Review Summary: So much character, so little time.Runeeater
from start to finish, is a great collection of very powerful and well thought out melodies. There is a certain mood to this album that is very endearing. The basic structure and flow of the guitar work seems effortless at times. The songs create methodical build-ups by using a large atmosphere when it counts. Progressions from piece to piece have a very timeless sound, straddling the line of folk and black metal in a way that neither is exacerbated. The vocals have a sharp, but almost opulent tone to them. High pitched shrieks, sometimes accompanied by low rumbling growls. All these aspects can be minor commonalities in folk/black metal.
These ingredients are similar to some used by the best bands in the genre, but Velnias adds a touch more technicality than the usual. The guitars often trade off melodies by morphing an oddly timed, but simple riff slowly until without realizing it, it has become something new. This technique is probably one of the most perplexing aspects of Runeeater
, however it is also the greatest threat to the album. There are many points where the complex melodies kind of degrade, perhaps due to the production, or just poorly timed recording. There are several very rough areas of colliding notes, where basic coherence is lacking. A prime example of this is in the opener 'Velnio Maldavimas / Desolation Of Grandeur' where things just seem to fall off the rails. It can be very noticeable at points. It kind of makes the music abrupt in the more technical bits. This includes the drums which can sometimes sound muted and fractured when the guitar parts clash together. While the concept itself has a lot of potential, it is not executed to the extent it could be. It is obvious the band is attempting to create a lot of very atmospheric melodies, but some areas with guitar alone stand out as a bit flat. That said, there are large areas in songs, like 'Reverend Flames Of Antiquity' where dense clouds of clean sounding atmosphere are created, establishing points of clarity and coherence amid the minor fumbles.
Despite its triumphs, the album lacks a definite completeness or wholeness. It's like Swiss cheese. No matter what song you choose, there will be noticeable holes in it, but they are balanced with powerful atmospheres and ambiance. While none of the songs are quite as rough as the first song, they each have too much character, and too little expertise. Runeeater
exhibits a band that has a lot of potential, but lack in execution. In good hands, a band like this could release something polished and full, that would like attract more attention from its contemporaries.