Listening to RAGNAROK's "Collectors of the King", one would be hard pressed to think of a description other than traditional Norwegian black metal. Oh, I suppose if one wanted to be a pain in the ass and stand firm with only "true Norwegian black metal," referencing the likes of MAYHEM, a vigorous debate might ensue. Regardless, as far as speed-addled, minor note harmonized, and frill-free Norwegian black metal is concerned, "Collectors of the King" is a pretty good representation of the style.Not as unchanging as, for example, Sweden's DARK FUNERAL, "Collectors of the King" mostly stays the course of the fast and the furious with only limited regard for major pace changes and compositional variation. The assessment is a relative one though in that the BM guitar melodies are often quite good and while variety may not be the spice of RAGNAROK's life, there is enough in the way of accent and alteration to keep the affair at least moderately engaging from start to finish. "Stabbed by the Horns" and "The Ancient Crown of Glory" succeed exactly because they are traditional, fire throwing numbers with effective melody lines woven into the hellish fabric, while the title track features a notably nefarious twist in the main riff. The shifts between brutal crush, impacting melody, and steady gallop are some of the primary reasons that "May Madness Hunt You Down" gets the nod for most industriously arranged cut. Beyond all the hair splitting, "Collectors of the King" is a ferocious Norwegian black metal album that concerns itself not with reinvention or haughty progression, but instead an onslaught that is merciless, yet not forgettable. I do seem to recall the songwriting on "Blackdoor Miracle" to be a bit more memorable. Then again, we're talking somewhere around six years ago, so memory decay is a distinct possibility. Not essential, but unquestionably worth the time for fans of the black stuff.
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