RAM - Rod
December 7, 2017, a year ago
Clever title. Swedish trad metal band RAM’s fifth full-length release, Rod, gives proper nods toward Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest. Opener “Declaration Of Independence” is a splendid musical hybrid of both bands, decorated with heavy double bass patterns, distortion-laden old-school riffs and trade-off harmonized guitar leads. Oscar Carlquist’s high-pitched wails possess a Rob Halford meets Niklas “Viper” Stalvind of Wolf combination. More Priest worship greets “On Wings Of No Return,” while the memorable “Gulag” will stick in your brain long after the track has ended.
The highlight of Rod, and probably the most adventurous thing the band has ever done, is the six-part conceptual track “Ramrod the Destroyer.” The track is interspersed with brief segments in which a digitalized spoken word sample introduces the narrative before unleashing some melodic leads and a bombarding rhythm section that invokes the spirit of fellow Swedes Enforcer and In Solitude. Closer “Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 6: Ashes” is a bit unnecessary and the band could have ended the album with Pt. 5. The production is decent enough with the guitars and vocals up front, although the bass is too low in the mix. With just a few minor faults, RAM has created some invigorating and true heavy metal with Rod.