Monday, April 17, 2017

Ragana : " You Take Nothing"

This two piece out of Oakland has returned with a moodier yet more feral vision of black metal mixed with crust. "To Leave" places more emphasis on atmosphere and ringing guitar melodies than the  more deliberate opener. They do blast off towards the end of the second song. One thing they have going for them is their songs are very concise and streamlined never feeling like bloated drones. The two longest songs are six and a half minutes.

These gals prove they are capable of hitting you with varied colors and tempos. Lyrically I had heard they were angry about the state of politics. This presented with a haze of metaphors rather than going the more punk route of shoving their bitching down your throat. There used to be more of a neo-folk element, that is gone though there are some clean vocals going into the song "Winter's Light". This is interrupted by a blast of black metal that races into the song.

I like the more sludged out melancholy of  "Destroyer". The vocals are screamed with even more menace here. Her delivery on the chorus is one of the more effective uses of harsh vocals that I have heard recently as the cadence still accents everything as needed. The guitar riff to the verse of "Somewhere" is more like indie rock. The way the vocals urgently plea against the riffs makes this one of the albums strongest songs. The album ends with the title track that is ominous and darker than most of the previous songs which already have a gray shroud over them. Vocally there is more of  crust calling out to the void. There is a little bit of a drone to this one , but it is effective as the song keeps moving and the change of the vocals toward the end really make a difference. I don't care about what inspired this album only that the song writing has really stepped up and even though it might not be as black metal as their earlier releases its quality songwriting that counts. I'll give it a 9.5 The vinyl version of this album is already sold out but you can buy the digital version on places like their Bandcamp.

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