(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
To share the story of Austin, Texas’ RUNESCARRED properly, we must go back to their recent beginnings – at the end for Lone Star State’s thrashers Dead Earth Politics.
The abrupt, unexpected demise of that act left members Ven Scott (vocals) and Tim Driscoll (guitar) feeling as if there was unfinished business still at hand. The pair knew they would forge ahead and were soon aligned with drummer Payton Holekamp from fellow TX. metallers Southern Front. Bassist Josh Robins would be the next piece to fall into place, those pieces combined becoming the entity that is RUNESCARRED.
June, 2018 is quite an important month for the quartet too, especially the last weekend of it, First, they will independently drop their three song debut EP, “We Are“, on June 29th (today) and the very next day, make their live stage debut at Austin’s Skunkfest ’18.
It is the first part of this that we are here to inspect, the “We Are” EP, and while some might think such an introductory effort is a minor step, well, they would be quite wrong. Sure, the EP is a short recording, no one is debating that, but have you ever heard the term “dynamite comes in small packages“? I am convinced that whoever it was that came up with that was addressing this very record.
In the span of these three tracks, “A Darker Man“, “This Is Mine“, and “Ghost Ocean“, RUNESCARRED move mountains. Taking on a clearly more progressive style than their (former) D.E.P. and Southern Front bands, this foursome plant their flag deep into the metallic bedrock of the heavy underground.
The epically grandiose, slower-paced power ballad of “A Darker Man” is the stuff by which goosebumps are caused. Huge in its scope, it all begins with tranquil acoustic strings accompanied by a spoken intro from Scott. From there, a fiery emission of molten riffs ignite. The players generate melodic, mid-tempo yet powerful music, such that rises, descends, then repeats as it is discharged. It alone is quite emotive, but then there’s Ven’s incredible vocal performance, it is solid, unwavering, and serves to display the man’s range capability.
If the first song was the fuse then “This Is Mine“ is the detonation, one with thrashing riffs and dizzying, tightly knit aggression. It provides some real highlights too, one being the amazing kit-work from Holekamp displaying his dynamic drumming skills. Another being an awe-inspiring guitar assault from Driscoll, one that inspires me to imagine the frets beneath his fingers combusting into flames at certain points. It is also cool to hear Ven’s over-the-top aggressive vocals again as he inserts the occasional guttural delivery where needed.
RUNESCARRED keep the energy level high on the third and final cut, “Ghost Ocean“, an instantaneous heavyweight from the start. If the first two songs revealed the diversity of this quartet’s heavy metal, this is where they pull out all the stops and go for the throat. Everything is spot-on, the blazing guitars, Robin’s pummeling rhythms, the bloodthirsty attitude of the song… it all provides an intense sonic statement that shall not soon be forgotten.
In fact, that holds true for the entirety of the “We Are” EP, it provides a bold, wide-encompassing “what have we here” that welcomes us to RUNESCARRED. Like some ancient prophecy for the ages, written in stone and revealing that one day, an entity shall arrive to take us into the next age of metal. RUNESCARRED is that entity and “We Are” is the jumping off point for this band, as well as a template of influence for other ones.
See RUNESCARRED‘s first-ever live performance at the upcoming SkunkFest 2018 in Austin, TX [INFO] or at any of the following shows:
06/30 – Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live (Skunkfest ’18)
07/06 – San Antonio, TX @ The Mix
07/07 – Corpus Christi, TX @ Black Monk Tavern
07/20 – Lake Charles, LA @ My Place American Pub
07/21 – Meterie, LA @ Babylon
08/24 – Odessa, TX @ Gabby Doo Saloon
08/25 – San Angelo, TX @ Deadhorse
09/21 – Harlingen, TX @ The Hop Shop