Runemagick - Darkness Death Doom
Aftermath Music
Dark Doomdeath Metal
10 songs (58'46")
Release year: 2003
Runemagick, Aftermath Music
Reviewed by Alex

Before Darkness Death Doom I heard little about Runemagick. I knew they are a doomdeath band from Gothenborg, Sweden. I knew they were on Century Media originally, but had a bit of a contentious divorce with the label. CM basically dumped them as the label thought Runemagick does not deliver the good. I knew that Darkness Death Doom is the band’s fourth or fifth album. I knew that Nicklas Rudolfsson is the guitarst/voice/mastermind of the band. Yes, I knew all those things, yet I have never heard a note of Runemagick music prior to this week. While I can’t say that I am beating myself on the head for missing out on the band, I have to admit the guys play solid quality dark doomdeath material. It is hard to find a more aptly fitting album title for this opus.

From the beginnings of the thunder-rain-Gregorian chant-fuzzy guitar Intro - CDXLIV you have a feeling that the impending doom is inevitable. Ancient Incantations follow suit with the “fuzz pedal” being turned to the maximum. The music is slow, heavy, sludgy and creepy. The band wants this kind of atmosphere and easily delivers it. Rudolfsson’s vocals are particularly non-melodic, guttural and metaphysical. They almost exist on a parallel plane with the rest of the music creating a feeling of utterly disinterested in life bystander. There is something from what I call an Akerfeldt growl in Mr. Rudolfsson’s delivery. Ancient Incantations plunges deeper into an abyss by the end of the song. Eyes of Kali picks things up in terms of tempo, progressive drum beat and thrash/death, almost Entombed style, riffs. It is if the band shifts into the higher gear deviating from the doom fuzzy chopper it flies most of the way on DDD.

The band is mostly successful in marrying crunchy riffs, dark melodies (The Venom), long songs and doom atmosphere. It is not easy to maintain the interest in this style, and most of 8 min songs this genre is famous for can easily turn into clock-watchers (sorry, Jay, I just loved this term). Runemagick does not turn their art into a collection of dark riffs, the songs hang together well, and rarely stagnate, with a few exceptions (the end of The Venom and Darken Thy Flesh). However, only the grand finale Winter really puts all of the Runemagick attributes on a higher level, and comes close to being a masterpiece. All three D’s (darkness, death and doom) merge perfectly, Nicklas is extremely “meaty” on his “Winter” growls, and a polyphonic hymn of a melody is gripping. The Outro – 444 fades out into a fuzz’n’buzz heavy on reverb solo. I also liked how the band took an early Sabbath melody and complexly arranged it on Eternal Dark.

One of the major pluses of the album is its production. It is warm, sludgy and perfect for the doom atmosphere. Daniel Moilanen’s drums are dry and punchy. A special mention goes to Emma Karlsson. Without her bass this album would be half as good. Music like this can not exist without quality bottom end. The lyrics are also a display of fine dark themed poetry, fitting the rest of the message well.

I guess it is just my personal preference that doom music be more melodic. My soul falls much easier for the funeral melodies of Yearning, Shape of Despair, My Dying Bride and Mourning Beloveth. Runemagick treads much closer to the death territory without being fast or overly riff oriented. One or two more dark melodic songs and I would call this an album of the month. At any rate, Darkness Death Doom is a good buy for people who love pensive music.

Killing Songs :
Winter, Eyes of Kali, Eternal Dark, The Venom
Alex quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Runemagick that we have reviewed:
Runemagick - Invocation of Magick reviewed by Adam and quoted 75 / 100
Runemagick - Resurrection In Blood reviewed by Danny and quoted 50 / 100
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