RAM - The Throne Within

RAM The Throne Within cover
The Throne Within
Metal Blade Records
I found all the media frenzy around Ram’s previous album to be largely unfounded as their poor man’s monotonous take on Judas Priest’s brand of heavy metal, crossed with a little bit of how bands like Wolf and early Enforcer tend to interpret that very sound, hasn’t been much refined in two decades since the band’s conception.
Without being truly bad, Ram’s style is too basic, repetitive and lacks both the flair, as well as variety that made other bands beacons of the genre.
The uncontrollable attempts of Oscar Carlquist to mimic Halford have been largely tamed, but the real issue with the band is the monotony that’s evident in most of the songs.
“The Shadow Work” seems to bridge nicely some Mercyful Fate vibes with a bit of Priest, offering a welcome enough opener…
“Blades of Betrayal” is saved by its nice chorus and sulfurous delivery, and not by its “freshness”. The calendar is stuck in 1984 or there about throughout the album after all.
“Fang or Fur” sees the band dropping the speed and the bands one trick pony m.o. is revealed. It’s unimpressive.
“Violence is Golden” is a promising bouillabaisse of 80s clichés and derivative riffing that seems okay at first, but quickly seems to lose its appeal since there isn’t much to keep you interested. The solo as well as a certain bridge are the only thing that are highlights, but we’re talking about maybe 1/5 of the song. Still it fares better than a lot of other songs on offer here.
The more one goes into the album the more one sees the band caught in “The Trap” that trying to sound like somebody else. In this case (a more acidic Priest vintage)… the chorus and solo try to differentiate the song enough, but ultimately fail.
“No Refuge” clocking at almost eight minutes feels like two songs randomly mixed into one. Too long, too disjointed with few things and far between to like and vocals that fail locking on the note with creditworthy results.
“Spirit Reaper” feels like a rather boring mid-era Priest song, with kinda bellowed vocals. Presumably for atmosphere, but… whereas Halford might have sounded regal doing such, Carlquist sounds average.
“You All Leave” is a weird sounding sort-of-ballad. Echo-verbed to a large extend, its no “Before the Dawn”… it’s hardly even 2am…
“Ravnfell”, which also credits Alan Averill, is a mini epic that marginally manages to change the overall perception of the album, for the better, mainly due to its inspired bridge.
With a handful of good songs, “The Throne Within” is a marked improvement over 2017 so-so “Rod”. If not for any other reason, the sole determination of the band to keep on going in the face of adversity, is not only commendable but also strangely endearing.