Posts Tagged ‘Futhark Dawning’

Early releases in a band’s career can really show you where they are going, and sometimes can show you just how good they are going to be. Here’s my favourites from this year, and why a demo is still as important as ever.

10. Funerary Bell – Graveyard Seance: in a year where black metal didn’t strike me as often as I’d like, Funerary Bell’s EP gave me hope that the genre still has a lot of merit. Injected with menace, and a ghostly shriek pushes them onto my list.

9. Gaijin – Gaijin: Technical death metal carnage from a band who will be very interesting to keep an eye on.

8. Heathen Beast – The Carnage of Godhra: What would become the last third of ‘Trident’, ‘The Carnage at Godhra’ is a brutal piece of quality, chunky black metal that benefits from dashes of ethnic instrumentation and socio-political lyrics.

7. Exenemy – Overture: One of the finer bits of traditional and power metal I’ve come across this year, Exenemy rip some high quality riffs with oodles of melody. Killer stuff.

6. Heaven Abhorred – Opening the Gate: Raw, malevolent black metal goodness. Channeling second wave black metal legends, Heaven Abhorred are another to keep an eye on.

5. Severe Lacerations – Incantation of Sorrow: Killer North West death metal with a ruthless streak a mile long, this will be a band to keep an eye on. Brutality plain and simple.

4. Mist – Inan: What a beautiful piece of doom this is. Reminding me of my favourite record from last year, Mount Salem’s ‘Endless’, Mist have perfected this kind of Sabbathian groove. I love it

3. Hellripper – The Manifestation of Evil: Oh my fucking christ this slays. It slays so hard I bought the tape, and I don’t have a tape player! ‘Total Mayhem’ could be my favourite song of the year, although it has some stiff competition.

2. Runemaster-  Futhark Dawning: This is prime heavy metal. This is metal at it’s beating, stone heavy heart. Each anthem is catchy, each riff is killer, and the simple fact that it channels such a primal feeling of joy means that its a favourite.

1. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: This is one of the weirdest death metal mindfucks I’ve heard in ages, and that simple fact puts it to number one. Plague Rider are in no way afraid to do anything they need to create something truly special. ‘Paroxysm’ is my number one for its fearless invention and its brutality.

Futhark Dawning cover art

You ever find a band just because a friend shared them on your social media network and you happened to notice it in amongst all the dross that usually fills your day? This is how I found Runemaster. How fortuitous!

Runemaster hail from Edinburgh and call themselves heavy metal. That generally implies either they play traditional metal or they don’t want to pigeonhole themselves. This is definitely the former, with ‘Into the Hall’ showcasing some nice galloping riffs and a soulful vocal that brings to mind Brocas Helm. This is honest heavy metal, with a definite eighties vibe. There’s nothing finer than traditional heavy metal done well, and Runemaster do this very well indeed.

‘The Leavings of the Wolf’ is next, bringing a more Grand Magus feel to proceedings, that swaggering riff heavy approach instantly appealing to me. Rarely does a band leave me stumped as to how to put across just why I enjoy it so much. Runemaster have. I can’t really explain what it is that gets me with this recording, but Runemaster are magic. Conjuring that classic heavy metal vibe brilliantly, each track is addictive and anthemic. ‘North Sea Demon’ is a grandstanding finish, with a rousing battle anthem that owes as much to High on Fire as it does to Manowar. Runemaster are an amazing proposition. It has been a long time since heavy metal felt truly this alive!