On Funeral Wings

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Living proof that Scandinavians really have too much damn time on their hands, the members of Runemagick never fail to consistently churn out one or two albums each and every year -- no matter how many concurrent side projects they have going on at all times. Fortunately for us, these generally run over the 70-minute-mark, pack upwards of twelve tracks each, and contain seemingly endless stores of "magick" riffs -- at once edgy, evil, and catchy -- to keep them interesting. Unfortunately for us, 2004's On Funeral Wings is not the best example of the above, but rather one of Runemagick's rare, disappointing and uninspired outings. Far less immediate than its predecessors, the album bogs down occasional bright spots such as the excellent title track (fueled by intense mid-paced thrashing) and the masterful "Emperor of the Underworld" with excessively lumbering, endlessly drawn out doom offerings like the nine-minute "Dragon of Doom" and the eight-minute "The Doomsday Senthe." Both of these (along with a second pair of equally lengthy and misguided epics) simply wallow in unnecessary repetitiveness, making it hard for the band's normally effective instrumental interludes (represented here by the sub-two minutes "Hyperion" and "Trifid Nebula") to do their work as well-timed tension-breakers. In addition, Cathedral-recalling offerings like "Ocean Demon" and "Riders of Endtime" only serve to detract from any small semblance of cohesiveness that might salvage On Funeral Wings, leaving one to hope the band rediscovers their route next time out.