|Review: Ragnarok - Blackdoor Miracle|
Label: Regain Records
Year released: 2004
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: May 26, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
I was sure I had some Ragnarok in my collection, but I just found out that I don't. Odd. Anyway, so much for comparison with previous releases coming from this scribe. I think Ragnarok would be considered "norsecore" by some Black Metal purists. I say "I think" because I've never really acknowledged the norsecore classification, contenting myself with enjoying the music. Let me put it this way: It's fast. Fast and violent. The first thing that came to mind when I listened to this album is a mix of Marduk, Enthroned and Dark Funeral, but with the added surprise of some heavy and thrash riffs, something that's not so usual in this brand of Black Metal, usually fast as hell and hardly giving the listener any breathing room. Here Ragnarok play it pedal to the metal most of the time, but also break down into more discernible, slower riffs before going all out again. This has been done before, but not often enough and more importantly, not always with success. Ragnarok does it well. Behind the all-out violence of the fastest parts, there is always a background sorrowful melody that gives an added "catchy" feeling to some song, all without falling into the "wimpy" category. The band's 10 years of experience clearly shows by successfully blending all this in their songs.
I've read that this album features a new vocalist. Not surprisingly, he is of the "black metal shriek" school, which is the appropriate fit for the music - but for added value it is actually possible to understand most of what he says without too much effort. This combination is very rare - at least for me whose English is a second language... That said, the vocals successfully convey the violence, hatred and fear expressed by the music (and the lyrics) and are an excellent match for it (just in case the band was wondering about their choice of new vocalist - hehe.. :))
Ragnarok are somewhere in-between the rawest Black Metal bands and those with the more polished productions - a good balance between the two, without really leaning toward one side or the other. Rest assured, there's no keyboard wankery here either. I've heard similar stuff before, so these guys aren't inventing anything, but they're not exactly re-inventing the wheel either. What you have here is a very good slab of fast, violent and brutal Black Metal with a twist. Definitely worth checking out.
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