Ragnarok - Collectors of the King
Regain Records
Black Metal
9 songs (38'40")
Release year: 2010
Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

As much as Ragnarok is a long-running Norwegian black metal institution, you can’t be blamed if you approach their 2010 release Collectors of the King with a touch of caution. The label remains the same (Regain Records), but outside of the drummer Jontho no other member from Blackdoor Miracle remains and it took no less than six years between the albums. Could this be a different band altogether? Obviously a different studio was used this time, so what about the sound? And, finally, has the attitude remained the same?

Pun aside, Collectors of the King does not see Ragnarok turning away from their Satan-worshipping blasphemic roots. To those who think the stance is getting a bit old, I am sure Norwegians will simply extend a firm middle finger, as in this album, having teamed up with the producer Magnus Devo Andersson (Marduk), Ragnarok still delves into their brand of traditional Norwegian black metal. Only now, and this is possibly a producer’s touch, the music is from time to time modernized into the Swedish Norsecore direction.

Bass punched up, tom hits rolling like giant boulders, Collectors of the King does employ significantly more blasting than Blackdoor Miracle. I would not be able to say that this latest effort is not guitar oriented, as the band still comes up with the riffs which burr permanently into the psyche (Burning the Earth). It is just the glorious horn-throwing melodies sometimes struggle to peek through the blasting barrage (Stabbed by the Horns). The exalting grind can evolve into the more centered melody, and the guitar shroud is often impervious, levitating, exciting, all-encompassing and leaving the mark, but some cuts are rather standard blast’n’grate (Eternal Damnation, Wisdom of Perfection) needing something extra to be elevated. Just like Burning the Earth is flame-breathing cohesive stubborn determination, Wisdom of Perfection is too much Marduk towards the end. Intensity pretty much non-stop until the quick transition in the middle of In Honour of Satan is fine, but interesting sideways atonal riffs propping the overwhelming wall of sound (May Madness Hunt You Down) are not regular finds on this album. Ragnarok is trying to diversify, wavering from Norsecore to bass solo to a quick rocking Khold moment on The Ancient Crown of Glory, but the sharp blade riffs struggle to situate themselves against the blast.

Nothing against the vocalist HansFyrste, it seems that Jontho has partnered with younger up-and-coming Norwegian black metal artists on this album, but he is no Hoest whose services Ragnarok had on Blackdoor Miracle. More madness with bewildering angry moments of word-spitting clarity is missing from the vocals on this album.

Quality work in principle, Collectors of the King alternates excitement with more average blah to be truly bestial. A little too bland in the riffing department, the album does not completely live up to the glory of the early days of Gorgoroth, Taake and Ragnarok themselves.

Killing Songs :
Burning the Earth, Collectors of the King, May Madness Hunt You Down
Alex quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Ragnarok that we have reviewed:
Ragnarok - Malediction reviewed by Charles and quoted 78 / 100
Ragnarok - Blackdoor Miracle reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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