Genre: black metal
The most notorious black metal scene is probably the Norwegian one. I am not thinking in terms of the criminal acts it got associated with back in the 1990s, but in terms of the bands it spawned, ranging from the gritty and dirty raw black metal bands over the totally bleak ones and the avant-garde ones to the grandiose and symphonic ones.
Hailed as one of the most extreme black metal bands out there, Ragnarok has a history of regular line-up changes, but on their latest effort "Malediction", they deliver the goods. The music is intense and hateful, the way black metal should be. It is full of blastbeats and tremolo-picking, accompanied by harsh vocals. But at the same time, it is strangely melodic.
Several of the guitar figures are harmonic and inherently melodic. This stands in an interesting contrast to the harshness and aggressive nature that does dominate the music after all. But it also makes the album quite accessible in comparison to a lot of the other black metal releases that are out there. Another ingredient in the accessibility of the album is the production which, while not polished, is crisp and well-defined.
An album driven by aggression and hatefulness, but yet melodic and accessible, Ragnarok's "Malediction" is is recommended to both hardcore and casual black metal fans.