REVIEW: RAM – “The Throne Within”
RAM are, in my opinion, perhaps the most successful NWOTHM in terms of paying homage to the traditional metal heydays, ranging from good efforts like ‘Death’ (2012) to monstrous albums such as ‘Lightbringer’ (2009) and ‘Svbversvm’ (2015), not to mention their already recognizable “mascot”, which is something rare these days. ‘The Throne Within’ follows the same road that 2017’s ‘Rod’ traveled, be it musical or songwriting-wise.
With some heavy Judas Priest elements in the riff department, a cheesy, yet highly skilled instrumentality and – most importantly – a full 80’s attitude, The Swedes start their new endeavor like they ended their last: with a bang. “The Shadow Work” drinks from the Tipton/Downing fountain while Oscar Carlquist’s almost unique vocal evokes the 1980’s like no else.
The fun, thrilling and no-frills “Blades of Betrayal”, next song here, is probably one of the best ways to introduce RAM to someone. The high-tempo and simplistic, yet deep style of playing are the epitome of what the band does since its inception; not to mention the awesome video released for the song, which shows the band kidnapping a reviewer and slapping some metal sense in him.
Other tracks like “Fang and Fur”, “Violence (Is Golden)” and “No Refuge” provide great support in the middle of the album and take further steps into the NWOBHM and traditional metal in general’s realms. The atmosphere here is perfectly crafted to feel like you’re listening to a 1980’s vinyl with spectacular analog production.
That atmosphere floods to the rest of the songs in the album, and even in the most experimental moments, it all fits well. One thing that RAM always stood for and is even more evident here is the will to play unpretentious, kick-ass metal without the need to sound intelligent, erudite or pompous.
There is a clear sense of ambition here, of course, which can be seen on tracks like “Spirit Reaper”, “You All Leave” and closer “Ravnfell”. Different layers can be found especially in “You All Leave”, which serves as a sort of ballad to the album – but without sounding cheesy or emotional in any way. “No Refuge” also has a similar construction, and by being a 7-minute long track, is also full of nuances and small changes.
Combining the shredding abilities of Harry Granroth and Martin Jonsson, clean support by the duo Morgan Petterson (drums) and Tobias Petterson (bass) and the high-pitched screams of frontman Oscar Carlquist with some welcomed ode to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and even King Diamond, these Swedish metallers are more and more differentiating themselves from the seas of Enforcers, Skull Fists and Strikers of the NWOTHM movement. ‘The Throne Within’ is once again a great effort by RAM, a band that is skyrocketing to the top of the chain. As the reviewer in the video for “Blades of Betrayal” wisely states, “when Maiden and Priest are gone, don’t fear, RAM is still here”!