Runespell quickly follow debut delivering storming black metal with cagey ‘Order of Vengeance’

As I sit here, there’s a storm brewing on the horizon. It’s been threatening all day long. Dropping sheets of rain here and there and delivering some steady winds. But it’s not until right now, just as I’m going to write this piece, that natural violence is approaching, and there’s not a thing I can do about it.

It’s also rather fitting, because during the notes-taking portion of my visits with “Order of Vengeance,” the second full-length from Runespell, that the weather was the same. The trees outside were assaulted by rain and vicious winds, and it made so much sense sound tracked by these seven cuts that run about 47 minutes combined. Hailing from terrifying (yet lovely) Australia, where the spider and snake population always will keep me from visiting, comes this band and its heaping slab of black metal delivered about 10 months after dropping skull-mashing debut “Unhallowed Blood Oath.” Sole visionary Nightwolf (also of Blood Stronghold and Eternum) sounds like a person who constantly has ideas clashing in his head, with his other bands and with this prolific Runespell project. The music here is inspired and deadly, a perfect concoction to enjoy as the weather begins to batter the Earth’s brains.

We get started with “Retribution in Iron,” a track that slowly trickles in but doesn’t waste time getting terrifying. Animalistic, creaky growls rip away at fresh wounds, with the howl of, “See the world through our eyes!” channeling his wolfen blood. Melody rushes, but it’s cut with tyranny, with classic-style riffs giving the song a rousing end. “Destiny Over Discord” has spirited wordless calls driving the power, while throat-scarring vocals carve a brutal path. Riffs spiral into a pace change, coming out thrashy and aggressive, while strange speaking, glimmering guitar work, and a crushing pace sends the song out into the murk. “Claws of Fate” is speedy and punchy, with the growls aggravating scars, and strong melodies swelling like a river that’s taken on too much water. Later, the track delivers more bruising, as rains pick up and soak the ground, washing everything away.

“Night’s Gate” is an instrumental piece with eerie sounds, acoustic passages, and moody playing that conjures a thick fog. The track generates a deep hypnosis and leads you toward “Wolf.Axis” and its slow, foreboding beginning. Riffs swim while the growls simmer in filth, and the mid-tempo approach keeps things heavy and constantly bruising. Atmospheric riffs work their way in, as the humidity thickens, and the pace changes. Glorious playing rides over the top, with the song fading into the woods. “Blood Martyr” slithers into the picture, with melodic guitar work meeting up with coarse growls that sound like they’re gurgling plasma. The riffs are powerful and steady, with the track making significant impact before suddenly rushing away. Closer “Pray for Redemption—Redemption” is an oddball at first, sounding proggy and ambitious (though the tinny drum sound is a little distracting) before we head into a melodic prowl. The sounds of war pelt your temples, while the song picks up and delivers ample damage. Then, without warning, frosty, unforgiving winds arrive, laying waste to your prone flesh as you, along with the song, fade into unconsciousness.

Who’s to say if Nightwolf remains this active with Runespell, but if the music is as compelling and punishing as what he delivers on “Order of Vengeance,” we won’t be complaining. This record swirls with madness and devastation, and it’s black metal of the highest order. Now, I’m going to move away from this window before I get struck by lightning.

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