Neithan : Ragnarok: for over twenty years this band has been spawning its evil, and ‘Psychopathology’ is number eight by this pure Norwegian black metal band. Ragnarok is a band that throughout its entire career had their biggest enemy in the frequent line-up changes, especially once when original vocalist Thyme left the band, it was always a surprise to see who was behind the microphone. After HansFyrste’s departure (he is still in Svarttjern, no worries there) Jontho, the engine behind Ragnarok, decided to do the vocals from now on. And for bass player this album is his farewell since he will focus more on other projects, such as Nordjevel. Anyway, no matter what line-up changes will follow, at least the vocals are now secured. What is actually the most continuous thing, is that this album once more was recorded at the Endarker studio with Marduk’s Devo at the helm.
Since the last two albums Ragnarok was not so typical harsh Norwegian melody orientated, like in the past on their classic album ‘Blackdoor Miracle’ with Taake’s Hoest at the vocals. Since HansFyrste entered the line-up, their sound went more towards the massive Swedish sound, and so it will not be a surprised that Ragnarok on the new album sounds more towards the massive sound than to the harsh sound. It is quite a job for Jontho to follow up two distinctive black metal vocalists, Hoest and HansFyrste. Jonthro has a dark brutal voice, a bit like Mgla’s M., but is no match for two of the better singers in Norwegian black metal who manage to convey more darkness, aggression and most of all variation. On an entire album, I even think Jontho’s vocals becoming a bit too much of the same. Speaking of Mgla by the way: on some points there are some similarities (‘Where Dreams Go To Die’) but this album lacks that nihilist touch of the Polish masters.
Well, Ragnarok and ‘Psychopathology’: ‘Dominance & Submission’ has an overwhelmingly and catchy opening, a bit like Watain, and the tune is easy to pick up. Is this the album that will deal with the problem of predecessor ‘Malediction’? a good album in itself, but in time it did not stick because its lack of hits/catchy tunes. No: the opening is catchy, but the new album is a bit more brutal. But furthermore it is the same thing: no hits, like ‘Blackdoor Miracle’ and ‘Collectors Of The King’ did have ‘m. One by one no bad songs, but as a whole it also passes like a whole and that is where the difference lies between an album with good songs and a good album. Unfortunately, ‘Psychopathology’ cannot hold my attention for the complete duration.
Instrumentally the album is maybe just as good as the previous album, but the vocals are les and that explains the lower reward. That lower reward is also because I had more time to listen to the album, and that I got more time to let the album grow (or not), an “advantage” you hardly have as reviewer.