Collectors of The King is the sixth full-length album of Ragnarok; the long running proprietors of Black Metal. With yet another solid release, it is clear that they are still the successors of Black Metal since they have started back in 1994. This release may just display more of the band and finally unveil their primitive ideas from the shadows, for the rest of the world to see.
I'm sure you have heard of Immortal, Gorgoroth, Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, etc.. and still may not have heard of Ragnarok. I don't blame you. Despite the overwhelming popularity of many other Black Metal bands in Norway, Ragnarok managed to remain pure, refined and unclouded from the midst of the controversial affairs and general trends. They remind me of another band from Norway called Windir. They possess some of the most extraordinary albums in Black Metal, still, they walked unnoticed. Even till the end. (They have disbanded in 2004 due to the passing of their vocalist Valfar - RIP)
If someone were to ask me just what the hell Black Metal is... I would tell them to listen to Ragnarok. They will map it out for you, they define the whole genre and the full atmosphere of what Black Metal is all about. Just pure Black Metal from start to finish, no strings attached. They've always kept it that way since their first release (though they've had a little bit of Viking influences earlier on) and it doesn't look like there's any cause of interception anytime soon.
Jontho; their drummer is currently the only original member of the band. Luckily, he was able to find the right musicians to help Ragnarok get back on that same path it was heading, attaining the same vibe and sound of old Ragnarok. Much respect to him for that and for not letting the band die too easily. And I must admit he is pretty insane on the drums and he certainly made a good effort in choosing the new vocalist – HansFyrste.
The execution of the new raspy vocals, not bad. It doesn't offer much. Thyme (very first vocalist) still has the most evil and convincing screams I would say... but it sounds 'grim and frostbitten' enough to make the album great. The guitars are common chord progressions for Black Metal. If you listen closely, some riffs do tend to get a bit melodic and you hear a little more depth to it. But his album is all about speed and as raw as it can get. Two songs start out slow but the pace progresses to a faster tempo with the rest of the album.
This album is filled with blistering speed. It is catchy, powerful, pure and raw. Not old school kind of raw because the production is too sophisticated in comparison, but it has remnants of old. Yes, that's precisely it. Ragnarok is a reminder of good ole Black Metal and this album compels you to observe the past and present stages of Black Metal. How Black Metal evolved. Did I mention Ragnarok is way too under rated.