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Stars That Fall… RAGANA – “Wash Away” Review + Stream

Welcome to where the stars fall out of the night sky, and to where cold winds forever blow. Welcome to a place of solitude and retreat, where the silence and vastness of the world immerses you into a strange state of peace, loss and fear all at the same time. Ragana are a duo from Olympia WA, now residing in Oakland CA, comprised of Maria and Nikole. They play music that is transcendental, mesmerizing and beautiful, while retaining a simplicity, innocence and grace that is at times hard to grasp and even believe, and which is profoundly moving and seductive. The duo is comprised of guitar and drums, with both handling vocals, and they are both known to switch instruments – something that you will notice gives the songs a different feel from one to another. Wash Away is their third release and is a huge step forward from their previous works…

While their talent was apparent from their earlier releases, this overall step above shows through the production quality, provided by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios, and James Plotkin’s crisp and cutting mastering really makes this album shine, flicker and resonate through your speakers like a fire coming out of the darkness. In this record, you will hear all of Ragana’s power, vision and artistic grace ascend to a climaxing zenith. The duo has an incredible way with moods and atmospheres and is extremely agile at touching the most intimate places of your soul, weaving their sonic tapestries in and out of various genres and creating something that exists solely within their vision and nowhere else. Taking cues from melodic proto-black Cascadian acts like Agalloch and Velnias and blending it with hints of doom, anarcho crust, post-punk, sludge, Americana and folk, the duo have materialized something intimate and graceful but untamed and feral at the same time, and just like some kind of mythological animal, this album nests inside you, burrowing deep within the bowels of your most remote imagination, haunting you.

The vocals can range from delicate and almost child-like chants, as if someone is reciting a fairy tale or some kind of intimate poetry, to deflagrations of feral and throat-ripping screams. In the same way, the music follows suit in this constant alternation of day and night, sun and tempest, life and disease, constantly swinging in and out of alternations of  delicate folk and Americana-derived intimate acoustic rock and minimalistic passages, and bellowing and roaring cracks of black and doom metal lightning and thunder. While they remain somewhat of a puzzling enigma, I have personally seen various common traits between Ragana and bands like US Christmas, Across Tundras, Aerial Ruin, Worm Ouroboros, Ash Borer, Hell, Iskra, Ekkaia and  Sangre De Muerdago, which all seem to be crystallized within Ragana’s sound, and of which the duo appears to be some kind of distilled and purified essence of all of them combined into one precious nectar. Wash Away  came out as a 12″ LP on August 12th on An Out Recordings, while tapes can also be grabbed directly from the band itself.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pan Mięsożerny Władysław

    September 3, 2015 at 1:37 am

    That is really good. Thanks for sharing and keep up good work.

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