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RAM - Rod

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 18 December 2017, 7:17 AM

Sweden’s RAM play old school, no frills balls to the wall Heavy Metal.  Metal is often times broken down into an insane amount of sub genres so it’s refreshing to hear a band who just want to play metal, styles and sub genres be damned. The opening track, “Declaration of Independence,” sets the overall tone of the album.  Even at over seven minutes in length, the song doesn’t feature a lot of variety and could had easily been cut down to just five minutes or so.  The songs dragging on longer than they should is a frequent problem with the album.  The band doesn’t have any epic passages or the technical skills for me to want to listen to them for more than a few minutes at a time.   The production has a slight crusty feel to it and the guitar tone is very heavy.  Unfortunately, while the production legs the guitar shine, it covers up the bass almost completely.

Vocalist Oscar sounds very much about Dio, although he lacks the range or charm.  Still, his vocals are one of the best parts of the band and this old school metal croon is something that isn’t done very often or well these days. The next track, “On Wings of No Return,” is one of the best on the albums and it’s no coincidence it’s under five minutes in length.  The riffs are tight and the solos are on point; when the songs are kept shorter the band is allowed to focus more. It just makes for a more enjoyable time. “Gulag,” has a great galloping opening to it and its one of the few times I can really hear the bass well. The solos in the song are a well done combination of melody and old school flair but after the end, the song goes on for almost another three minutes.  Remember that cool galloping I mentioned?  Now it’s old and boring because, once again, the band has overstayed its welcome.

The next track, “A Throne at Midnight,” is another stand out (and another one that isn’t overly long, what a twist!) because it has a very energetic feel to it.  The song has the energy of Judas Priest but the pacing and destruction of 80’s metal.  I really enjoyed Morgan’s drums on this song but to be fair, the drumming is well played throughout the album. The rest of the album tells the story of someone named Ramrod the Destroyer. I’m not really sure what the story is about but I do know one thing: three of these songs kill the flow. Of the six parts that make up the story, three of them are throwaway tracks consisting of a boring into, a boring interlude, and a boring outro.  The remaining three tracks that are actual songs are decent but two of them, yet again, suffer from dragging on and on.

RAM’s fifth studio album is a solid Heavy Metal album but it doesn’t stand out among the dozens of other releases this year that brought more to the table.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Declaration of Independence
2. On Wings of No Return
3. Gulag
4. A Throne at Midnight
5. Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 1: Anno Infintius
6. Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 2: Ignitor
7. Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt: 3: The Cease To Be
8.  Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt: 4: Voices of Death
9.  Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 5: Incinerating Storms
10. Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt 6: Ashes
Oscar Carlquist - Vocals
Morgan Pettersson - Drums
Harry Granroth - Guitar
Martin Jonsson - Guitar
Tobias Petterson - Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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