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Battering Ram - Battering Ram

Battering Ram
Battering Ram
by Kira Schlechter at 20 March 2020, 4:42 AM

Many bands have been called BATTERING RAM over time. This 2017 incarnation, from Sweden, has just released their self-titled debut album, and a little more seasoning may have served them well. The opener, “Taking My Time,” sounds like almost like DEF LEPPARD’S “Switch 625” at the start before the main riff kicks in. This is straight-ahead hard rock/metal, and Johan has a gritty voice reminiscent of KROKUS’ Marc Storace. Jonas’ layered guitars provide an effective foil as Johan sings the title behind him.

“The Sign” firmly establishes the band’s Priest vibe and the track itself has an almost hopeful quality. Johan shows power and range, if a limited style, and his occasional rolled Rs are rather charming. “Stronger Forever” has an echoing resonant guitar line with lots of feedback that repeats satisfyingly at the end, and its swinging groove has lots of propulsion and muscle. Maybe we’re talking about perseverance here, but that groove really gets you (thanks to lots of cymbal-heavy drumming from Tony), and that solo section is crunchy and satisfying.

“I Will Come Alone,” though, has a slightly awkward construction from verse into chorus, and it’s here where I really started to wonder exactly where the lyrics were going thematically. It wasn’t clear up to this point and it didn’t get any clearer as the album went on. Despite its solid groove and Tony’s fine drumming, “Chase the Fire” is downright odd. I couldn’t grasp the “halo” reference in the lyrics or the overall theme in general, and the chorus changes moods completely. It almost seems like a few different songs cobbled together, none of which fits with the other

“Scared For My Life,” like “The Sign” and “I Will Come Alone,” has another bright-sounding chorus, but this time, it doesn’t match the seriousness of the title. “Coming My Way” continues the tempo they favor repeatedly and again seems to be just loosely-related words and phrases strung together – for me, that’s a really big sin. Johan’s voice doesn’t vary much either, – when he asks, ”please make me understand,” I’m not getting any urgency or desperation. But the drum and bass breakdown is fine, as are the harmonizing guitars.

“Wanted Man” has some bluesy guitar to start, but winds up going into basically that same tempo once again. There’s a lot of “believe in myself” lines here, as throughout, but they don’t really have a point and don’t tell any discernible story. The chorus is fairly solid, but it’s too long and too repetitive. The finale, “Cut In Two” is a little faster and nicely energetic, but the slowdown hinders it, even though it does eventually return to the original pace. There’s more “taking my time” lyrics again, and I didn’t get the meaning of the title, nor the urge to “keep fighting” – for what, exactly?

For this BATTERING RAM, the individual parts are there – the instrumentation, the singing – it’s just the ultimate result of those parts coming together successfully and cohesively – the actual songs – aren’t just yet. A little editing and some lyrical honing to come up with words that are more cohesive and say something more definite – not just words that have a nice sound and fit the music – would successfully unite those parts.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Taking My Time
2. The Sign
3. Stronger Forever
4. I Will Come Alone
5. Chase the Fire
6. Scared For My Life
7. Coming My Way
8. Wanted Man
9. Cut In Two
Lineup:
Johan Hallstrom - Vocals
Jonas Edmark - Guitar
Jocke Stahl - Bass
Tony Trust - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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