RAM - Death (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Death (2012)

Metal Blade Records

RAM is a band out of time, and gloriously so. Ostensibly a throwback to the likes of Judas Priest, Dio and, lest we forget, Dio-era Black Sabbath, the band plays a hard charging form of metal. Operatic shrieks, squealing solos, the whole deal. While a lot of critically acclaimed metal acts are looking to the ‘70s, RAM cherrypicks from whatever wasn't embarrassing in '80s metal and makes those licks new.

Death pretty much lives on the strength of its solos, and they're all awesome ‘n' searing. The vocals, well, they're something else. You kind of have to already have a taste for stuff this ridiculous high in pitch, because while RAM does this style justice, it certainly doesn't reinvent it and probably won't cause people to go "Oh wow I totally misjudged Iron Maiden all these years." Still, within the narrow subset of '80s power metal that RAM has carved out for itself, Death is an excellent showcase.

Still, there's a part of me that wonders what the band could accomplish if it slowed down a hair. I don't mean for something more groove-based. That would be too '70s. But there's this one really interesting track on Death, the title track in fact, that's just completely different. "Death" opens the record in a haze of synths, recalling Dario Argento's movies more than it does Randy Rhoads' frets. While the band does occasionally slow its tracks down for guitar interludes, or the supremely heavy "Frozen," it never quite returns to this synth-horror make-up. It's a shame, since it's such a cool trick, but then again, that might turn RAM into a completely different band.