Swedish old-school metallers Ram have not only been carrying the torch of trad metal for two decades, but can be safely pointed as one of the several young bands that initiated the so-called New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal at the start of the new millennium, with their 2003 EP Sudden Impact.
The Throne Within is Ram’s sixth full-length offering and fourth on Metal Blade Records. Throughout their career, the Swedes haven’t been deviating too much from the formula of melodic heavy metal, with memorable hooks and muscular rhythm section, even when some flirtations with hard rock and more progressive song structures were noticed in Lightbringer. However, 2017’s half-conceptual Rod was a disappointment with its overlong compositions that didn’t manage to stand the test of time. The lyrical inspiration just wasn’t backed with good music.
Now, The Throne Within is everything that Rod did not succeed to be. All the songs are so packed with catchy riffs and masterful guitar solos, that it is extremely difficult to pick up a standout track. The production is really heavy and crisp, allowing Oscar Carlquist’s vocals to shine with all nuances he is capable of. Yes, it is more than obvious that Ram are praying at the altar of Priest, but they do it with skill and with inspiration. The ballad “You All Leave” is clearly evoking the spirit of Sad Wings of Destiny and Stained Class, but does it right!
We are steadily approaching the end of 2019, but this really is a contender for one of the albums of the year in its style. Songs like “Shadowwork”, “Blades of Betrayal” (see the video below) and the epic “No Refuge” are fantastic headbangers, fists clenched in the air, scary faces et al. As I mentioned, you can choose any of the nine songs and the effect will be the same. We should mention the guest appearance of none other than the mighty Alan Averill of Primordial in closer “Ravnfell”, which rounds the album off well.
2019 is an anniversary for Ram and they can celebrate with twice the pride, because The Throne Within is easily their best recording so far.