Review: “Runetongue” by Cogadh

Conceived in 2021 by a pair of musicians who met through different bands in their region of Canada, Cogadh (pronounced as Koo-ga, the Gaelic word for “War”) are a Black Metal duo from Ontario and Québec. Their debut finds them doing things almost completely DIY with “Runetongue” recorded, mixed, and mastered by drummer and vocalist Alex Snape at Nomadic Arts. He’s joined by guitarist and bassist Ira Lehtovaara in the project with the artwork done by Manuel Scapinello. What the duo have presented for their first burnt offering is a trio of original cuts and a cover of an Immortal classic…

In keeping with genre traditions “Runetongue” sounds raw around the edges while having some distinctly Scandinavian flair for the dramatic, however there is so much more to this than meets the eye. The surprises start with “This Familiar Cold” which despite the skull splitting shrill main vocal has an intriguing clean backing vocal and an extended passage of siren calls against the backdrop of melodic riffs played speed and energy. The second cut “Eye of Balor“, which is a tale of Irish Mythology about a giant with a huge fiery eye that he uses as a weapon against his enemies, finds the band adding some Speed Thrash riffs to devistating effect. A false ending then allows for a meloncholic meandering through a dark forest as the cold wind blows to chilling effect. It’s poetry in motion with some incredible musicanship. Both the opening pair surpass the right minute mark without missing a beat, both holding the attention and imagination with their sonic abrasions by using melodic keys and clever little intricacies that may go unnoticed on the early spins. “The Three Sons” continues the tales based on mythology, confirming the bands ability to take the narrative of the story and condense it down to create a single song in a way in which others struggle to. A shorter piece that approaches six minutes it offers some Hardcore style secondary vocals while maintaining that searing intensity that the earlier works have about them. Elements of Hardcore Punk make the Black Metal classic “Pure Holocaust” an often overlooked piece of Immortal majesty but it is one that suits the Cogadh sound perfectly. Here the duo create a rendition faithfully to the original while still having the imprint if their own style and there are even a few riffs that remind of the Imperial March from Star Wars [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. This Familiar Cold
  2. Eye of Balor
  3. The Three Sons
  4. Pure Holocaust (Immortal Cover)

Runetongue” by Cogadh is out 7th October 2022 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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