Ram - Lightbringer review
01. Crushing The Dwarf Of Ignorance
03. In Victory
04. Awakening The Chimaera
05. Ghost Pilot (MI II)
06. Suomussalmi (The Few Of Iron)
07. Blood God
09. The Elixir
10. Prelude To Death
Nowadays it seems increasingly rare to find a modern metal band putting out traditional heavy metal. I'm a big fan of this genre and I can understand that new-school bands don't want to be seen as imitators of bands that have achieved legendary status in metal. A critical mistake of some new school bands is they try to make a "heavy" song but it ends up sounding like a jaded rip-off instead of a tribute. RAM, a heavy metal band from Sweden, does everything a modern heavy metal band should do on their second release Lightbringer. They aren't ashamed of being influenced by the old school; it sounds like Judas Priest is their biggest influence but they bring modern aspects of metal into their music and they refuse to be corny.
The production is excellent; you can hear all of the instruments. It actually sounds like the vocalist, drummer, bassist and guitarist each occupy a different part of the stage and you're in the front row. The album sounds like it was meant to sound like it was recorded in the 80's which could be a plus or minus depending on your personal taste. The songwriting is top notch as well, best example being Track 6, "Suomussalmi (The Few Of Iron)," which is a song in the spirit of Iron Maiden's "Paschendale" about the battle of Sumussalmi in which 11,000 Finnish troops used familiar terrain and guerilla tactics to defeat an army of 55,000 Russian Troops (including a tank brigade). The tempo changes don't weaken the song the way they do in some other albums. They only amplify the feeling of battle and valor that they were going for. The bass line instills a feeling of dread in you as if you could die at any time while at the same time the riff seems to try and fan the flames of courage. I don't know if this is what the songwriter had in mind, but it's how I imagine being in the trenches must feel, an underlying sense of doom while trying to find your courage. The vocalist, Oscar Carlquist, has good range. He's most comfortable in the mid range, but shows capability to hit high pitch shrieks and low menacing growls when it would sound right for the song. The bassist, Tobbe Peterson, stood out to me, I liked his style. He delivers with a kind of infectious, groovy flow that makes you bang along with the track. The best example of him carrying a track in this fashion is on "Ghost Pilot (MI II)," but he's pretty damn sick on all tracks.
Lightbringer's sinister tones, progressive changes of tempo and thrash metal aggression breathe much needed life into heavy metal. RAM shows with this album that they are capable of successfully infusing many different styles of metal into traditional metal. Hell, they even venture into "Groove" territory (I'm not too good with sub-genres but in a Black Label Society type of way) in "Elixir." I can easily recommend this album to any fan of traditional heavy metal and would even go as far to say that this could be one of the top 10 released in the past decade of this genre.
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