Wow, I must admit that I did not expect an album of such quality from Ram! Make no mistake here, as Ram were one of the best bands from the Swedish revival of traditional Heavy Metal along with Enforcer, Portrait and In Solitude but I mistakenly thought that they have already reached their peak and that they will tread their path safely in the future. But their fifth full length entitled Rod (cool word play with the band’s name) is here and it surely represents the most ambitious release in the band’s catalog as it is first Ram’s stab at conceptual album. It should be said that Rod is divided into two chapters: first four songs are individual entities while second half of the album consists of six tracks under the moniker Ramrod the Destroyer. First half of the album starts remarkably strong with Declaration Of Independence, seven minute epic track which will show you all the quality traits of this band. Another noteworthy number in this section of the album is Gulag, mid tempo emotional banger which sounds like it came straight from 80’s Accept classic albums. Ramrod the Destroyer is, although in same musical style, something different altogether as these six tracks are bound together in one triumphant but also desperate vibe similar to old Priest. Unfortunately I don’t have the info about the lyrical content of the album but I would like to know what about Ram is dealing with here. Even though the album is separated into two halves, overall impression is that Rod is brimming with some newfound inspiration and strength that Ram found somewhere. Tracks like abovementioned two or Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 2: Ignitor are just some great metal – catchy and involving in the same time, I just love when the band surprises me like that! Ram always had good reputation in UGHM circles but I surely hope that Rod will get them even more attention as they certainly deserve it.
- Slobodan Trifunovic (8)
- Metal Blade Records CD