RUNEMAGICK, Ancient Incantations (2001, Aftermath Music)

The skull:
Here’s an incantation for ya: “Oh Beelzebuth, lord of flies and prince of demons, do summon, through the most potent necromancy, and through the careful placing of runes under a violet moon, to thus invert the power of the white Christ, transfixed and transferred, unto mine goofy looking buck teeth, so that I may be a truly foreboding skull and cast this dorky-looking redneck-ish visage to the darkest past. And, if thou wouldst hear me, please also do make sure Aftermath Music sells every single copy of this most kult 7″ record, and with great haste, so that they may continue to release Runemagick album after Runemagick album after Runemagick album. I shall await your verdict and spell.”

The music:
This 7″ came out at the opportune time, marking Runemagick’s transition from a mostly death metal-leaning death/doom band to the more doom-centric death/doom they would master on 2002’s excellent Requiem of the Apocalypse. If that sounds like splitting hairs, it is, but it bears noting, because Runemagick’s sound became a more potent and memorable force as of Requiem (until they squandered it and bled it dry several albums down the road). Here we have demo material from earlier days, and it’s solid stuff that merges the otherworldly evil of traditional Swedish death metal with the doom-laden crawl that Autopsy favors. Runemagick’s doom runs deep and true, recalling the riffing style of Candlemass with some Trouble-like melodic choices occasionally, all of it played and recorded with a frustrating dryness. Ultimately it’s a bit uninspiring, save for the glorious climactic ending of “Dominion of the Necrogods.” As I said, they would find their muse with Requiem of the Apocalypse, and its successor Moon of the Chaos Eclipse. So this is a stop-gap sort of release, one that can hardly be considered mandatory unless you are a Nicklas Rudolfsson completist (he has also recorded with Deathwitch, Swordmaster, The Funeral Orchestra, and Sacramentum, among others).
— Friar Wagner