REVIEW: The Howling Void ‘Runa’ (EP)


Avantgarde Music
(Released October 2014)

In the case of The Howling Void’s ‘Runa’, EP stands less for Extended Play and more for EP-ic! This three-track mini-album is like a soundtrack to some fantastical Warhammer movie in which shadow and plague cross the land and all the good guys die. The End. There is a great deal of philosophical and mystical inspiration poured into the compositions, but it all boils down to a staggering end-of-days vibe.

This one-man band from San Antonio, Texas, has released four full-length albums to date, including 2013’s ‘Nightfall’, and the triumphant triumvirate of songs on offer here (two of which were also recorded earlier in 2013) mark a shift away from previous funeral dirges towards a more accessible and melodic “Celtic” style of atmospheric doom. New track ‘The Wolf And The Eclipse’ joins older favourites ‘Irminsul’ and ‘Nine Nights’ and the songs complement each other well.

‘Runa’ builds on the symphonic elements that can be found on ‘Nightfall’ to create an vast, misty landscape peopled by the dead and dying. The Howling Void draws in aspects of Moonsorrow, Hamferd and Falkenbach, including a blackened undertone, while weaving together tribal elements and tranquil keyboards that add warmth and depth to the multi-layered sound.

The vocals are occasional, clean, peaceful and passive as if unwilling to interrupt the grandeur of the music. The songs swell and build, surging ever-forward like an eternal war machine. Complexity and originality are not the focus here – ‘Runa’ is more a case of perfecting a certain sound; painting the background to a vision of the world. A precursor to greatness, perhaps, a taste of immense sorrows to come.


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