If you’re looking for some grandiose yet rude and nasty f*** u all stuff, a stiff middle finger in the arse of your saviour, a pitch-black sonic adventure that destroys any last ray of light, I can kindly ask you to give this Mexican trio a try. Or better: I do not kindly ask you to do so; I rather warn you or you’re f*cked!
Ragnell consist of bassist / vocalist Eduardo, vocalist / guitar player Mauricio, and drummer David (not from the original line-up, for what this information might be worth), and they did satisfy my sensitive eardrums with both former recordings, 2014’s EP Black Requiem and the full-length debut Consumed By The Eternal Darkness, also released in 2014. Below you can find the links to the absolutely fabulous reviews I did for both of them. Hell yeah!
No, seriously, I hated it to notice that this band seemed to be disappeared from our beautiful planet’s soil, but then my friend Aleksey brought me the satisfying news: Ragnell are back with new stuff. All together: hurray, praise the Horned One (or whomever you want).
Just like both former releases, this one sees the light – oops, no light here, so I’ll start all over… Here we go…
Just like both former releases, this one gets released in total obscurity via Satanath Records, this time in a partnership with two other labels which I do appreciate a lot, The End Of Time Records and More Hate Productions. Besides a digital version, there is a ‘regular’ edition on compact disc, in a so-called jewel-case, including a very sober eight-page booklet (just the lyrics in a typical typology on a black background; the layout was done, by the way, by Satanath Records’s Aleksey), yet with fine cover artwork too, courtesy of May Kankava (Hellcatfairyart). The latter, FYI, in an edition of 500 copies.
It would be too easy to call this band a ‘Blackened Death Metal’ act, for this goes much further. Okay, the spine has a lot Death Metal going on, and there is a huge dose of blackened energy represented too. But Ragnell, well, they go beyond the limitations of the genre. And even more than before, truly intense Black Metal elements are used. I am not talking about quite some blackened screams (besides the extremely harsh, brutal growling grunts), but several passages are comparable to the elegance of the Nordic scene. Within those passages, the guitar sound especially reminds me of some Scandinavian Second Wave trend. Great it is! Yeah, compared to both former recordings, the sulphuric odour of the Underworld smells much more penetrating (and I can’t stop breathing in!).
Another little difference with the past, I think, is the tempo. Okay, don’t you dare to think that Rebirth In Darkness turns out to be a catchy record. No, most of the time, the compositions blast, crush, destroy. Merciless. Unstoppable. Vicious. A vile hybrid of eclectic lightning and pyroclastic eruption. This surely goes for the better part. But more than before, Ragnell slow down, injecting an increased number of doom-laden excerpts; the beauty of this story is that this gets done in such an organic manner. And more psychic beauty caresses my brain when noticing that these slower passages are at least as overwhelming and forceful as the energetic outbursts. Besides, it adds that abyssal dimension, that bleak atmosphere, that obfuscating spirit on top of the brute harshness. This too is much more extant compared to the past.
The song writing is of a very high order. The band succeeds to stay true to the roots, using elements that characterise the tradition of Extreme Metal. But the addition of unique elements (a harmony choir here, an acoustic passage there) and the sublime sound quality (raw and still decently clean), along with the flawless execution, make this newest Ragnell release another highlight. And for what it is worth (yet since I am the reviewer, I can write whatever I want, haha), I think that Rebirth In Darkness is the best Ragnell recording to date.
PS: as bonus, two pieces from Black Requiem have been added…