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Through the vagaries of social media and the multifarious, oft convoluted pathways of modern day relations, actually had a chat with the frontman of Runescarred, whose cover of an Iron Maiden track I didn’t even know existed we…really had no comment on, given the complete lack of reference point.

In other words, it would help if the original version were familiar, to contrast the covering act’s own take thereon…or a fuller album or EP to judge the band on its own merits. And of course, comments to this effect were made, with the implication that we’ll see how it goes when we hear more from these guys. Fairly typical response when you’re thrown in the deep end of the pool like that.

Well, guess what. I was indeed provided with the band’s recent EP (which to a mutual raise of the eyebrow, hadn’t made its way across the virtual desk to date*), not even for review, but just as a gesture between fellows.  Here, so you have a point of reference, hope you get a kick out of it, no strings, end of story.

* well, as it turns out…ah, never mind.

But you know me (or should by now, if you’re a Third Eye regular). I’m nothing if not honest to the point of bluntness…and while that can play against subpar materials (or bands with members who really aren’t pulling their weight, like the sadly ubiquitous scream n’ growl ’cause I sure can’t fucking sing vocalist, a veritable mountain’s worth of “metal” spectrum frontmen implicated thereby)…it can also work for a band, when they can actually play, sing, have good songcraft and/or production…or just simply succeed at crafting material true to its source and intent.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I come before you offering a well deserved nod of respect to…Runescarred.

These former members of Dead Earth Politics (together with members of local good ol’ boys Southern Front) seem to have er…progressed beyond the somewhat proggy thrash/groove thing Dead Earth Poltics was known for, with vocalist Ven Scott almost entirely eschewing the sub-Anselmoisms* for more of a Euro power metallish rasp, only rarely delving into the ooga booga scary monster death/metalcore thing for effect.

It’s not quite Mob Rules or Brainstorm, but not even as abrasive as what Ralf Scheepers is doing with Primal Fear…and this from a Texan band with aggro leanings?

* closest I’m hearing to the Pantera/Exhorder thing comes on closer “ghost ocean”…but even there, it’s not as obnoxious and in your face as usual.

Furthermore, the prog elements appear to have increased dramatically. Granted, DeP tracks like the one from which they derive their moniker were moving more towards this direction…but were fans of that earlier act really expecting something like “this is mine”?

In point of fact, the first reference point that hit me in hearing this three track EP? Was Helion Prime.

I think that says there’s been a definite…er, progression here.

The guitar work is busy, but never at the expense of melody or harmonic structure, the drumming is more than competent (and speaks more to European power metal than any more domestic genres), production is quite solid and the whole affair comes off as a progressive power metal act with light thrash tendencies, rather than a thrash/groove thing starting to lean a bit prog.

Yeah, I’d call that a change, alright. And a very welcome one at that.

Due respect, looking forward to the full length.