Ram are one of Sweden’s strongest heavy metal exports, and the band’s latest album Rod is one of their most enjoyable yet. A band that eat, breathe, and live metal through and through, it was with great pleasure that I got to catch up with vocalist Oscar Carlquist about all things Rod…
Introduce us to Ram
RAM is a REAL Heavy Metal band, no compromises, no false claims, just Hard Heavy Metal music for those who feel the true metal force inside.
What are your influences?
Mainly Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, but on top of that anything from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Morbid Angel, as long as it is not too modern or to weak.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Burn the World by Portrait, Piles of Little Arms (single) by Morbid Angel, Trilogy by Carpenter Brut, ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA by Laibach and anything Dokken 82-92.
Tell us about Rod
Rod is our fifth full-length album. The B-side of the album is our first concept story cluster of songs, we produced, mixed and recorded this album ourselves in our own “Black Path” Studios. Rod has gotten stellar reviews all over the world so we know we did something right.
What are some of the lyrical themes and concepts on the album?
Most of the songs is about the individual vs the collective and the importance of following your own path without compromise instead of treading the path of the flock.
How did you write the songs?
Me, Harry and Martin wrote the songs in the studio, we recorded some rough demos and then we recorded them at once.
What was the recording process like?
We did not really have a set idea for the production this time around, we just let the the album sound grow out of the vibe that was coming out of the material. It was a quite relaxed recording session this time since we are very familiar with our studio nowadays. We started recording in April and the album was mixed and ready for mastering in June.
How would you compare Rod to Svbversvm?
It has a bit more live qualities, you hear how the band sounds a bit more, it has a more honest sound. The songs are a bit more of the older RAM style I would say, some of them take me back to the early days of RAM. The big difference is that the B-side is one conceptual story divided into six songs, this makes the album almost into 2 different albums that might interrupt the continuity a bit, but we always try to do something different for each album. Svbversvm is an album that I am very proud of and it is probably a better album since we did not experiment as much, it has a better focus on the pure quality of a “normal” Heavy Metal album.
What lessons have you learned from creating Rod that you’ll take forward for the future?
We didn’t really learn anything that we didn’t know. Rod has just confirmed what we already knew that RAM are one of the strongest forces in the metal scene today.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
My favourite is “RAM ROD The Destroyer: Part III The Cease To Be” because it truly displays a new side of RAM that has not been featured in any of our previous albums.
Tell us about the cover artwork
I made the artwork to depict the song “Incinerating Storms”. I am very happy that the image very well shows the burning inferno that the RAM ROD is charging through, you can almost feel the heat as you look at the cover.
How important is good album art to you?
Well some of my favourite albums have hideous artwork look at “Tooth and Nail” by Dokken for instance. So I don’t know, I am not in retrospect 100% happy with all the RAM covers that I have done, but I was at the time of their creation and I always had a strong vision that I tried to capture. And I think that the lack of technical ability might be won in the accuracy of the vision being portrayed.
How do you feel about the state of the metal world in 2017?
It is a lot better than it was in the late 90s and early 00s, it has its good sides and its bad sides. There are a lot of problems that need to addressed regarding how young artists are supposed to be making a living out of their music, right now most bands are on hobby basis because the maths don’t add up, you can’t make enough money from album sales and club touring to be able to take enough time off to write a new album, and the more you tour the more the price of your performance drops. At the time people in bands are keeping their day jobs and playing music, but in the long run fans and the industry will suffer because of this, something has to be done.
Do you have any upcoming shows you want to talk about?
A big tour will be announced soon, keep your eyes on our channels!
What will 2018 bring for Ram?
More dominance through Heavy Metal Tyranny!
Any final words?
Bang your head or lose it!