The Howling Void – Runa

After three records in the sign of a funeral doom with atmospheric traits, The Howling Void decided to explore new avenues with the clear intention of regaining further momentum after the unconvincing full length dating back to last fall. In reviewing The Womb Beyond the World, in fact, one could not help but notice that the creativity of Ryan (sole owner of the project) seemed to have gradually faded and, absurdly, having released a debut of unquestionable value such as Megaliths Of The Abyss seemed to have provoked anxiety in the American musician that he could no longer express himself at those levels. The recent record released on Solitude was formally impeccable but incapable of conveying emotion to the listener, a defect that is far from marginal for a genre founded on pathos such as funeral doom. Fortunately, however, what had appeared to be an irreversible creative stasis has been belied by the content of this short Ep, made up of only two tracks for a little more than a quarter of an hour in length, enough, however, to show Ryan’s newfound vein, as well as his admirable honesty in refusing to flatten out on compositional standards that are comfortable but lacking in any kind of outlet. Certainly, the change of course is as sharp as it is surprising, if we think that, listening to Irminsûl and Nine Nights, the first juxtaposition that comes to mind is that with Moonsorrow: it is obvious, however, that the doom heritage of The Howling Void is not diminished is that the folk element inserted in that context possesses, however, a different development than that of the Finnish masters, in which the extreme base is instead traceable to black metal. Ryan’s choice implies, therefore, the total renunciation of growl, replaced by clean vocals sufficiently evocative, but above all the recovery of a melodic vein sacrificed in the last release at the expense of interlocutors passages of an ambient style. All this can only be welcomed by those who, only four years ago, had identified The Howling Void as one of the emerging names in the doom scene; in fact, it is all to the good to think that this change of course will not be considered as an abjuration of their roots, since the peculiar characteristics of the sound are not entirely diminished, although conveyed in a different way. Well done, then, for the good Ryan; with this in mind, the next full length could definitively boost his project’s quotations.

2013 – Independent