Rick and I have recently come up with a system when it comes to my reviews. Whereas all the other reviewers will take a look at the album list and pick what they would like to review, Rick will just send over a few albums for me to review. He knows my taste probably better than I do, and, as I am so busy with posting stuff to the site and news to the Facebook page, it means I don’t waste precious time (Rick is the one who puts together the album list so he is already working on it.)
Anyway, enough wasting time telling you about the logistics of how we work behind the scenes, I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was when I saw he had sent me the new Ram album to review (I think I actually did a little squeal!) I have been a fan since I first heard “Forced Entry” way back in 2005 and although they had kind of fallen off my radar for a period of time, I was glad they were still making music.
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the band, an achievement the band are proud of. Says guitarist Henry Granroth – “it feels great. I would say it’s quite an effort to keep it together for such a long time, and I don’t think anyone involved would have imagined to be a mission of that length. Hopefully, we’ll have the strength to keep going if not twenty more, at least ten. Who knows?”
And what better way to mark the anniversary than with this fantastic album.
Ok, a bit of history first though.
Ram were formed in 1999, in Gothenburg, Sweden, by guitarist Henry Granroth. Granroth wanted to form a “real heavy metal band” as he had become sick of the misinterpretation of metal that was ruling the scene at the time. He met Daniel Johansson, a young but very experienced and talented guitarist, who had a very traditional style of playing metal guitar.
After a long search they found Oscar Carlquist, a powerful heavy metal vocalist with a mutual hatred of the current metal scene, who, in turn, brought in drummer Morgan Pettersson, who still played in the old 70’s/80’s hard and heavy drum style.
Lastly, the band recruited the legendary Leif Larsson, a former member of Frozen Eyes and their line-up was complete.
In 2003, the band released their first EP “Sudden Impact” and it was a hit on the underground scene, the first 1,000 copies selling out in just a few months. They hit the road, playing a number of festivals in Europe and went on tour as support for Sebastian Bach. They were also recognised by Germany’ Rock Hard Mag as one of the best newcomers of 2004.
They released their full-length debut, the aforementioned “Forced Entry” in 2005, an album which brought the entire old school heavy metal community to its knees, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“The Throne Within” is the Swedish quintet’s latest album, released on 13th September 2019 on Metal Blade Records and it is clear this is a band who has upped its game to deliver a record with its roots deep in classic heavy metal yet wielding an energy and freshness that places it very much ‘in the now.’
Unlike its 2017 predecessor “Rod” there is no concept that unifies the lyrics and every song speaks for itself.
Says Granroth – “it is unmistakable RAM, there are fast songs, heavy songs, mid-tempo and slower tempos as well. There’s melody and there’s grit. The arrangements are recognizable, but some may be unorthodox. We wrote songs with no particular type of record in mind. Sometimes you have a clear picture, sometimes you don’t, and this time we just got together and started writing and saw where that took us.”
The album opens with the epic ‘The Shadowwork’, which explodes to life with a scything riff, making it clear that 2019 RAM are playing at full force.
Having previously released six full length albums, this one doesn’t deviate the band away from their core sound which has its roots set firmly with the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Accept with maybe a tinge of King Diamond creeping in here and there.
Instead, it has raised the bar of their founding principles and this can be placed above anything else they have done before. With a high octane, unmissable, 80’s attitude, this band has both the look and the sound that is able to transport us back to the heady days of the 1980’s when, as some people would say, ‘metal was metal!’
Long have bands like RAM been the loyal protectors of the old guard of heavy metal and this album proves, they are still to this very day. People may say ‘it’s all been done before’ and ‘this isn’t bringing anything new to the scene’ but this album is a true tribute to the metal of the 1980’s and I can only say that this is a good thing. I, personally, like to listen to the new stuff being made today but I also do like to listen to the older stuff too, and if it can be done by a band such as RAM then all the better.
The production of this album is of a greater quality than their previous offerings, providing a polished sound with true grit that gives the guitars, in particular, a bit of extra oomph.
With the twin guitars giving us some awesome solos and riffs, and the rhythm section being tight and solid, the other element that sets this album apart is the vocals. Carlquist has a strong, powerful voice that is so suited to this type of metal and provides that finishing touch to already brilliant musicianship.
This is an album of 100% kick ass metal. But don’t take my word for it, go and get yourself a copy and see for yourself!!!
1. The Shadowwork
2. Blades of Betrayal
3. Fang and Fur
4. Violence (Is Golden)
5. The Trap
6. No Refuge
7. Spirit Reaper
8. You All Leave
Originally posted on Ever Metal