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RAGNAROK

Psychedelic/Space Rock • New Zealand


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Ragnarok biography
RAGNAROK was a New Zealand prog-rock band formed in Auckland in 1974. They released two albums; the first relatively successful, and the second not. Vocalist and writer Lea Maalfrid left after the first album. The balance of the band split up in 1977. Personnel for the first album entitled "Ragnarok": Lea Maalfrid (vocals), Andre Jayet Mellotron (Moog synthesizer, vocals), Ross Muir (bass guitar), Mark Jayet (drums), Ramon York (guitar effects, vocals). Personnel for the second album "Nooks": Ramon York (electric & acoustic guitars, vocals), Ross Muir (bass, synthesizer, vocals), Mark Jayet (drums, bass, acoustic guitar), André Jayet (Mellotron, Moog synthesizer, piano, Hammond, drums). Their music could be best described as classic mid-70's psychedelic prog rock. I heard them live back then doing originals and PINK FLOYD covers like "Us and Them".

As far as I know, neither album has been officially rereleased on CD, and due to the small volume of sales there aren't too many copies about. The first album has some great songs on it, and I would recommend it as well worth purchase. Lea Maalfrid had a brief early solo career, (inc opening for Joe Cocker on a New Zealand tour, but no longer perform. She has been most successful as a songwriter in London, LA and Nashville, penning among others "You Could Have Been With Me" for Sheena Easton, and "Storm Warning" for Bonnie Raitt. In 2004 she released a very listenable 12 song album "Goddess of Love".

Recommended: "Ragnarok"

: : : Anton Nannestad, NEW ZEALAND : : :

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RagnarokRagnarok
Audio CD$28.30
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Collectors of The KingsCollectors of The Kings
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101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$58.18
MaledictionMalediction
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Ais 2012
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The End Records / Regain 2004
Audio CD$35.00
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Head Not Found N'way 2006
Audio CD$41.88
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NattferdNattferd
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Head Not Found N'way 2004
Audio CD$39.35
$39.34 (used)
In Nomine SatanasIn Nomine Satanas
Regain Records 2008
Audio CD$33.28 (used)
Diabolical AgeDiabolical Age
Import
Head Not Found N'way 2006
Audio CD$59.59 (used)
Fjarilar I MagenFjarilar I Magen
Import
Disk Union Japan 2011
Audio CD$28.90
$50.10 (used)
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RAGNAROK discography


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

3.21 | 23 ratings
Ragnarok
1975
3.71 | 23 ratings
Nooks
1976

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

4.05 | 3 ratings
Live In New Zealand
1977

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RAGNAROK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by VOTOMS

2 stars There's a lot of folk, viking, metal and even electronic music bands and songs called Ragnarok or Valhalla. There are two Ragnaroks into progarchives. This Ragnarok is older than the most of the Ragnaroks around here. I will stop saying Ragnarok.

This is deir debut album. And the only one I have. I tried to get into this album, but I could not. I like the first track, Goodbye Copenhagen. But this album is uncatchy for me. I don't like the female vocals. It have some folk parts. But it's a pink floydish atmospheric psych. They aren't a bad band, but listening to this album I felt a lack of personality.

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 Nooks by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 23 ratings

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Nooks
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Ragnarok is one of the few bands to come out of New Zealand in the 70's, they are a 4 piece band, where two of them plays the synths, so you can imagine their sound, said that this is not keys dominated sound like ELP, the band incorporates acoustic guitars and electric synth guitar too, so this is pretty diverse sounding. Although listed here as psychedelic this is quite symphonic at times, it's not space rock with slow rhythms but fairly rocky with upbeat rhythms pretty often. Their music often resembles Pink Floyd and some Hawkwind too, but they definitely have their own twist. The band's relying heavily on their synths and mellotron arsenal and provides some delicious textures and some beautiful psychedelic tones. Vocals are also good and have a rich sound since they all sing, and when they are not singing like Pink Floyd they are quite spacey. Bass and drums are great especially the drums having a good sound, the playing is tight and very focused. Sound quality is very good and i really like their style, but i can't help but think this could have been better, some songs are fine just the way they are, but some does not lift where they should, leaving a few tracks fairly mediocare.

'Five New years' is the opener, it's a melancholic song filled with analog synths and nice vocals, but it doesn't really holds anything more, except for that cool sounding. 'Waterfall - Capt. Fogg' is actually two different songs, it starts out quite nicely and then gets more serious and intense, i like that, all the band members contribute to the intricate rhythm, very good guitars, and excellent drums and bass, after they are done with that, nothing is stoping them to go to a completely different song within the same one, it changes to no less but a bluesy hoochie coochie song with fuzzy guitars and a fast rhythm, some would say this is out of place but i seem to like it. 'Fourteenth Knock' is an instrumental and maybe my favorite, it's spacey and have quite a fusiony feel, very cool bass line and spacey synths, very notable are the drums holding a good rhythm with the addition of percussions, superb stuff. 'Paths of Reminiscence' seems like it was inspired by the acoustic songs from Ummagumma, it doesn't really fit well with the rest of the album. 'The Volsung' is good getting intense towards the end incorporating a cool switching sounds solo on the synth guitar. 'Semolina' is a ballad lying on their good vocals but it actually fails to reach anywhere. 'Nooks' is another instrumental and maybe suppose to be the album's most ambitious track, as it goes by a few different moods, from spacey to more intense sounding to symphonic, the playing is great and there are some fine moments but again it doesn't rise to greater hights or nail you while you are waiting for it.

Nooks is a good album that suffers from a mediocare songwriting at times, the band have all the right ingredients to make it, and produce a better album, and i wish they have. Although there are plenty of synths, this should appeal to a wider audience since there's a lot more going on. Having said all that, this is still worth checking out. 3.4 to be exact.

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 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Auckland-based short lived act from New Zealand,formed in 1974 by three members of the disbanded Sweet Feet: bassist Ross Muir,keyboardist Andre Jayet and drummer Mark Jayet,all coming from the city of Christchurch.With guitarist Ramon York and female vocalist Lea Maalfrid joining they soon built a great fame and toured extensively around the country.By summer of 75' the band recorded their self-titled LP,released on Revolution.

The style comes as a cross between ELOY's spaceness,PINK FLOYD's psychedelic face and BABE RUTH's Hard Prog style with a few TANGERINE DREAM-like Electronic beats added.And while all members contribute on the decent vocals of the album,it's the star of Maalfrid which really shines with her powerful,slightly hoarse chords,not unlike Jennie Haan of BABE RUTH.The album is characterized by the slow-tempo compositions,based on the strong,psychedelic use of synthesizers and the heavy guitars all over,often wrapped under orchestral-like arrangements.Notice also the great use of mellotron on most of the tracks,nicely blended with the background synths.Not all the album is based on the singing talent of Ragnarok's members,as a couple of tracks are all instrumental with an evident leaning towards more Electronic musicianship in the style of CYBOTRON,blended with Space Rock passages.However the lack of flexibility and the similarities of the style among the tracks prevents the album to make a huge impact.

If you are a dedicated fan of the aforementioned bands,Ragnarok is definitely your thing.Good musicianship,based on orchestral mellotron, psychedelic synths, doomy guitars and some great vocal lines.Recommended.

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 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by dawning_horn

4 stars Ragnarok Review

What can I say? Classic Progressive Rock from New Zealand in the 1970s. The first album (self titled) is a real gem, and, even today after nearly 40 yrs of listening, I consider it an all time favourite album from ANY artist in the prog rock genre.. Why? well, its not particularly complicated in terms of say, 'Yes' technicality or 'Crimson' wierdness, but the synergy of the band and its instrumentation as it paints and weaves through the album puts me in what i call my 'dharma place' : that place where I am free from desire and fear and am just experiencing pure bliss.

Lee Maalfrid's Vocals are superb: she was undisputably the best female vocalist in Aotearoa at the time, as well as a very fine songwriter. She is Boudicca and Medusa all rolled into one as she moans and cajolls her people with a warning in 'Fire In The Sky'. In 'Caviar Queen' she 'has 'ridden over mountains and men for ages and ages gone by' and ' the earth does indeed tremble when she sighs...fantastic lyrics and a guitar riff that even now, is technically well crafted as it sours over the chorus. The instrumental tracks like 'Rainbow Bridge' and 'Dream Sequence' are great for the m p3 player at any time, but especially for just chilling at home.

Awesome.

Limited remastered CDs are available through the keyboard player in the band (yes..Andre Jayet, original member) and there was talk of a possible reunion albeit, w/o Maalfrid.

'Nooks is another masterpiece from 1976. I saw the band do a support gig for Jan Hammer and Jeff Beck and quite frankly, they blew the latter band off the stage. Needless to say i went straight to the shop to buy Nooks the next day! (yes people..I have an original Vinyl copy of Nooks, as well the original Cassette of Ragnarok, and now, the remastered CDs as well.)

The Title track on Nooks, is a masterful instrumental that will take you higher and higher into prog heaven, finally unwinding you and leaving you in a state of new consciousness. 'The Volsung' is a story of the Vikings..the track starts with the sound of the sea and you can hear a ship on the tide....then the intro of accoustic guitar and a wailing vocal..the story is told '...our ships sailed....past ice shores and snow covered fur trees......cast a last look to our fatherland..swift long ships heading for the open sea...sword and shield emblazened by the sun...Thor grant us the wish to die like men...warriers voices raised in songs of war..."' you can almost TOUCH the Runes around the crew's necks!!

These guys are great and know exactly what they are doing....both albums have helped create a solid foundation of prog consciousness.

Both fine albums aren't for just collecting. They are keys for Your Assension..................

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 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have their two studio albums and the live one. This is my least favourite, mostly because of the female singer who's vocals i'm just not a fan of.

This is mellotron heaven though and that's what makes it so good along with the tracks i'm familiar with from their live release. Interesting that those songs feature male vocals. "Butterfly Sky" is a dreamy, melancholic tune with lots of mellotron and those laid back male vocals. Great tune. "Rainbow Bridge" is another highlight. It's very mellow to start. Male vocals after 4 minutes.This sounds so beautiful.The vocals become more passionate 5 1/2 minutes in. "Raga" is the other highlight for me.

I love the style of music this band from New Zealand plays and if you can get your hands on their "Nooks" album or the live one you will be impressed i'm sure.This one is good but the female vocals bring down the rating for me. 3.5 stars.

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 Live In New Zealand by RAGNAROK album cover Live, 1977
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Live In New Zealand
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On the back cover it says "Live in New Zealand November 24th 1976".The vocalist also mentions between songs that their new record("Nooks") would be released in 2 weeks. I would loved to have been at this concert with all this spacey, drifting music laden with mellotron. What we have here is 3 songs from their debut record,with the last 3 songs being covers.

"Raga" begins with faint guitar sounds and synths before cymbals and mellotron arrive. It slowly builds.Waves of mellotron after 3 minutes along with a pleasant beat. Guitar gently plays in this laid back tune. "Butterfly Sky" is such a good track with lots of synths and mellotron as the drums slowly beat. Vocals come in early. The soundscape is dreamy and the vocals are sleepy. Some beautiful guitar after 3 minutes. "Rainbow Bridge" opens with synths as the sound builds with guitar and drums. A mellotron storm blows in. It calms right down 2 1/2 minutes in as fragile vocals come in. Just a gorgeous sound as the mellotron flows. Bass and drums come in as the sound starts to build again. Vocals are sung with passion after 3 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up a minute later with synths in tow. A drum/bass melody leads the way for a couple of minutes when guitar joins in. After 8 minutes it's pretty much the drummer playing around with no real melody right to the end of the song.

"I Fall Apart" is a Rory Gallagher song. There is no mellotron in this one. The song is so sad and beautiful. Gentle guitar as vocals, bass and light drums come in. A tasteful guitar solo follows, and it is so heavenly. Great sound 4 minutes in. "Pink Floyd Medley" is next. They cover the last 4 songs of "Dark Side Of The Moon" beginning with "Us And Them". They are very faithful to the originals with the difference being that "Us And Them" is drenched in mellotron ! Very cool. These guys do an outstanding job with this including the guitar work. The final track is a cover of "Whole Lotta Love" made famous by LED ZEPPELIN of course. My first thoughts when hearing this is who the heck are these guys ? It doesn't sound like the same band ! The heavy guitar, the loud and rough vocals. Unreal. They even do the experimental sounds section to perfection. This band is amazing and yes they can rock with the best of them if they want to. Check out the freaking guitar solo 7 minutes in !

A nice little snap shot of how great this band was in a live setting.

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 Nooks by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 23 ratings

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Nooks
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This music is as lush as the New Zealand countryside where these guys are from. Two of the band members play synths, with another playing synth-guitar. Not only that,this is drenched with mellotron. By the way all four of these guys sing so we do get some layered vocals as well.

"Five New Years" is such a laid back,dreamy tune. Very melodic with calming vocals. Loads of synths with drums and bass in the background. Check out the mellotron 3 minutes in.The vocal arrangements that follow are very cool. "Waterfall-Capt.Fagg" is really two songs,although the "Capt.Fagg" section near the end is only a couple of minutes long. The song opens with synth-guitar as vocals and a storm of mellotron follow. I'm in love. Haha. This is so uplifting and beautiful. Amazing sound. We get some bottom end 1 1/2 minutes in before mellotron waves return. Multi-vocals with a more uptempo section including guitar. Mellotron is back and i'm just drifting in a sea of bliss right now. Incredible. Back to the vocals and that catchy drum led section.The song changes completely to "Capt.Fagg" 4 1/2 minutes in. This is silly with bizarre lyrics. It's fun though with some raw guitar. Back to the floating soundscape before 6 minutes with mellotron to end it. "Fourteenth Knock" is an instrumental that opens with sounds from outerspace. Or so it would seem. These sounds swirl as a drum and bass rhythm slowly builds out of this cosmic soundscape that continues. The synths become prominant 3 minutes in. The song ends with the sound of a plane diving at a high speed, then broken glass, then the toilet flushing. Haha.

"Paths Of Reminiscence" is the only song without mellotron. It's a folk song with acoustic guitar and reserved multi-vocals. It ends with spacey sounds. The Volsung opens with the sound of a boat creaking,seagulls and waves. Acoustic guitar and vocals come in with synths. Drums and very deep vocal melodies follow. Vocals come back and everything sounds fuller. The vocals are so good. Mellotron before 5 minutes as the guitar tastefully plays. "Semolina" really sounds like a mellow 60's song with lots of mellotron in the background. "Nooks" is the longest song and the second instrumental featured on this album. Spacey synths with mellotron lead the way as light drums come in. The drums get louder 2 minutes in as the song just keeps getting better. The spacey waves end 2 1/2 minutes in. Some aggressive guitar with drums(which are all over the place) dominate 4 minutes in. It lightens 5 minutes in with lots of synths to the end.

After 2 spins I felt this was very overated and didn't really like it. Well after 7 listens I absolutely love it. Highly recommended by yours truly.

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 Nooks by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 23 ratings

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Nooks
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Ragnarok supposedly started out as a Pink Floyd tribute group, but by the time of this 1976 album they were very much their own band, incorporating progressive influences of the time into a big spacey symphonic style with a subtle whiff of the pagan about it.

The opening song, "Five New Years" , is one of the strongest, and sets the pattern with the mellotron and synthesizer attack and the ponderous lyrics. The melody here and elsewhere is strong, but the atmosphere is the band's real strength, and they really lay it on thick. Next is the stunning "Waterfall/Captain Fagg". The first part begins with the incredibly silly line about the waterfall being at one with the river, yet it sticks. Then more cosmic interventions and a worthy showing on vocals, guitars and bass. We think we know where it's heading, but suddenly the band veers 180 degrees into the boogie of "Capt Fagg". It's even more preposterous than the gestalt waterfall, but it works even better. The impact is all the greater because it is totally unlike anything else on the album.

From here, "Fourteenth Knock" is a workout for drums and bass until the moogs carry the day, again very melodically. To change the pace, "Paths of Reminiscence" is an acoustic affair and the first indication of any sort of a mystical folky affectation. "The Volsung" evokes druids and other mythic woodland life even more, and is another personal favourite, eerie and tuneful.

If you like graceful space rock with plenty of analog keyboards, and can find this rare recording, do not hesitate to pick it up.

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 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A fried of mine had a copy of this (hi Glenn) and I guess I must have heard it half a dozen times on his stereo. I'd love to find a copy somewhere.

I loved the opening track, 'Fenris', a real burner, and I also remember 'Rainbow Bridge' with fondness. I wasn't a fan of female vocalists, but Lea Maalfrid was excellent. Overall the music fitted comfortably into the Floydish groove, harking back to the late 60s and early 70s. Competent, enjoyable, with nothing that really grabbed me. I wonder what I'd think now, 30 years later?

Do you know, I never realised this was a Kiwi band?

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 Ragnarok by RAGNAROK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.21 | 23 ratings

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Ragnarok
Ragnarok Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by onzmusic

4 stars Being a member of the band it is hard to be unbiased when it comes to previews. But I have to say that the raw energy of this album, along with Lea Maalfrid's vocal, is more representative of what Ragnarok (NZ) was. We, as a band, had an intense and wonderful time creating the music for this album. There were many influences from other bands and this mix, along with our own ideas, made up the substance of the music we recorded. CHEERS

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