Ragana’s societal anger blends into atmospheric doom chaos on icy ‘We Know That the Heavens…’

Photo by Bailey Kobelin

It’s late in the year, and most of the noteworthy music is behind us as we have to face the tidal wave of best-of lists that already have come rushing our way. But the past couple years, there has been strong music bleeding out through December, and that same thing is happening this year. Basically, don’t tune out on 2019 or you’re going to miss some cool shit.

One of those is a quick two-track release from Ragana, the anarcha-feminist black metal and doom powerhouse that is putting a bruising edge on socially conscious art. Maria (guitars/vocals) and Nicole (drums/vocals), the two members behind this force, have struck back with “We Know That the Heavens Are Empty,” a tremendous piece that, while it’s two songs, is really one full piece stitched together. It also shows the band expanding their sound a little more as they blend plenty of atmosphere in with their abject heaviness and emotional turmoil the duo commonly displays. The title of the recording comes from an 1892 poem called “The Toast of Despair” by anarchist artist Voltairine de Cleyre, which adds to the band’s commitment to their ideals and their devotion to their movement’s history.

“Waiting” starts off with clean guitars trickling in before the track bursts open, creating heavy tides before things calm, and the pace brings solemnity. The calls of, “Light flickers as I wait for you,” increase the feelings pulsing through this, and then the power jolts again, the crunch is delivered, and furious shrieks leaves heavy welts, as feedback rings out, mixing into “The Tower” that starts with slow drubbing. The singing spreads its wings and soars with calls of, “All day, I’ll lay,” before things are shredded, guitars bustle, and the shrieks leave devastation behind. Guitars bubble and spill over as the track chews everything in its gears, noise returns and stings, and the track slips into the void.

Ragana’s power is on full display with “We Know That the Heavens Are Empty,” as the band again proves it’s one of the more unique forces out there, as their sound continually evolves and strengthens. These two songs are jarring and get inside you, changing your mental makeup while this music has its way with your mind. Ragana delivered to us a late-year gem that will continue to quake the ground and your own bones well into its full life cycle.

For more on the band, go here: http://ragana.org/

To buy the album, go here: https://ragana.bandcamp.com/

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