“Unhallowed Blood Oath”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Australian black metal of the cold and orthodox persuasion is what you’ll find here. Despite having its origins in the sweltering Outback, Runespell sounds authentically Norse and chilling.

Nightwolf is the man responsible for the music. He understands the sad and medieval melodies so prevalent in vintage Norwegian black metal while retaining the unhinged speed and crude production  One listen to “Bloodlust and Vengeance” shows he understands what Fenriz calls “the right kind of sadness”. It’s a sound that can’t be faked. On the other hand, “Heaven In Blood” is war-like, brutal and short.

Where the album stumbles is the unnecessary mellow “atmospheric” tracks “As Old Gates Unfurl” and “And Wolves Guide Me Home”, both of which eat into the brief running time and are forgettable. Some black metal artists feel compelled to do these kind of tracks  but take it from me, nobody picks up an album called “Unhallowed Blood Oath” to hear acoustic ballds, no matter how authentic.

Runespell is a good bet if you’re trying to find that old Norwegian BM feeling but the album could use more length and fleshing out.