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RAGNARÖK

Prog Folk • Sweden


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Ragnarök biography
Not to be confused with the New Zealand symphonic prog group from those very same years (that should belong in the site soon) or the Heavy Metal unit from the 80-90's, these Swedes managed four albums on Silence Record and some more (not listed here) in the early 90's. They are a typical example of atmospheric and melancholic prog like only Sweden can produce them. Their first album is a real classic known as a minor classic among progheads and they will participate to another group (KUNG TUNG - much harder) before doing their second album where those influences from that group will leave a mark. It is reputed to be as good as their debut. The later albums listed here remain of a good standard. Among the non-listed albums is "Well"(91) and is rather new age and sometimes industrial - not much to do with the earlier works.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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RAGNARÖK discography


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RAGNARÖK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 89 ratings
Ragnarök
1977
3.37 | 19 ratings
Fjärilar I Magen
1980
3.15 | 8 ratings
Fata Morgana
1981
3.67 | 3 ratings
3 Signs
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
Well
1991
3.62 | 11 ratings
Path
2008

RAGNARÖK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Tokyo
2012

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RAGNARÖK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Perhaps this is not more folk than Kaipa, Änglagård or Atlas but it is sweat symphonic music with wonderful acoustic guitars. Ragnarök's debut album from 1976(not 77) feasts the listener a very melodic and nice meal with a lot of qualitites. A fantastic thing about this band is that it comes from Kalmar, a pretty city I've lived in for two years when I was a teenager, and also my mothers birth city(and a place I'm going to tomorrow). The name of the band, "Ragnarök" is from the nordic religion "Asatron" where "Ragnarök" is a future happening when a last fight between giants and men is going to take place and the world will fall apart, to rise up again as a new world with new gods and men.

Not a single minute is abd or boring on this record but sometimes are better than others. The first track "Farvel København" (Farewell Copenhagen/Farväl Köpenhamn) (10/10) manages to show us magnificent acoustic guitar play. I can honestly say that Ragnarök's guitars are better than many good prog band's guitars. "Nybakat bröd" (newly baked bread) (10/10) is the other faultless track here, a funny, honest and wonderful melody played on flute and guitar with a jazzy touch in the middle. "Promenader" (Strolls) (9/10) has a jazzy feeling of the seventies that is wonderful in guitar and piano. "Stiltje - uppbrott" (Lull - Decampment) (9/10) is another magnificent track which first grows calmly to explode in the end, allways with skillfully played instruments. Amongst the other tracks "Dagarnas skum" (8/10) a longer, experimenting piece, "Polska från Kalmar" (8/10) a short folk song played on flute and "Fabriksfunky" (8/10), a rich musical world with a unique melody, are worth naming.

When listening to progressive rock I'm often in heaven, and Ragnarök's music is candy for my ears. But I wouln't consider it a masterpiece. If they had done longer, more advanced compositions, perhaps with vocals, it could have come closer, or just fail. Four stars is my not so surprising statement.

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 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by BORA

5 stars One of the most intelligent and enchanting works I've heard in a long time.

A large percentage of Scandinavian Prog contains Folk elements. In all honesty, I have little interest in Folk and due to that, until now, this band has eluded my attention. Little I realized that the Folk tag is perhaps incorrectly applied here.

True, there are some very tasteful pastoral passages on acoustic guitar and flutes, but in reality, the whole album has little - if anything - to do with Folk. No more than, say "Ummagumma" by Pink Floyd.

Indeed, the music sounds like early 70's Pink Floyd meet early Camel, Jade Warrior with a brief appearance by Ian Anderson. Melodic compositions enhanced by laid back bass and a slight jazzy touch on electric piano. No sign off stress, scorching guitar runs, but captivating, gentle pieces. That however, doesn't result in a boring New Age material. Not at all, but in a fine balance between thoughtful, meandering compositions and skillfully restrained, brilliant musicianship. Just superb!

An absolute masterpiece? Perhaps not quite, but more like a "missing link" that was worth the long wait. Considering the pleasure I derived from five(!) consequtive spins, I can't go under 5 stars here. A must have for any connoisseur of that era in the 70's.

.

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 Fata Morgana by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.15 | 8 ratings

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Fata Morgana
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars really

Fata Morgana from 1981 is their third album and to me is better then previous one in any aspect. Little more jazzier and with more intresting moments, Fata morgana in places have some experimental art rock parts almost gone towards avant prog to my ears. Not bad , specially the 4 pieces of the A side are pretty intresing. Not very much to add, just that Ragnarok didn't manage to capture the auditorium as they wanted, releasing some more albums later but gone almost unnoticed. Fata morgana stands a as good album for sure, but aswell like previous album, no groundbreaking moments here. 3 stars maybe 3.5 for some arrangements.

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 Fjärilar I Magen by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.37 | 19 ratings

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Fjärilar I Magen
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ragnarok from Sweden is a little known progressive rock band from late '70s, with minor succes at the public back then as now. Their second album from 1979 named Fjärilar I Magen released on CD only as far as I know on Tachika Record label as mini Lp sleeve is a quite odd album to my ears, but in a good way I can say. Ragnarok offers a kind of folk moments combined with jazz fusion elements all constructed on progressive atmosphere. Well, at first listning I was kinda surprise what I've hered, is quite diffrent from their debute who was more calmer and with a more pastoral feel, this one is from the beggining more edgy like on opening track Adrenalin, a short tune with pumping bass lines and with a crimsonesque atmosphere. Overall all pieces are ok, Var glad var dag! is another highlit, biggining slowly and mellow and then all musicians simply burst in some almost great arrangements with sax and guitar leading. All album is instrumental. So all in all decent, but I can say I was very impressed , really. 3 stars for sure, no mere no less.

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 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars If you were transported by GOTIC's "Escenes", or enjoyed the less ambient peak period JADE WARRIOR releases, you might find this respected early entry for Swedish prog folk to be a soul mate. Personally, while I find it a pleasant enough listen, I can't get too excited about any of it. It seems to have more in common with the 80s new age to come than to much of its 70s brethren, people like SCOTT COSSU and ALEX DE GRASSI.

The best by far are the opener, which channels the group's obsessively chill vibe into a coherent composition, not to mention the densest acoustic guitar licks to be found here; and the relatively lively "Nybakat Bröd" in which the airy flutes are most prominent above the spring like acoustic backdrop. Most of the rest appears mired in a funk of its own choosing, groovy enough to be sure, but hardly of more than background interest given the intervening years. The lack of memorable melodies might work in a fully jazz oriented work but in a folk context is anathema. The imposing end sections of the final two tracks do crank up the appeal, if only because they remind me I am actually listening to something.

While Ragnarok's debut is a legitimate historical document and clearly appeals to more than just archivists, as a musical journey I find it sorely lacking. Your mileage may of course vary. 2.5 stars rounded down.

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 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by historian9
Forum & Site Admin Group Site Admin / JRF Team

4 stars Makes you want to live in that front cover.

Unfortunatley, the dilemma of giving this album 4 or 5 stars was quickly decided after the first half, it just didn't grab me like at the start although listening all tracks in order is highly recommended. Later tracks like "Fabriksfunky" and "Tatanga Mani" are more jazz oriented and this being a very backrgoundish or ambient kind of album doesn't help and they tend be a bit of a bore for me. On the other side of things when folky parts kick in with flutes or acoustic guitars it's great and sometimes very pastoral atmospheric in an floydian way, "Dagarnas Skum" is an example of this and a beautiful track.

You could call this very lightweight music, in the sense I sometimes use to describe stuff by CAMEL, very easy on the ear but I see how some might find it boring for being too mellow.

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 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've been drawn to this album cover from the first time I saw it. I didn't know though until I got the album that the dark sky at the top wasn't the night coming but it's actually pollution floating across the sky. RAGNAROK are an all instrumental Swedish Folk band, and this is their debut from 1977.The music here is so tasteful and beautiful, and much like the album cover once you experience it for the first time you will be hooked.

"Goodbye Copenhagen" is led by acoustic guitar melodies throughout. Beautiful song. "Walks" opens with keys and bass as gentle guitar joins in. Electric guitar and drums before a minute then we get this CAMEL flavour. Themes are repeated. "Freshbaked Bread" is led by acoustic guitar and flute throughout. "Foam Of The Days" is by far the longest track at over 8 minutes. It's pastoral to start with intricate guitar. Flute then keys join in. A fuller sound after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice. This is simply gorgeous. "Reel From Kalmer" is a very short flute piece.

"Factoryfunk" has to be a reference to the factory on the back cover of the album where all the pollution is coming from. Intricate drumming and guitar on this great sounding track. "Tatanga Mani" opens with acoustic guitar then it starts to build as flute and bass arrive. "Fiottot" has a good rhythm to it. "Calm-Breaking Up" opens with piano then this beautiful flute / acoustic guitar melodiy takes over. "Pools Of Water" opens with laid back keyboards. Drums and a fuller sound after 1 1/2 minutes. Sax a minute after that. Back to the keyboards to end it.

Easily 4 stars and one of the best Prog-Folk albums I have heard.

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 Path by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.62 | 11 ratings

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Path
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by Thierry

3 stars Do not confuse this band with the New Zealand symphonic prog group or the heavy metal outfit from the 80-90's! Those Swedish people belong to the first period of the Swedish Progressive wave during the 70's. The band vanished in the 80's but the leader Peter Bryngelsson could be heard in various groups (Triangulus, Urban Turban?) or as a solo artist. Ragnarök reformed in 1991 and published "Well", an unnoticed opus at that time. So, one could pretend that the real return of our Swedish musicians occurs now. The line-up is complete and even the original engineer Anders Lind answered the call. What a welcome return! They are a typical example of atmospheric and melancholic prog made in Sweden. Their first albums (four were published) are real classics among prog heads. "Fjärilar I Magen", the second one, is a gem. I remember finding this album in a second hand record shop in Lyon, when prog was underground, much more than now since no CD reissues and no online vendors existed. A diehard Crimso lover, I was seduced by this album and its blend of fragility with power, ethereal atmospheres with nervous guitar parts, plus some folk influences and great effects. Yes, the first era of King Crimson but without the mellotron. It was one those rarities I often played during my first radio shows. "Path" includes eight delicate instrumental tracks, essentially based on the acoustic and electric guitars. For sure this album is not the masterpiece I was waiting for (I am a bit too nostalgic, I know). But there are some great moments though. So I recommend it.

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 Ragnarök by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.01 | 89 ratings

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Ragnarök
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by bov

5 stars The album starts of with the acoustic "Farväl Köpenhamn", a pleasant and easy-listened opener, that sets the standard for the rest of the record. Next out is "Promenader", a mellow tune that reminds us about the, in reviews of other Scandinavian prog, so often mentioned "Scandinavian melancholy". The song leaves you waiting for it to really take off, either in a positive or a dark, aggressive way. But it doesn't, and in the end I'm glad it didn't. After this comes the acoustic "Nybakat bröd", that introduces a nicely played flute and some vocal madness in the end. After this warmup of sorts, it is time for the album highlight, "Dagarnas skum". The song progresses slowly over a repetitive, yet enjoyable background pattern, always maintaining a nice dreaminess that lasts . A couple of minutes into the song, it enters a groovy jamlike state. Segments of guitar and flute alternate and provide to the song's beauty, while never getting over-ambitious or pretentious and always keeping the mellow feeling. The first side of the vinyl ends with a short flute-piece called "Polska från Kalmar". "Polska" is an old folk dance, often performed in complex time signature. On the second side, we're offered a little (tiny, really) bit happier chords in the funk-jazzy "Fabriksfunky". In "Tatanga Mani", we're yet again approached by a calm acoustic guitar solo, before the song gains just a little bit of momentum with some groovy basslines and pleasurable flute playing. An uplifting interlude comes next. "Fiottot" reminds me about circus music which, for some reason, often seems to be used by Swedish proggers (think Samla Mammas Manna and Änglagård). Maybe I'm taking the whole melancholy thing too far and making the record sound depressive, still I can't but think that this short interlude is some kind of self-knowledgable joke on theirselves, as the interlude seems to be overly optimistic. "Stiltje-Uppbrott" is beautiful and perfectly in vein with the rest of the album. Once more, this song is dominated by acoustic guitar and flute, though a nice piano intro can be heard. The album is rounded off by yet another beautiful and calm (who's surprised?) song. Dreamy and with a smooth jazzy feeling, it segues from a piano intro into a midsection jam, only to introduce some wonderfully dissonant tones of saxophone before slowly coming to an end.

All in all, the album is easy-listenable, yet both sad and beautiful. Looking (hearing?) back, I realise that only "Dagarnas skum" made me really thrilled. But then again, every single note on the album just seemed to be just where it was meant to. I'm thinking that this is what it would sound like if one were to musically describe a world in which there is always autumn. The album takes you away on a dreamy journey from the first second and doesn't release you until the last tone is played.

This is one highly recommended portion of Scandinavian melancholy. 4.5 stars really...

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 Path by RAGNARÖK album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.62 | 11 ratings

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Path
Ragnarök Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Interesting album from this veteran Swedish act, issued some 36 years after the band formed and 17 years after their prior release if I got my history right.

The 8 compositions on this creation have several similarities; of which the most common is the extensive use of undistorted and acoustic guitars in multiple layers. Three layers of guitars aren't uncommon; and it may even be more in segments too; although the ears could be deceiving in that.

Two basic styles are explored here. The first of these is a calm, mellow form of rock where the aim seems to be the creation of captivating melody lines and strong atmosphere; with leanings towards folk music as well as jazz in style.

The second set of tunes are more psychedelic in nature; with musical elements coming and going, a strong feeling of improvisation and distinct psychedelic tendencies due to careful use of dissonances and disharmonies in the soundscape. On these creation the band are quite similar to acts like Öresund Space Collective; if ÖSC ever were to record an acoustic album I'd guess that the end result could be pretty similar to this one.

One for open-minded folk and jazz fans this release; and followers of psychedelic music of the more mellow variety should find this one interesting too.

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