Tag Archives: hungary

Underground Sounds: Runeshard – Dreaming Spire

Label: Independent
Band: Runeshard
Origin: Hungary

Do you like your dragons? And your dungeons? Or are you a big fan of Rhapsody and their type? Then you probably want to give Runeshard a spin. This Hungarian group plays dreamy metal, with a bit of power and some symphonic black to make up a grand sound on this all too brief EP.

The project is a solo endeavor by Bálint Kemény, who has also been active in bands like Numénor, Astor, and Niburta. Playing the guitars and keys, he sets you up for something grandiose and boisterous that reminds me mildly of Bal-Sagoth.

It’s that layered sound, the density of the riffs and the interplay between the vocals and booming spoken word that make that link most tangible on ‘Dreaming Spire’. The vocals are actually offered by Alethiuz, who offers both gruff sounds and narrations. The bombastic sound never ceases to rise during the tunes and only intermittent parts of fantasy music break the tension.

That path is followed forward on ‘Crimson Gates’, which has lyrics that see the hero pronounce his determined position and posture. Notable in the key passages is that here and there they receive a slick guitar solo companionship, giving them even more dynamic effect. The epic, jagged pace on ‘Atlantean Sword’ makes me think of bands like Turisas too, as we already reach the end of this brief taste of magic, offered by Runeshard.

Underground Sounds: VVilderness – Devouring The Sun

Label: Casus Belli Musica/Independent
Band: VVilderness
Origin: Hungary

It took me a while to really explore who VVilderness is, but I felt little surprise to see that Ferenc Kapiller, operating under the name vvilder, was operating this band. The previous project of Kapiller was Release The Longships. As much as a continuation, this is also a break with the previous sound, to create something new within the same context of northern mythology.

‘Devour The Sun’ imagines Ragnarok from an ecological perspective, as a cleansing of the world. A rebirth aftwerwards without the human infestation that has been slowly killing it. The sound is firmly lodged into the blackgaze niche, thanks to the shoegaze that is embedded in the soothing sound on ‘Devouring The Sun’.

The peculiarity of VVilderness is that the sound really is, as they describe it, akin to Alcest. Perhaps with a bit more brawn and postrock sensibilities, which come forward in the gradual build-up and conscientious craftsmanship that goes into creating an album so solidly connected. ‘Starless Dark’ is a slow ascent to the heights where the band operates, with sonorous tones and emotion-evoking strings. When it launches into the track ‘Sól’, this is where we get the black metal influences. Though I get the comparison with Harakiri For The Sky, I imagine a bit of Lantlôs too in there.

Though the music holds an intensity, that overwhelms the casual listener, the darkness eludes you. VVilderness offers tranquility, soothing beauty, like hazy rain on a sunny day. The sound is optimistic, warm and beautiful. On ‘Devour The Sun’, the guttural vocals disturb that peace and a slightly melancholic tone hits home. Well, it’s the end of the world so that makes sense. The undeniable majesty and force of the event takes over and dilutes this human emotion though, which fits the theme. From there we move to more acoustic music. ‘Life’ introduces the rebirth, with the sweeping ‘New Earth’, that simply offers a pure, meandering sound with high notes that sound like little bells heralding a new, beautiful age.

We leave with the glowing sounds of ‘Afterglow’. A bright ray of hope perhaps, though not for humanity.

Underground Sounds: Inoriand – Dwelling in Frost

Label: Eldest Gate Records
Band: Inoriand
Origin: Hungary

Inoriand is a particular entity, that creates what it calls winter synth. Winter, like in a sense the word dungeon does, fills in the thematic side of the music. Inspired by the elemental forces, the project has been unleashing various records, that convey the feeling of the outdoors. When it’s cold… and when it’s dark.

You can feel the ice-crusted meadows, the windswept mountain peaks, and the misty ancient forests, that are hidden underneath a blanket of snow. We’ve definitely left the dungeon on this one. The record, titled ‘Dwelling in Frost’, follows the path set out by predecessor ‘Bringer of Cold Winter’.

The music is eerily tranquil and with an icy force. Every note has the straight path of an icicle, hanging from a roof or a tree branch. The tones are elongated, cool tones, that speak of pristine beauty and cold death to the listener, as they lazily surge past you. Every new one enters gently, sliding into the complete spectrum of sounds with a casual ease. The clarity of the music makes the listener experience a strange tranquility.

There lies a yearning underneath though, buried under snow, to find life again. To blossom and bloom, which is almost tangible within the spectrum of synths by Inoriand. The gentle swelling ‘Lights in the Northern Sky’ for example, which suddenly breaks free after 5.30 minutes into something floating, effervescently light. That’s where ‘Reflecting Yourself’ comes in, which feels like being in a cocoon. Soothing and oppressive at the same time. A great record to immerse oneself in.

Underground Sounds: Thy Catafalque – Meta

Label: Seasons of Mist
Band: Thy Catafalque
Origin: Hungary

Thy Catafalque is the brain child of mad musical professor Támas Kátai. The avant-garde musician has been active in bands like Gire, Gort, Darklight and Towards Rusted Soil. The Hungarian musician is active in tons of projects, but this is probably one of his most amazing ones as far as I’ve heard. Enter a completely new domain of musical madness with this band.

Kátai originates from Máko in Hungary, but currently resides in Scotland. It may be a climate more fitting to his frantic, rugged music, but maybe it’s a bit of everywhere anyways. The artwork is inviting, and speaks of a medieval and maybe even spiritual atmosphere. Yes, with animals. Agnessa Kessiakova from Bulgaria is responsible for the artwork. A legion of guests is also active on the album.

After a heavy intro with theatrical black metal, the energy dwindles down on the meandering folky ‘Sirály’, with vocals of The Moon and the Nightspirit’s Ágnes Tóth. Gently swooning music allows the listener to just drift off for a bit. A Ghost like chanting greats the listener on ’10^(-20)’, before it launches into a turbulent, battering assault with sharp guitars and a harrowing set of vocals. Then the song almost unnoticable switches around to a dance track with flat, repetitive vocals and a hacking rhythm. It’s exactly that, which makes Thy Catafalque so wildly unpredictable and amazing.

‘Ixión Düün’ is a track you could just as well expect to hear while playing World of Warcraft in an exciting dungeon, looming with danger. There’s the whole Dungeon Synth genre, which seems to be somehow where the inspiration for this soundtracky tune has been drawn from. Amazing stuff again, but not as impressive as the track ‘Malmok Járnak’. This is a 20+ minute epic, with bombastic passages that slowly creep by, a battery of instruments, effects and strange confusing passages. It kind of keeps on building up, slowing down and then rising up again, sticking to that soundtrack feel.

It’s hard to really write about this album, because it goes in so many directions. Every time you listen to this, you hear new things. That’s the beauty of it and also why you should be listening to it right now. Enjoy!