Released: 2004, Regain
There are a number of bands past and present called Ragnarok but these Norwegians have been around ten years and are truly established in the Black Metal scene. This is their fifth CD overall, second on the Regain label but only my first time enjoying their hate-filled music.
A few things caught my eye…an odd collage type cover with Jontho the drummer pointing a handgun at the viewer and a computer derived mix of blood, fire a naked with bulletholes (?) in her back. I’ve always felt the mix of modern weaponry and primal black Metal imagery was an odd mismatch. Inside we get a fairly standard group of photos of the lads smeared in blood but looking much more realistic and gruesome than say, for example the photos of the band Raise Hell in the ‘Holy Target’ booklet.
I also noted that there are only so many patterns for corpse-paint and I would be hard pressed to identify these guys standing next to members of bands like Enthroned, Enshadowed, Obsidian Gate, Unearthly, Siebenburgen etc… however, that is ultimately irrelevant because while the band adheres to the conventions of the genre image and standing out based on looks is not what this is all about. The CD title is odd, I assumed it was supposed to be ‘BACKdoor miracle’ some evil anal reference considering the photo on the front. The lyrics carry an evil and elegant simplicity to them even if they are not completely grammatically correct. The three songs with lyrics penned by new vocalist Hoest ‘Murder’, Kneel’ and the title track are my favorite, and the others are written oddly enough by a third party.
Speaking of Hoest, he has a killer voice but I have no comparison to the previous vocalists. He stays in a mid-range scream, not too much growl and very little of the hiss or shriek style of delivery. Oddly enough my favorite cut is ‘ Murder’ the slowest and using a VERY liberal definition of the word, commercial song. Overall the CD is a blitz of misanthropic speed, razor sharp guitars, blast-beats and a fairly modern take on the genre, certainly with cleaner louder production with greater separation of the instruments in the mix. Ragnarok are crushing Black Metal gets high marks all around for the sonic intensity and delivery of musical hate.