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As it happened with more extreme genres before, Sweden has become the leading power in the world of heavy metal in the beginning of this millennium's second decade. 2009's "Lightbringer" probably turned RAM into my favourite band among all those new hordes bearing the heavy metal torch in the cold lands of Scandinavia, so I have to confess that I was eagerly waiting for the release of "Death" months before the final launch of the album.
Prior to the release we even had the opportunity to check some teasers with songs as "Under the Scythe", "Defiant" and "Flame of the Tyrants", all of them fucking intense pieces of heavy metal that lead me to the thought that we were facing one of the best true heavy metal albums in years. So, where my expectations fulfilled with "Death"? Definitely no! I'm probably guilty of having expected too much from these Swedes and, although the album is good, very good indeed, it can not even be compared with "Lightbringer".
While their previous opus probably lacked a bit of concretion, going for different orientations in some of the songs, all of them were accomplished with lots of passion and made them sound very personal and menacing. This time RAM have matured, but maybe they had lost some of the personal aggression shown in their previous output.
Listening "Death", however, since the very first moment, late 70's and early 80's Judas Priest come to my mind. The sound is perfect, yet very organic and analogue, very reminiscent of albums as "Killing Machine" and "Stained Class". Judas Priest's reference also seems really obvious if we give a careful listen to the songs. I consider that tunes as, for example, "Comes from the Mouth Beyond" or specially "Under the Scythe" and "Flame of the Tyrants" immediately remind albums as "Screaming for Vengeance" and "Defenders of the Faith". And even, going further, "I Am the End" sounds very, very similar to "Dissident Aggressor". Other pieces of "Death" also show this guys proudly raising the flag of their influences, as I find "Frozen" quite close to Black Sabbath's "Sign of the Southern Cross", or the fast "Defiant" reminding the most intense Iron Maiden of "Aces High".
All in all, RAM's deserved debut with a big label can be consider a very good heavy metal album, while probably not fulfilling my high expectations for a third opus, but still very worthy of checking. And, if you don't believe me, just check their incredible "Flame of the Tyrants" video clip out there, it's difficul to be more METAL than that!
Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.