Ragnarok

Blackdoor Miracle

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AllMusic Review by

Norway's Ragnarok celebrated their tenth year of activity with a fifth album -- 2004's Blackdoor Miracle -- which also happens to be the first with new vocalist U. Høst (ex-Taake). Black metal purists to the bone, Ragnarok subscribe to the better-raw-than-too-well-done, faster-than-your-sister school of thought also championed by the likes of Marduk and Impaled Nazarene. As such, finding truly distinguishing features among full-throttle crunch-fests such as "Heir to Darkness," "Kneel," and the spectacularly named "Bless Thee for Granting Me Pain" is about as futile as observing the sonic nuances made by a chainsaw. Slightly slower numbers like "Recreation of the Angel" and "Rites of Geburah" do reveal greater texture to their riffing arrangements, however, therefore shedding light on the methods behind the band's madness. Demonically inspired lyrics are of course the order of the day, but with guitars, bass, and blastbeat percussion piled on this thick, it's a good thing Ragnarok took the time to transcribe them for our edification, nonsensical as they often become (e.g., "Abyss angel nobles the man giving wings/My bloody signature the devil's knight" -- huh?). But despite being slaves to these black metal genre trappings, Ragnarok find it in themselves to conjure at least two bona fide winners here, namely the title track, with its vertiginous speed-picking guitar runs, and the simply named "Murder," with its continually shifting tempos. All of which should prove just dandy to fans of unadorned black metal.

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