Release DetailsLABEL Regain
RELEASED ON 2/20/2004
posted on 4/2004 By:
Ragnarok: The pre-ordained doom of the Gods, a battle in which the Nordic pantheon would meet their tragic destiny on the Vigrid plain, where the glorious dead would clash in an epic battle of fire and ice before the walls of mighty Asgard...
It’s quite a task to sound like the stomp of a thousand god-warriors as they charge toward the gaping maws of the apocalypse. Ragnarok certainly bestow an icy justice to their namesake. Blackdoor Miracle has all the makings of a traditional Black Metal release – freezing stormblasts, tremolo madness and the laments of necromantic bloodlust piercing the blackened skies. A traditional album armed with modern thinking.
To the sounds of the final battle, I listened with the ears of an enlightened outlander. Black Metal is not familiar ground for me and neither is it easy listening. My scant knowledge of Darkthrone, Immortal and Emperor would not help me here… but nor would it need to.
Had Blackdoor Miracle been released in the frozen wastes of Nordland circa 1991 it would have been met with the scorn of many a corpse-painted face. Ritual poor production is an interesting idea, but when it actually makes a band sound like crap, it’s useless. I don’t believe I need to remind anyone here of the aggravation one feels when they play Transylvanian Hunger at hellish volumes. Ragnarok maintain the tradition of slightly scrappy production but at the same time they make everything more audible.
Aaargh! Death to False Metal! Is what the (un)puritans of the Nordic blackhorde would have cried – for there are some unorthodox approaches on this album. Hints of thrash and death metal (Black Metal’s most hated cousin) entwined with sinister melodies bind together in a fist and give added strength and diversity to this blackened work.
The first half of the album stays rooted in the thunderous drums, guitar pandemonium and the subtle ice-veiled melodies of “True” Black Metal, I was not immediately impressed. It’s not until you reach the songs like “Recreation”, “Murder”, “Kneel” and the title track “Blackdoor Miracle” that you begin to witness the taint of necro-majesty in this one. These tracks mix with an old and new school mentality, classic Slayer-like riffs appear here and there and kick drums bludgeon with the fury of a death metal skinbasher. The most exceptional example of this style is in “Kneel” where native Black Metal styles are decked with primitive thrashing, shotgun samples and the skull-crushing ensemble of some truly intense drumming.
Ragnarok epitomize the open minded and forward thinking Black Metal band, they’ve fought their way into the 21st century while still holding to the blood-drenched legacy of the Nordic sound. A good purchase for veterans or new-bloods alike (provided you’re a patient listener).
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