RAM - Svbversvm
Metal Blade
Heavy Metal
10 songs (50' 3")
Release year: 2015
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Andy

RAM's sophomore album, Lightbringer, was brilliant and authentic, getting excellent marks from us here at MetalReviews...so what happened? Unfortunately, in my opinion it seemed like the next album, Death, was not able to surmount the high bar set for it by its predecessor; it was just a little too by-the-numbers and was missing a lot of the energy and quirkiness Lightbringer had. But 2015's Svbversvm recovers with a powerful and catchy album that brings back a lot of what made Lightbringer so special.

The first thing the listener notices is that where Death started with a softly menacing horror-movie synth, the first track, Return of the Iron Tyrant, gets right to the point with some beefy chords and chugging palm-mutes. And when it gets up to its proper speed, the chorus is devastating as vocalist Oscar Carlquist alternates between deep growls and a balls-clamped-in-a-vise scream at the top of his lungs that recalls Painkiller-era Rob Halford, but with a more ragged edge. When we do get a slower track, like The Usurper, it's a deliberate, bass-thumping piece with a rhythm that had me headbanging almost immediately, and an 80s-style rock melody of the sort that belongs in an arena.

And yes, the quirkiness is back, too -- maybe not so much as Lightbringer had, but enough to give the tracks personalities of their own. Take The Omega Device, another of their "Machine Invaders" series of songs (which, on Death, they had not included). The verse is conventional enough stuff, but the melody they use on the chorus is simply delectable, as is the twin-guitar soloing that launches from the final phrase of Carlquist's chorus. What really makes Svbversvm such an enjoyable listen is the catchiness the band's mixed into an album that is already vehemently energetic. Even on longer tracks like Forbidden Zone, none of the momentum is sacrificed; the fairly long verses are sung with feverish intensity and backed by choppy, high-speed guitar chords. The only two exceptions are the final two songs, Temples of Void and the title track. They're both quite heavy and fun to listen to, but Temples of Void is an instrumental (well, there are vocals, but they're echoing background vocals that sound more like samples than anything else), and Svbversvm is just too chaotic to be truly catchy.

Even if the last two weren't outnumbered by the heap of quite appealing songs prior to them, I'd rather have experiments that don't quite turn out, like these, on a RAM album rather than the plainer and more tired material of Death. Lightbringer showed that RAM, which was mostly unknown outside Sweden prior to that album, has the potential to be a significant force in the heavy metal world, and Svbversvm confirms that these hopes aren't completely unfounded. If the band keeps up its interest in experimenting as well as writing modern NWOBHM tunes, they are capable of great things.

Killing Songs :
Return of the Iron Tyrant, Eyes of the Night, Usurper, The Omega Device
Andy quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by RAM that we have reviewed:
RAM - Death reviewed by Bar and quoted 80 / 100
RAM - Lightbringer reviewed by Bar and quoted 90 / 100
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