Runes of the Evening are a melodic black metal band from Dallas. Runes of the Evening is their self titled debut LP, after having released 2 EPs.
Full disclosure, I’m pretty far from a black metal purist. I came into the genre through Cobalt, and Wolves in the Throne Room first, Then blackened folk metal like Falkenbach and Thrawsunblat. I love the musical hallmarks of the genre; blast beats, tremolo riffs, and dissonant chord voicings, for example. I've even become partial to black metal vocals over most other distorted metal vocals.
Runes of the Evening nails all that, and has recorded it all with a spot on mix of clarity and rawness. I have little patience for black metal’s historical penchant for poorly recorded music for the sake of sounding raw. Runes of the Evening achieve a raw sound, with a nice treble snarl on the guitars, but everything shines through in the mix. It’s a good thing too because these guys can write riffs, and have a killer drummer.
Most of the songs are build around tremolo riffing and blast beats but the riffs are really melodic, sometimes even featuring twin guitar harmonies, and often headbang inducing. The guitar and drum work is top notch, shifting seamlessly between riffs and rhythms. The band sounds like a blacker, more raw version of Thrawsunblat, stripped of folk, with a dash of Agalloch’s heavier moments.
Unlike a lot of melodic black metal bands, Runes of the Evening are rarely “atmospheric”. Most of the songs absolutely rip. Softer moments are kept to a minimum, which really gives them impact. The songs are medium length, generally 5 to 8 minutes, giving them enough time to let you hear and enjoy all the riffs, but still keeping things moving.
Though at the core they’re a black metal band, Runes of the Evening are not afraid to cherry pick from other genres. There are a couple of searing solos, and some fantastic galloping rhythms throughout, and even some sweep picked riffs. It’s an impressive achievement to make such a melodic record, but make it sound so black metal, rather than “blackened other genre”.
I’ve seen almost no coverage of this release, which is a shame because I love this album. It’s as if they reached into my head and made a record that features everything I love about black metal and nothing I don’t. This album should have been all over 2013 “best of” lists.
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