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Norway is the cornerstone of true black metal. While I dislike a lot of black metal, Ragnarok play the sort of black metal that is not only tolerable but highly enjoyable as well. This is not some slow, suicidal, or redundant black metal by any means.
Ragnarok are fucking heavy. They also play fast as fuck. If I were to pinpoint one black metal band that is horribly underrated and under discussed it would have to be none other than Norway's Ragnarok.
These guys are actually technically proficient with their instruments and pissed off at the world. Of course Jontho is probably one of the best drummers of all fucking time. Out of all death and black metal drummers who have ever existed, beat for beat, Jontho can destroy them all. His drumming is immaculate. Arguably, Jontho is the greatest black metal drummer of all time: this album is evidence of such a bold claim.
The guitars essentially follow the drum beats. The guitars are tremolo picked but played very, very fast. The guitar tone is of special note because it fits the drum playing and bass perfectly.
These rhythms are so demented in the head that it's hard not to head bang until your neck bone splinters into dust. Vocally, this is MUCH better than the fucked up vocal performance on Ragnarok's latest release "Blackdoor Miracle".
The production is thick and plush unlike most raw Norwegian black metal; the production helps increase the awesomeness of "Diabolical Age". This is ripping black metal of the most blasphemous nature... highly recommended.
Ragnarok took a big evolution from Arising Realm's sound when they released Diabolical Age. They went from "normal" true black metal to an even angrier and faster version of true black metal. The album spans eight songs in fifty four minutes: they might be faster and have more aggression behind them, but damn, they're epics.
As is typical with Ragnarok, the drumming and guitars are superb and could easily hold their own against any other comparison in the genre. The bass, not so often heard amidst the chaotic sounds of black metal, is actually very good as well (when it's audible). As for the vocals, they're still great and have the "black metal sound", but they're not distinct. Not like that matters, really. With black metal, the vocals really don't have to vary much in sound to be perfect with the music. This album, though, is chock-full of essential Ragnarok listening with tracks such as "It's War" (which could be their best song ever made), "The Key Is Turned For The 7th Time", and "Certain Death". If this is your first listen of this band's music, you're sure to be shocked with the amazing quality and songwriting they have to offer.
It's a fifty four minute black metal assault that will make you weak in the knees by the time it's over. Grim, heavy and completely crushing, I highly recommend this to all black metal fans the world 'round. Ragnarok has better material to offer than this, and that's truly saying a lot.