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Ragnarök - Ragnarök CD (album) cover

RAGNARÖK

Ragnarök

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ragnarök's eponymous debut album is a lovely expression of how serenity and melancholy can work together as effective sources of inspiration and motivation for exquisite music with a deep artsy drive. This is progressive music divided between the pastoral folk-rock and the soft jazz tendencies that the ensemble handles equally well. The splendor of Ragnarök is not in the fireworks, but in the sparks, which provide a consistent illumination through their sift brightness. 'Farvel Köpenhamm' kicks off the album with a delicious set of harmonic sequences driven by multiple acoustic guitars, tastefully complemented with minimal guitar layers. The pastoral vibe is well accomplished, with a clever use of serene moods. 'Promenader' remains in evocative realms, though the sound is fuller due to the use of electric guitars in the track's core development: the slow pace and the guitars' main bluesy undertones make the track stay solid on a jazz-oriented sort of melodic prog. The plain pastoral factor returns quite enthusiastically with 'Nybakat Bröd', again featuring multiple acoustic guitars and also, in this case, a well ordained flute duet. 'Dagarnas Skum' sets a compromise between both areas, with a slight predominance of jazzy moods: picture a Hansson-inspired drive for the intimate side of early Pink Floyd, plus some touches of Focus' romantic side, and you might as well get close to the sonic source from which the guys of Ragnarök come from and elaborate their own trend. Being the longest track in the album, it will also serve as a provider of wider explorations for the band's general contemplative stance. 'Polska fran Kalmar' is a joyful flute solo piece that operates as a prelude to 'Fabriksfunky', a lovely refurbishment of the sort of slow stuff you can expect from a Weather Report or Brand-X album, only delivered through an ambience shaped with a more developed intimacy. The calculated aggressive flute lines that emerge at place hint at the Van Leer influence. 'Tatanga Mani' has a first half occupied by an acoustic guitar solo, which eventually leads to a bucolic treatment of soft fusion undertones for the second half: Akkerman used to bring some fusion vibrations to half of Focus' acoustic material, so this reference will help the reader to envision the sort of mood comprised here. 'Fjiottot' is a brief, joyful interlude based on a light-spirited sequence of electric piano chords on a Charleston tempo. It is followed by a more solemn piece, 'Stiltie - Uppbrott', which starts with a short intro of soaring grand piano chords, soon evolving into a pastoral motif featuring flute and acoustic guitar. The closing passage brings an unexpected, yet effective Rnaissance-inspired adornment. After this portrait of serenity, the album ends on a melancholic note with 'Vattenpussar'. The marriage of electric piano and picked electric guitar in the intro section very much reflects the feel of water drops softly gathering to form a pool: once the whole ensemble settles in, the main body shows a fluid combination of slow jazz and pastoral. A beautiful ending for such a beautiful album - if prog has a genuine intimate facet among its peculiarly multicolored spectrum, Ragnarök has to be a definitive champion band of that aforesaid facet.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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