Despite my great infatuation with the Swedish scene (which, considering the size of Sweden has a terrifying analogy of diversity and high quality on all genres of rock and metal) I had yet to come across RAM. So, when I was given the task to review “SVBVERSVUM” I was hoping to hear something that would find its place next to other Swedes that play great heavy metal, like ENFORCER, HEAVY LOAD, WOLF, AIR RAID etc.

Although I can’t say this record thrilled me as much as I hoped, it certainly did not disappoint me, so let’s have a look at the positives for starters. The first three songs (“The Usurper” being the best of them, with beautiful guitar work and a chorus I can definitely imagine UDO singing) give the sonic stigma of the whole album, which is a mixture of Killing Machine/British Steel era JUDAS PRIEST (take the hard hitting “The Omega Device” for example) intertwined with the evil feeling and dark theatricality of MERCYFUL FATE.

The latter is the key element spread throughout “SVBVERSUM” (with songs like “Return of the Iron Tyrant”, “Holy Death” or my personal favorite, the instrumental “Temples of the Void”) that comes at you with malicious intent and the will to create some much welcomed heavy eeriness (it’s more of a metal-up-your-ass rather than a have-some-beers-and-headbang kind of deal). The elements that help spread this feeling throughout the album are two; first, RAM balance their influences with their own creativity and style so as to give birth to a sound that is genuine and theirs alone and second, they have a very compact and nasty production that really brings up the vintage feeling and the dark vibe they want to create.

However, despite the guitars having their moment of glory in certain parts or some catchy choruses, it was difficult for me to find really memorable moments in “SVBVERSVM”. The feeling might be there alright, but RAM seem to confine themselves in pretty standard rhythm sections, bridges and song structures. I know, they play pure heavy metal, you can’t expect WATCHTOWER-like transitions and changes but even for their genre, they don’t have many innovative or powerful moments to keep the listener’s interest on high levels. I would certainly like to see them think a bit out of the box in the future, considering they also have a very versatile vocalist on their team.

All in all, “SVBVERSVM” is not a mediocre album, but it also doesn’t have that extra thing that would make me want to listen to it over and over again. However, if you are a fan of pure, vintage inspired heavy metal bands which also have a sense of personal style, you should definitely give RAM’s new album a listen and decide for yourselves.

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