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As the temperature rises and the sun infringes on the night, the realization comes: summer is here. A friend in the scene once told me (succinctly): "Summer is lame." It's true, at least within the realm of black metal. As a style, black metal is meant to be the sylvan, atmospheric representation of coldness. As evidenced by countless band photos and album covers warmth and daylight need not apply. Looking at the artwork for Runespell's last album Unhallowed Blood Oath, with sole multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Nightwolf becloaked deep in the Australian jungle, it is clear that this belief is worldwide, even in places where snow is an incredible rarity.

Less than a year after Runespell's debut, a second full-length effort rises as yet another testament to black metal's endless war of chilling atmosphere. Much more tragic this time, Order of Vengeance still carries the same chilling ferocity as its predecessor, but with longer melodic ideas and complex instrument interplay. Songs like "Blood Martyr," which can be streamed exclusively below, carry an unexpected kinship with the Finnish "dark metal" scene of the early 1990s, especially in the lyrical bass playing and subdued, near-somber atmospheres.

If Unhallowed Blood Oath took place on the on the battlefield in the war against light and warmth, Order of Vengeance was the period of mourning and plotting thereafter. It is a war that will never be won, and summer with reign on, but it will only ignite the hatred and retribution which fuels Runespell.

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Order of Vengeance is out July 6th on Iron Bonehead Productions. Listen to an exclusive premiere of "Blood Martyr" below.

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