There are not many releases which are as mesmeric and meditative as they are oppressively haunting but that definitely is the immersive landscape found upon the Runa EP from US funeral/doom metal project The Howling Void. The three track release is a hungry and intimidating flight across vast expanses of melodic dirge fuelled terrains, an exploration as warm as it is chilling, as seductive as it is menacing. These are extremes which play out simultaneously, enveloping ears and emotions with smouldering flames of invention around cold fingers of intent as the imagination revels in the rich depths and suggestive intrigue of tracks. It is a glorious and deeply rewarding proposition, a bottomless free fall into the creativity of the band with every journey into the EP breeding new textures, thoughts, and emotions.
The Howling Void is the solo project of San Antonio multi-instrumentalist Ryan (Hordes of the Morning Star). Started in 2007, the band has released a quartet of well-received and increasingly acclaimed albums with a funeral doom sound which submerges ears and senses in a dark and cavernous but transfixing realm. Runa was originally released digitally last year but has now been given its physical unveiling with Avantgarde Music, and to make the release even more compelling comes with a third unreleased exploration within its body. It is a riveting encounter which with the extra song is a must for new and old fans alike, and one reinforcing and stretching the already realised enthralling invention and imagination of its creator.
The release swiftly encases ears in a searching blend of expressive keys and raw riffs, opener Irminsûl looming over the senses and thoughts with heavy gait and tone aligned to a vibrant and almost fiery melodic and rhythmic enterprise. It is an enthralling coaxing which only breeds stronger potency as keys spread their similarly toxic and seductive hauntings as vocals float with harmonic expression and celestial mellowness. The EP is themed by “the mythic paradigm of Initiation in the Left Hand Path as represented by Woden/Wotan/Odin’s journey into darkness in search of wisdom” but every soar across the shadowed skies and soundscape of song and release, invites adventures just as unique to the imagination, personal visions and endeavours sparked by the encounter which are as fluid and vivid as the evolving narrative laying out for them.
The scintillating piece of composing and emotional colouring is followed by the just as absorbing Nine Nights. It makes a sterner and muscular entrance than its predecessor, guitars grinding their riffs against the senses with predatory attitude. This too is just a moment in a shifting landscape though, melodies and vocals soon gliding tantalisingly over ears within the caustic and prowling scenery sculpted by rhythms and riffs. The merger of extremes is stunning, beauty and cold almost pestilential breath a gripping and invigorating binding for ears and emotions. Imagine being in a small row boat in the middle of a rapacious stretch of water with no escape in sight as thick oppressive fog creeps ever closer. Listening to song and album feels very much like that and the experience is scintillating physically and emotionally.
The new track upon Runa is The Wolf And The Eclipse and as soon as its hint of a storm is the cue for a spicy melodic stroke of guitar, the track slips easily into the dark erosive climate of the release. There is shamanic lure to the smoulder of vocals and tribal tenacity to the drums which shape a striking gateway into a radiantly bracing and evocatively lit expanse of sinister and melodically graceful mesmerism, which in turn evolves into another intrusively commanding and heavy doom soaked provocation.
The outstanding challenge completes a similarly impressive release. The Howling Void is a project still relatively in the shadows but Runa has all the attributes and majesty to push the project into a broader spotlight. No one should miss out on its second coming.
The Runa EP is available via Avantgarde Music now @ http://avantgardemusic.bigcartel.com/product/the-howling-void-runa-digipack-cd
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