It’s common knowledge that that there are few things in life as exhilarating as a metal band just plugging in and letting fucking rip! This is especially true of bands operating at the more traditional end of the spectrum and, as luck would have it, that’s exactly where Sweden’s Ram come in with their fifth album, the cleverly titled Rod.
We may as well get straight to the good stuff. This album is so rooted in the 80’s it provides a heftier nostalgia fest than a reunion of the original Grange Hill crew (a reference for our British readers there!) and Ram have made damn sure they tick all the appropriate boxes with this album. From a crisp retro style production, thunderous drums, high pitched vocals, maiden style galloping riffs and an obligatory moody ballad – with the absolutely barking mad title of “Ramrod The Destroyer Part III: The Cease To Be”, good luck calling that out at a gig lads! – Ram have delivered, but they’ve delivered to the wrong bloody address!
The big problem with Rod – which over shadows everything else – is a severe lack of memorable hooks and, we’re sad to say, memorable songs. While Harry Granroth and Daniel Johansson are no slouches in the riff and lead department, there’s not enough life to lift Rod out of the also ran pile and while the likes of “Gulag” try hard and strike all the right notes, they never light that spark that takes this kind of trad metal to new highs.
Sadly, 2017 has already seen absolutely stonking releases from Northern Ireland’s Rabid Bitch Of The North and Sweden’s Portrait, both of which are head and shoulders above anything you’ll find here. 5/10