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I wanted my review for this very album to be posted in this time of the year, for I still remember how long I waited for this release to be released last year, I kept hoping to hear this album till the last day of the year 2009, but it just wasn't managed to be released till March 22nd 2010.
This album has quenched my thirst for something Norwegian black metal after the frequent failures of some of my favorite Norwegian bands like Darkthrone and Enslaved.
Standing as a four-piece metal band since 2008, Ragnarok again brought some native Norwegian art to the scene, saving the name of Norway from total humiliation. From the very beginning, this release asks no permission to conquer your mind, the 55 seconds long "Resurrection" foretells what exactly is going to happen throughout the journey into this pure black world.
A mighty start of "Stabbed by the Horns" to leave you somehow unable to stop the music, you feel like longing for more, you just wait, amazed with these impressive drums and how they are being used in a remarkable technique, especially when they re-launch the song again somewhere in the middle of it. The distortion guitars used are perfect, perfect in tone, perfect in performance and above all a perfectly composed piece of art.
Mostly, the drums keep the fast pace throughout the album, with a slight variation in speed every now and then. And for the guitars, they frequently give birth to some melodies which one cannot hear but in pure black metal, and as I said before, these guitars are used perfectly to produce a true Norwegian masterpiece.
The second track "Burning Earth" comes to state the superiority of this release, and to save Ragnarok a unique place upon the map of black metal, especially when the album continues at the same rate it started with.
The vocals are so convincing and good, not really unique, no real techniques used in them, but they are absolutely very appropriate for such a release. The lyrics are quite interesting and well written and organized, and there's an amazing connection between the title of each song and its lyrics.
Also, it is worthy to mention that the cover art is very beautiful, it will keep you looking at it for a moment, trying to figure out what your eyes are trying to convey to your brain. And of course, the title chosen for this release "Collectors of the King" is another point that counts for Ragnarok.
One last word, if you haven't given those guys a shot yet, it's high time to do so.
originally written for spirit-of-metal.com
I am an enthusiast of black metal, and I always have been since I heard Marduk’s La Grande Danse Macabre in 2001, which was my first adventure into the underground scene. It’s always been a fun ride. Meeting bands, getting new records, expanding my music collection, ect. I have always liked the sound of the oldschool scene, back in the days of Dead, Euronymous and Varg, but some bands still stand out to me. Ragnarok is one of the few bands that had an old sound, but adopted a new one, much like Marduk and Urgehal.
Collectors of the King was set to be released late 2009, but was pushed forward to March of 2010. It was a long wait since the last album came out in 2004, but the wait was well worth it. This album is really good, being one of the strongest Black metal albums of the 2000’s. It does seem to stray a bit from their earlier sound in the sense that it is more thrashy, more in-your-face all and more ruthless then any of their other records. Now honestly, many of the old bands are starting to get a new sound to better themselves or maybe to change the scene, or maybe it is just because they just don’t give a shit anymore and want to change their image, but one thing is certain – black metal is not dead, as we once thought.
The album starts with an interlude, as many black metal albums do, but the album takes no prisoners and wastes no time jumping into a blast beat oriented first track. From start to finish, Collectors of the King was highly depraved and very enjoyable. The problem with the album though, is because it is so full of speed and power, it kind of has to make up with losing some technical work on the drums and bass. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is kind of sad that they would change their speed and add more power, just so they could say “yeah, we can play a blast beat at 300 bpm”. The guitar was really technical, however, and I enjoyed it a lot. The album seemed to focus more on the front end aspects of the music, being that the guitar and the vocal tracks were way up in the mix, and the drums and the bass were way down.
For me, black metal has always been this way. Just look at 90% of the bands – Tsjuder, Mayhem, Burzum, Taake, Summoning, Darkthrone – all have really quiet mixes on the drums and the bass, and the drums and bass themselves are not hard to learn. Many of the bands focus solely on the fact that their singer can extenuate a scream for a long time and hold a note, while still holding a feel of “being true”. I just hoped that this album was following the trend that Marduk, Ondskapt, Avsky and Urgehal had been doing, and mixed up the drums, adding in more progressive drumlines, and adding a new feel.
The album, though different, is much the same. As much of the lyrics seem to follow “for the glory of satan”, ect. It’s rehashed, so if you don’t like some lyrics being reused, don’t listen to the album. Many of the guitar lines seem to be the same as well, being that they are sort of power chord oriented and that they focus mostly on being fast and technical. When I first listened to the album, I really liked it. I had to (and I mean HAD to) listen to it again, but the problem is that the second run through the album is highly boring. It has a great initial listen, but it does seem to drag afterward.
You know, all in all, this release is really good, though I’ve bashed it more then complimented it. I guess that is because I respect this band so much, and I was a bit annoyed by the long ass wait, but I will say that a fan of the music will love the record – as I did. The album is boring after a while. It’s one of the better releases this year, especially for black metal, and you should give it a try. I’d recommend it for newcomers as well as long time fans to the scene being that it has the oldschool feel to it, while incorporating a new sound. It was worth the near 6 year wait .