Ram - Death
The sound conjured up by Sweden's RAM is as blunt as their name; traditionally-leaning, pure heavy metal almost totally independent of the trappings of many of their modern counterparts. Death is their 3rd full-length to date, a sporadic discography over the course of 13 years. Metal Blade Records has snapped this band up and it's easy to hear why as the group lays down a consistent, occasionally overreaching wall of metal over 10 solid tracks.
The title track serves as an intro and has a very creepy, 70's horror flick vibe to it's keyboard melody, setting a bit of atmosphere."...Comes From The Mouth Beyond" is an early highlight and an easy introduction to RAM's principles of metal. Vocalist Oscar Carlquist is the focal point of the majority of Death's material, with a mid-range sounding a bit like a young Ozzy and upper registers that would make any Rob Halford fan smile ear-to-ear. This track has a very thick and memorable chorus, and is broken in half with a series of workmanlike leads. Nothing too spectacular, nothing that hasn't been done before but done with an edge that is missing from many a nostalgic metal act these days. "I Am The End" starts off slow but really picks up in the back half. "Defiant" and it's big guitar melodies is pure Maiden worship of the highest caliber, "Under The Scythe" seems to pay homage to early 80's thrash and shows a bit of ambiguation on the straightforward theme of the record. "1771" is a dark and foreboding instrumental outro, leaving the album bookended with sinister atmosphere.
Death isn't out to reinvent the wheel, but to pay respect where it's due for the guys in RAM. In that regard, they hit all the right notes and manage to stand out from the long line of apers by being distinguishably their own entity despite the easily noted influences. For fans of metal's origins, the Judas Priests, Metallicas, Black Sabbaths and Iron Maidens, this record is undeniably for you and you alone. Others may take something from it, but nowhere near as much.
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