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When talking about Black Metal people often fail to reserve a mention for Ragnarok who have been around for quite a long time now and are clearly experts at the art of creating and performing Black Metal. They may follow the stereotype of wearing corpse paint etc. but nothing wrong in that.
They may be considered a more coherent version of Emperor with that characteristic "undercurrent" of blastbeats and rythms quite often similar to death metal. Yet they certainly can't be called rip-offs. Thats the last thing they are. Ragnarok has it's own unique easy to recognise style. This album epitomises this fact.
It features complex song structures which hits us a little better than the previous album In Nomine Satanas. These songs do seem sloppy in certain sections but overall it is very tight and obviously this album was worked upon a lot by the band. The new vocalist Hoest from fellow Norweigan Black metallers Taake adds a new aspect that this band seemed to lack. The guitars are extremely catchy and well performed and they are the first aspect of this album that one notices. We actually have some audible bass which is well performed on the whole. The drums are absolutely out of this world. Jontho has amazing talent and brings the whole song alive with his complex yet tasteful drum patterns. He usually performs typical black-metal incessant drumming but there is the occasional thrash-styled tempo change and a blast beat or two. The production is extremely good giving the album the obligatory raw black metal feeling along with very tight musical standards. All the instruments are given the perfect decibel level especially noticable in the title track. Some people may complain that this album lacks in "atmosphere" but I personally feel that this is not a detriment to this album in any way.
I don't want to do a song-by-song but still some songs deserve a mention.The first three songs Preludium, Heir of Darkness and Recreation of the Angel don't do much for me (actually they are quite good but they're nothing like what is to come). Rites of Geburah is the first example you get of this bands real talent. Right after that are the best songs of the album one after the other. The title track is THE BEST song of the album and nobody can dislike it. This features a monster riff section in the middle with a cool shotgun effect before it. The lyrics are also quite good if you can understand them. Murder is next with a thrash-styled basic riff around which the sng revolves. Extremely catchy and is bound to be an instant favourite.
Next up is Kneel. This song often fails to get the special mention it deserves. Standard Ragnarok black metal structure here but the melody is just so fucking cool....I could listen to this song at least 15 times on end without getting bored. Bless Thee for Granting Me Pain is well acknowledged and deservingly so. It features most old school type of riffing and structure and if you like stuff like Burzum and early Dimmu then you are bound to like this. Here we also get a taste of the skill of the bass player. Journey from Life is the last *great* song on this album with another fucking cool and captivating melody (they are very capable of producing such stuff). Nocturnal Truths is similar to Recreation of the Angel but is slightly better than it. It's War is a rerecording of a song i never really liked anyway so not much to say there.
Overall this is a top-notch excellent and under-rated black metal album produced bty a top-notch excellent and under-rated band. Highly recommended. Get this if you like no-nonsense all out (maybe slightly unoriginal) ruthless Black metal. It wouldn't stand up in front of the old classics but has a lot of merit of it's own.