|Review: RAM - Lightbringer|
Label: Black Path Metal Recordings
Year released: 2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 4, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
A lack of originality can never be a good thing, but deriding or dismissing a band due to such a flaw would be foolish. After all, modern critical darlings such as Wolf, Witchraft, and even Hibria aren't doing anything new or special; they just play old music exceptionally well. Hell, the entire neo-thrash scene wouldn't have any credibility if originality were a necessity. On the other hand, such replication can become tiresome and laughable. When a band has no original sound and merely mimics others, it becomes problematic. It cannot be taken seriously. Part of artistry in general requires some sort of genuine, individualized inspiration, and heavy metal is no exception.
RAM sound like many bands in one. Their singer sounds like Rob Halford, a wannabe King Diamond, and even Rob Lowe at different points. Apart from that, there's endless Iced Earth worship on Lightbringer. It's straight, balls-to-the-wall heavy metal, but with minimal balls. Opening up with a throwaway intro, the band quickly goes into the title track, and you could swear you were listening to Night of the Stormrider. The album continues with similar worship-styled metal. "Awakening the Chimaera" is straight up Mercyful Fate and "Suomussalmi (The Few of Iron" doesn't sound far remove from new Candlemass with tinges of Savatage. This doesn't mean the songs are bad. The problem is that listening to the album is like going sightseeing in your hometown. It's as if you're walking past that historic church that you've seen every day on the way to work, or that marvelous bridge you've driven over every weekend. Each song simply becomes a fun challenge to find out which band RAM have decided to sound like. Sometimes that mimicry can be really enjoyable, but it can also be tedious and unintentionally funny.
RAM are tight and well-polished. They have the chops to hang with the top of the scene, and some of these songs are catchy and invigorating. Yet, they can't escape their constraining apery.
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