Runescarred – We Are (Self-Released)Thursday, 21st June 2018
A union of two established outfits from the deceased Dead Earth Politics and regional heroes Southern Front, Runescarred are a progressive groove metal outfit from Texas aiming to come out of the gate ablaze through their debut EP We Are. Coming from a thriving music community in Austin, the talent pool is quite high – so it’s always exciting to hear some fresh genre-blends as long as the integrity and songwriting performances are also on par. Fortunately based on this brief outing, Runescarred deliver the goods to a current generation that is craving for some musical muscle to go along with engaging melodies, hooks, and harmonies through a modern context.
The quieter, whispering vocals against acoustic guitars sets up “A Darker Man” from a thoughtful perspective, once the electric crunch kicks in against Ven Scott’s soulful, expressive voice it’s hard not to be entrenched in the proceedings. It’s rare that a band will start with probably their most somber arrangement first, but it sets the stage for the double kick-infused, heads down metal of “This Is Mine”, where there are speedier power chord riffs against staccato-driven triplets, as if Lamb of God goes toe to toe with classic Nevermore (circa Dreaming Neon Black). These musicians never lose sight of placing circular reminders aurally to keep heads bobbing and feet tapping, even with all the advanced harmony action, driving rhythm section passages, and the killer lead tradeoffs. “Ghost Ocean” contains another avant-garde opening riff set against a comfortable tempo, the main verses going back and forth for Ven from passionate pleas and screams to lower bellows depending on the emotional needs that are evident in the moment – plus the Latin flamenco instrumental switch up is a commendable curve ball that works.
At only 15 minutes, We Are leaves the listener teased and tantalized, but desiring more – a great position for Runescarred to be in for the long run. Let’s hope that this is only the beginning of a fruitful, productive career for these gentlemen.