Review of Desolation’s Flower by Ragana – impressive guitar sound illuminates dark chants of doom.


Coley and Maria, from Olympia, Washington, have been creating hauntingly beautiful music for over a decade, sharing vocal, drum, and guitar duties. Their sixth album blends elements of post-rock, stoner rock, doom, and black metal to tackle the harsh realities of life with raw emotion and intensity.

Cover art for Desolation’s Flower.

The main song, referred to as a “hymn of appreciation for ancestors within the queer and transgender community, whether known or unknown,” is a success. With powerful vocals, Coley confidently proclaims “holy are the names” in a spine-tingling tribute to the courage of these ancestors. The song spans eight minutes and features stunning guitar tones that range from simple, clear notes to layered distortion. Coley’s delivery is reminiscent of Lingua Ignota’s steady yet emotionally-charged style, and throughout the album, they utilize repeated statements such as “We live in the light of the burning world,” “I would run to your side,” and the 20 repetitions of “I long for thee” on the track Ruins. It’s possible that grief leaves one with only a few words to express.

The guitar tone in Woe and Winter’s Light Pt 2 is incredibly impressive, resembling a thick layer of black paint on these tracks. Maria’s singing on DTA (“death to America”) is filled with emotion, like a tender ballad, before the piece is taken over by the sampled sound of a large protest.

The issue with utilizing basic melodies is that they can quickly come across as naive or uninteresting; too frequently in the calmer parts, the pair chooses to play slow and repetitive sequences of notes, resulting in their songs feeling mundane rather than just slow-paced. However, when they incorporate a catchy rhythm (as in the song “Woe”) or embrace noise to fill the gaps – whether it be through intense guitar playing or screaming vocals – they elevate the listener to a place of hard-earned understanding.


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