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RAM are a Swedish heavy metal band formed in 1999 by guitarist Harry Granroth and this is the band's 2nd full album. ‘Lightbringer’ is well performed and competently produced. Unfortunately, the it is a slow starter with the short opener ‘Curse The Dwarf Of Origin’ and the title track being fairly ordinary, offering nothing to really grab your attention. ‘In Victory’, on the other hand, takes the album to a higher level immediately as it starts off with an instantly likeable riff, together with a memorable and melodic chorus. ‘Awakening The Chimaera’ is a superb track, sounding like classic Mercyful Fate with Oscar Carlquist's vocals displaying the same variety and drama that is associated with King Diamond. ‘Ghost Pilot (MI II)’ is a menacing metal anthem and features some really impressive guitar work from the aforementioned Granroth with Carlquist's soaring voice being reminiscent of Geoff Tate circa early Queensryche. ‘Suossalmi (The Few Of Iron)’ is an ambitious, yet impressive nine minute epic, which might need repeated plays to get into but the band are clearly in fine form as the tight menacing feel that runs throughout and the ever changing tempo keeps the track interesting. ‘Blood God’ is an out and out metal anthem bringing to mind the heavier side of NWOBHM whilst ‘Titan’ possesses an intense but accessible sound and shows off a more melodic side to RAM's metal influence. ‘The Elixir’ has an experimental feel to it and at first comes across as somewhat disappointing, seemingly lacking fluency and sounding confused. Thankfully with repeated plays, this track becomes intriguing, with the band's intensity, Granroth's variety of guitar styles and the vocal gymnastics of Carlquist impressing. Sadly, the album ends with a whimper as ‘Prelude To Death’ is a slow dirge lacking the passion, intrigue or direction to make it work. Although by no means perfect and at times lacking in consistency, ‘Lightbringer’ does feature some interesting and ambitious ideas, which the band should be commended, especially as much of this is carried off successfully. I can feel confident in recommending this album to fans of true heavy metal, particularly anyone who is fond of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, early Queensryche and the heavier more dramatic side of Judas Priest.
AFM Records
Review by Dave Crewe
15th June 2009
1) Crushing the Dwarf of Ignorance
2) Lightbringer
3) In Victory
4) Awakening the Chimaera
5) Ghost Pilot (MI II)
6) Suomussalmi (The Few of Iron)
7) Blood God
8) Titan
9) The Elixir
10) Prelude to Death
"Although by no means perfect and at times lacking in consistency, ‘Lightbringer’ does feature some interesting and ambitious ideas..."