Album Review RAM: More music for true metal fans

 

Swedish true metal band RAM are around for more than 15 years so calling them veterans of the genre seems appropriate. In the early 2000s the band stirred up the classic heavy metal scene – thought to be dead at that time – with their self-released EP ‘Sudden Impact’ and their first full-length album ‘Forced Entry’. Despite the mainly raving reviews and constant touring the band remained somewhat in the underground. With ‘Svbversvm’ they now released their fourth full-length album.

RAM has been known for their straight forward approach to classic heavy metal. Mean, dirty and fast, that’s what you get. All that is based on Judas Priest. Their last album ‘Death’ deviated from proven paths and received mixed reviews. Naturally I was curious to see whether the band would proceed on their new approach or return to a more classic style. The answer comes with the opener ‘Return of the Iron Tyrant’. Sharp riffs, sweeping melodies and Rob Halford-like vocals combined in a modern, powerful sound immediately get your neck muscles going. What a cracker the opener is. If you are into classic metal then this is one of the best songs of 2015.

The second track ‘Eyes of the Night’ pumps up the tempo further. With just under three minutes the track is one of the shortest on the album. It is a classic up-tempo rocker with some twin-axe action and a refrain that will invite the crowd to sing along live. Tracks three and four – ‘The Usurper’ and ‘Enslaver’ – manage to keep up the high standard of the first two songs despite the slightly slower tempo.

The first real break of the album comes in the form of ‘Holy Death’. Unfortunately, the track comes across a little bit cheesy with a main melody and a refrain that reminds me more of some big hair bands of the 80s rather than classic metal. Luckily RAM get back into what they do best with the rock’n’roll-like ‘The Omega Device’.

The remainder of the album does not quite reach the class of the first four tracks. However, the epic ‘Forbidden Zone’, the almost instrumental ‘Temples of Void’ and the title track ‘Svbversvm’ are strong songs.

Overall ‘Svbversvm’ is one of the best classic metal albums of the year. It does get the band back on track after the somewhat different ‘Death’. RAM found again their anger and hate that gives their music the edge, makes it aggressive and therefore avoids being redundant. Especially the vocal range of frontman Oscar Carlquist adds a variety to the album that some other bands in the genre miss. ‘Svbversvm’ is an album for classic metal heads without being nostalgic. And that’s an extraordinary achievement in 2015.

8.5 of 10

Official RAM website