By Dave Schalek. Long running Gothenburg doom/ death trio Runemagick are currently on hold, but are still a presence given their recent activity on Bandcamp. Runemagick have uploaded a lot of early demo recordings, six in all, plus all of their full-lengths from 2002 onwards. All of the newly uploaded material has been remastered for a digital release.By Dave Schalek.
Long running Gothenburg doom/ death trio Runemagick are currently on hold, but are still a presence given their recent activity on Bandcamp. Runemagick have uploaded a lot of early demo recordings, six in all, plus all of their full-lengths from 2002 onwards. All of the newly uploaded material has been remastered for a digital release.
In this installment of Dave’s Demo Roundup, I take a look at the release of the demo material. I should say that I only have a passing familiarity with Runemagick, so I’m eager to dive into these releases with my ears wide open.
Initially, what Runemagick have released is a little confusing. For example, the first of the demo releases is a single song, “Nocturnal Creation,” which may be taken from either Full Moon Sodomy or NecroLive, both from 1992. I’m not familiar with either of the original demos, but the version of the song included on Full Moon Sodomy is less than two minutes long according to Encyclopaedia Metallum. This version, however, is over seven minutes long, so I can either assume that either a) this song was originally recorded and released on NecroLive (interestingly, Encyclopaedia Metallum does not list a song length for the version of “Nocturnal Creation” on NecroLive), or b) Encyclopaedia Metallum's information is in error.
At any rate, whatever the case, the remastering of the song itself is well done; beefing up what was probably a primitive sounding recording to begin with. The song showcases Runemagick's early approach in blending straightforward Swedish death metal with the more plodding pace of doom metal and with minor moments of melody.
Curse of the Dark Rune is the next release and is a three-song demo originally recorded in the ‘90s and released in January, 1995 according to Runemagick’s Bandcamp page. However, Curse of the Dark Rune does not appear as one of the “official” demo releases in the band’s discography, increasing my confusion. You know what? I’m going to stop worrying about the official canon at this point. Let’s just get on with it.
Curse of the Dark Rune is definitely a step forward from "Nocturnal Creation" as the musicianship is tighter, the recording is better with a snappier drum sound. The music is more melancholy, resulting in a doomier sound as blastbeats have been largely excised.
Dark Dead Demos appears to have been recorded just prior to the release of Runemagick's first full-length, The Supreme Force of Eternity, in 1998. Interestingly, though, most of the songs did not appear until 2000 with Runemagick’s third album, Resurrection in Blood. Decidedly heavier and less melancholy than Curse of the Dark Rune, Dark Dead Demos also features a deeper vocal delivery from band founder Nicklas Rudolfsson, and a faster pace. Dark Dead Demos also proves that Runemagick had a wealth of written material to choose from by the time of the release of The Supreme Force of Eternity.
Sepulchral Realms was recorded in Runemagick’s rehearsal room in 2001 and was originally released as a demo in between full-lengths. Appearing here in remastered form, this appears to be that demo with an identical track listing, including a "heavily improvised" cover of "The Return Of Darkness And Evil". What if Bathory had played doom metal? Answers here.
The last of the demo releases is the two-song Eternal Dark. One of the songs, "Doomed", originally saw the light of day on a 7" vinyl split with Lord Belial. Obviously difficult to find today, here’s your chance to get on board with an obscure release. Both Eternal Dark and Sepulchral Realms are very professional sounding recordings and thinking of them as demos is a bit of a stretch, regardless of the circumstances regarding their original release.
Needless to say, Runemagick's presence on Bandcamp should invigorate interest in the band with what are ultimately modestly priced demo releases, and remastered full-length albums like the 2003 classic Darkness Death Doom. Devotees of the band as well as newcomers such as me have much to explore here.