All hail Ramrod the destroyer! Sweden’s RAM had a particularly favourable release in ‘Svbversvm’ on their last outing and have developed with each release since I discovered them on their debut EP. A partial concept album based on Ramrod the Destroyer, in part the first section includes four tracks that are pure metal and typical of RAM. Intense passion and metal horns ignite your speakers for the first couple of tracks, namely ‘Declaration of Independence’ and ‘On Wings of No Return’. By the time you get to ‘Gulag’ there’s a notable piece of mastery present. Whilst the vocals have always been on top form, on ‘Gulag’ there is a depiction that sounds more typical Swedish, if you look back at Sweden’s glorious metal past. Kind of like Heavy Loads duo. Musically there’s latter Sinister, In Solitude and even a touch of early Ghost. This if course isn’t a change of style, I am kind of trying to describe the feedback you can get from this tracks vocal phrasing and tone. Infectiously catchy as ‘Gulag’ is, the metal mite continues back to form with ‘A Throne at Midnight’, you’re not getting a major departure from their trademark sound that easily.

Getting to what I am calling the mini concept, ‘Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 2: Ignitor’ is epic, bringing the magic of metal to this release. The vocal change again in tone for ‘Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 3: The Cease to Be’ which again really highlights RAM’s ability to grow and not stick with their tried and tested pure metal power. The real killer surprise is ‘Ramrod the Destroyer, Pt. 5: Incinerating Storms’ which falls easily into albums a great as Priest’s ‘Painkiller’. Again, the vocal range is spectacular, the energy sparks much excitement.

Whilst I don’t really figure with stories and themes, ‘Rod’ certainly follows a similar path of play-out to Manowar’s ‘Triumph of Steel’ release. But with RAM’s album, there’s not a track to skip. There are a couple of mini instrumentals, but even brief and fitting as they are, they can’t take away the spectacle of the overall metal album release.

Another sterling effort, RAM are a band that keeps growing on talent and power, they’ve only gone and done It again you know, perhaps this album will break them bigger than their current perceived position, there’s more worthy enjoyment than other releases of late making a big splash.

(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)