Friday, September 15, 2017

Single Review: RAM Gulag

From their upcoming full length Rod to be released on Metal Blade November 3
Groups with a sound consciously appertaining to the roots of traditional heavy metal are currently widespread in popularity in the heart of Sweden. Don't let that modern commercial appeal put you off, though. RAM are a step-above many of their Swedish contemporaries; partially because they've been around much longer and are intransigently bursting with high experience in songwriting. Their upcoming LP 'Rod' is expected to hit the market on November 3, 2017 and has already elicited tons of mixed responses prior to its release date. A semi-concept story spanning across six songs from the beginning of the B-side to the end will definitely attract advocates of existing heavy metal concept records. It is based upon what I can only estimate to be a fictional character by the name of "Ramrod". Nonetheless the A-side of the record has garnered public attention, too, particularly with the release of their single 'Gulag', which is a mid-paced rocker which drives its self from the beginning to the very end. Seven-minutes long in its totality; the track builds itself upon a common musical theme and a constantly simultaneous display of solid yet slow tempos and galloping riffs; a rhythmic trait also found in groups like RATT and DEMON. What I particularly admire about this group is that they, unlike many other modern acts, don't try to consciously emulate what was happening musically in New Wave of British Heavy Metal sub-culture of the Eighties; - instead, they opt for a more individualistic quality which I find to be very bold. They don't fit into the pigeonholing of "trad-metal" because one hears a lot of modern influences in their stuff, too. I can hear they're clearly influenced by JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, DIO, and perhaps DEMON but that's as far as I'd consider their NWOBHM roots to go. I'd say they've much more in common with CRIMSON GLORY as opposed to IRON MAIDEN and they're probably closer to QUEENSRYCHE than ANGEL WITCH. They're a unique amalgamation of American and European styles and I'd say they're probably one of the most prolific and unyielding groups for building their own identity. -Jaime Regadas

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