Review Summary: Ruleshard
It is no secret that artwork can set the tone for an album. It has the ability to influence and evoke images that otherwise would never be created to the listener’s mind. From the very first look, Dreaming Spire
screams dungeons and dragons. In fact, Runeshard’s debut EP has not only a cinematic quality but also feels like playing an old rpg. The instrumentation and songwriting brings to mind Bal-Sagoth which practically means over the top symphonic black metal with heavy emphasis on synths; actually, those who suffer from cheese intolerance should stay away from this one. Nevertheless, and despite the nerdy nature of the album, the overall offering is extremely fun, energetic, epic and plain silly in a positive way.
The use of various effects adds to the grandiose nature of the music and provides an extra layer of cheese bombast, while the spoken passages augment the cinematic quality of Dreaming Spire
. The EP’s title track is a perfect example of what Runehard are trying to achieve; it is ferocious, adventurous, has a clear direction and never lets go. The music here is synth-driven which might not be for everyone but in the context of the album it works perfectly, while the vocals are your typical black metal shrieks. Moreover, there are some power metal elements as well on here which might bring to your mind the obscure blackened power metal act, Numenor.
Overall, Dreaming Spire
successfully transports the listener to a land of ice, epic battles and dragons. There is a strong sense of consistency and continuity throughout, even though the album is quite diverse due to the variety of riffs and melodies. Those who love Bal-Sagoth will probably have a blast listening to this one but there is enough for power metal fans and anyone who seeks an epic element to their music as well.