorporating doom metal into their sound, as well as being influenced by such bands as Bathory and Entombed. They are not very well known, even in the metal underground, but they have still managed to release 10 full length albums to date. Their first full-length, The Supreme Force of Eternity, was released in 1998 on Century Media Records.
A lot of those who know Runemagick know them for their derivative and mediocre releases later in their career, the worst being Requiem of the Apocalypse. Many tend to overlook a band’s discography when they hear about one disappointing release. This can be exacerbated if the band is underground, and many do not get the recognition they deserve in the metal community. Runemagick is a band that suffers from this, as their debut album is simply a Death Metal clinic.
When first hearing the album, the listener is overcome with catchy guitar hooks and vocals that sound like a cross of L.G. Petrov of Entombed and Max Cavalera of Sepultura. The opening track, “At the Horizons End”, is an eight minute epic featuring plodding doom metal sections akin to Autopsy or Asphyx. The song also draws from Entombed or even Morbid Angel in the faster death metal sections as they are liberal in their use of double-bass. In most of the songs, the guitars lean to the more melodic side of death metal, relying on the use of melody as opposed to all out brutality or speed. Another highlight is “Nocturnal Creation” which bears a passing resemblance to “Demons Gate” by Candlemass. The Lyrical matter is somewhat similar to the usual obsession with death and such, but some songs such as "At the Horizons End" divert from this significantly venturing more into the abstract.
A positive of this album is the crisp and clear production, which is unusual considering the underground status of this band, and comparing it to other releases of 1998, such as Deathcult for Eternity by the Chasm, it fares much better. All of the instruments can be clearly defined, except the bass, which is a little low in the mix. Another strong feature of the production is that the cymbals do not blend into the drum sound, which plagues many otherwise good death metal releases.
This album is a great, fiercely underrated debut by Runemagick, and contains all of the elements of a good death metal release. The album is quite hard to find on CD, but then again, there is always a simple blog search.
At The Horizons End
The Black Wall