Voyage To Desolation/Dawn Of The End
posted on 4/2008 By:
I’m not sure I quite understand the motives behind the release of Voyage to Desolation/Dawn of the End. This is essentially the same album as 2007’s Dawn of the End—the only distinctions are a new record label (Enucleation Records) and a minor track listing change. I might be wrong, as I haven’t heard Dawn of the End, but as far as I can tell this is a superfluous release that amounts to a reduced LP combined with a really short EP. Ordinarily I’d think cash grab, but something tells me that Enucleation aren’t in the game for the money, and this isn’t likely to net’em much dough anyway.
Anyhow, I believe this is the 11th(!) release in as many years from Sweden’s venerable Runemagick. Though lacking much of a following, these dudes and lady are a veritable institution at this point. Runemagick are one of those Bolt Thrower-y bands who basically pump out the same jams year in and year out for their entire career, but do it well enough that somebody’s bound to enjoy it anyway. In this case, the style of choice is a trudging—but not crawling—death/doom hybrid of the very old school variety. Their stated main influences are Celtic Frost and Autopsy, and virtually every song on Voyage of Desolation/Dawn of the End is a lengthy exercise in simplistic, pummeling riffage. They inhabit a realm similar to that inhabited by Japan’s Coffins, but where the latter deal in devastating but unthinking brutality, Runemagick opt for a much more song-oriented approach. Also like Coffins, they do what they do rather well. Runemagick make this abundantly clear on album highlight “Chthonic Temple Smoke,” which does the whole towering-repetitive-beatdown thing better than ol’ Frost themselves could on Monotheist. The band score similar hits on tracks like “Voyage to Desolation” and “Volcano Throne,” and pretty much everywhere else they manage to settle into a groove. Fortunately, this constitutes most of the album. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot when they stray from their formula. “Incantation 444,” for example, is a 3-minute ‘ambient exploration’ or something that features a vague tremolo-picked melody drifting over some church bells—not exactly a meaningful contribution to the album. Main man Nicklas “Terror” Rudolfsson also proves to be something of a liability in the vocal department. Granted, he has the wisdom to lead Runemagick in a primarily instrumental direction, but his growl is quavering and anticlimactic after the band’s hammering rhythms. Worse yet is clean ‘chanting’ on “Magus of Fire.” I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: black and doom metal bands need to learn that chanting is just not menacing, grim, atmospheric, mystical, or whatever the fuck quality people think makes this clownshoes vocal style worthwhile. It fails EVERY TIME. Please guys, never again. We’ve lost too many.
For those obsessive Runemagick fans out there—and I know you are legion—the aforementioned track change is the presence of the aforementioned “Incantation 444” and an intro track instead of “The Circle” and “Sabbatum Ad Infinitum”. Considering that both are throwaway tracks, I can only imagine that Dawn of the End is actually the superior release. If you happen to come across this disc otherwise though, it might be worth a listen—it’s an above-average-to-good death doom album that pulls neither punches nor tricks from its sleeves.
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