RAM – Svbversvm (Metal Blade)Thursday, 22nd October 2015
Labels can be identifiable for the novice but often tedious to journalists – let’s just call a spade a spade and push Gothenburg’s RAM as pure heavy metal and not just another group in the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal category despite their 1999 beginnings. The fourth full-length Svbversvm reaches deeper into the old school bag of tricks, accenting proper guitar/drum syncopation that keeps fists flailing high and audiences screaming in unison to Oscar Carlquist’s battle cries.
Rare is the day where one hears an opening mid-tempo riff and marching sequence for “Holy Death” that captivates in the same way as the iconic “Balls to the Wall” did for Accept listeners in 1984, but RAM succeed in embedding another series of hooks and riffs through this arrangement stage ready for simultaneous axe swings or hip flexing. Other dark chord combinations summon early makings of Savatage and Sanctuary, such as opener “Return of the Iron Tyrant” and the slow churning triplet action meets brooding clean transitions for “Temples of Void”. The combination of a heads down rhythm section in bassist Tobias Petterson and drummer Morgan Petterson allows the Harry Granroth / Martin Jonsson six string team proper space to inject timely twin harmonies in the under three minute “Eyes of the Night” or get a little more creative in epic form on the close to eight minute “Forbidden Zone”.
Oscar’s chilling manner in fluctuating between conventional Halford-like power and the personality traits that make Warrel Dane, Jon Oliva or classic Lou Falco from the unsung Wicked Maraya unique entities shine on anthem-oriented material like “The Usurper” (you can hear the ‘hey…hey’ chants going in your headspace from the opening floor tom hits) on through to the revved up double bass closer. The cover art even has throwback Mercyful Fate textures, so it’s obvious these Swedes are 100% committed to the cause, now and forever.
After Death’s more 70’s Rainbow/Judas Priest slant, RAM come forward into US metal influences from the 80’s while still maintaining that finesse and melodic sensibility that is necessary for long term retention – as well as a healthy career. Stride true as the sirens wail into a newer refuge not denied.