RAM - Lightbringer
AFM Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (48:42)
Release year: 2009
AFM Records
Reviewed by Bar
Archive review

Having plied their trade on the local Swedish scene since before the turn of the century, it’s fair to say that after 10 years RAM had not made too much of a mark. They did have some decent output to show for their trouble – an EP, a full-length, and some splits – but none of those did very much to prepare the metal world for the onslaught of awesome that they would unleash in 2009. Lightbringer came more or less out of the blue and not only did RAM find themselves suddenly on the map, but in the opinion of this reviewer, they had shot instantly to the apex of the current Traditional Metal heap, alongside such bands as Slough Feg and Grand Magus.

Much like the above-mentioned bands, RAM were able to stand out from the pack by representing a modern embodiment of the Heavy Metal aesthetic, while still forging a path and sound of their own. It’s true that the usual 80s influences are still very much present, but they remain no more than influences, as the band doesn’t allow them to become a strict blueprint for the entirety of their style. From the moment the intro track Crushing the Dwarf of Ignorance hits your ears, you get the feeling you’re not in store for the same old crap, and that feeling is cemented once the first track proper, Lightbringer, kicks in. The sound is full of contemporary grit, and one of the first things you will notice as the song approaches its chorus is vocalist Oscar Carlquist. He is perfectly suited to this music, and yet has his own style, far removed from being another Dickinson clone.

The very next track, In Victory, is the best example of the line that RAM treads on this album. The infectiously groovy main riff that the track is built around is undeniably the stuff of classic Heavy Metal, and yet sounds intrinsically modern. The track demonstrates that RAM are not afraid to utilise some stylish guitar tones made possible by current technologies, and that as songwriters they refuse to ignore the post NWOBHM developments in heavy music. The catchy vocal melody of the chorus, which soars over an instantly memorable, repeating guitar lead also demonstrates the band’s talent for commercially viable composition that doesn’t sacrifice their harder edge. It’s a very good song.

From that point, the quality just refuses to let up as the album progresses, in what is a real showcase for various styles of Heavy Metal. The epic 9 minute stomper Suomussalmi (The Few of Iron) reveals a tendency towards theatrical storytelling and is a true highlight thanks to its highly addictive riffs and a chorus you can’t help but sing along to. Blood God sees the band demonstrating a real mean streak not dissimilar to the unchained aggression of Killing Machine era Judas Priest. Meanwhile, the constantly shifting tonal dynamics of The Elixir sees the sound edging fairly close to Progressive Metal.

What we’re left with, then, is a stunningly consistent album that in many ways helps to keep the Heavy Metal flame burning. You will not be left wanting for variety and style, and like all the best Heavy Metal albums, it is simple enough to appeal on the first spin, while layered enough to keep getting better on subsequent listens for quite some time indeed.

Killing Songs :
Lightbringer, In Victory, Awakening The Chimaera, Ghost Pilot (MI MII), Suomussalmi (The Few of Iron), Blood God, The Elixir
Bar quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by RAM that we have reviewed:
RAM - Svbversvm reviewed by Andy and quoted 89 / 100
RAM - Death reviewed by Bar and quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:54 pm
View and Post comments