Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2017

2017 was an amazing year for music, with so many top-notch albums seeing the light of day. I pretty much say this every year, of course, but that doesn’t seem to stop it being true. With this in mind, the 2017 list was especially hard to put together, and I agonised over this one more than I did for any of the lists in previous years.

As is traditional, I also want to mention some releases by bands that could easily have made it onto the list, and should have by many rights, if only I could have somehow managed to fit them all in –

Abhorrent DecimationAmenra, Apes, Artificial BrainAu-Dessus,

CelesteDesecrate the FaithEarth RotEarth WitchFalls of Rauros,

Full of HellGnawGutslitHelplessHenry Kane,

Hundred SunsIngurgitating OblivionInto OrbitJohn FrumKarne,

KvalLividMorbid AngelPrimitive ManCraven Idol,

SlowSoulskinnerThe Kennedy VeilUlsectWildspeaker.

I urge you to check out all of the above releases, in addition to the ones in the actual list below. I could probably keep adding more bands you should give a listen to, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, I suppose.

So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it… Continue reading

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Interview with Ram

Ram Logo

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… Continue reading

Ram – Svbversvm (Review)

RamRam are a Swedish Heavy Metal band and this is their fourth album.

This is Classic/Traditional Heavy Metal with a solid sound and songs aplenty.

The style of the music and the singer’s commanding voice takes me back to the days when I was first discovering Heavy Metal. This is straight-ahead Metal with enough influences from the likes of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to keep any Metal fan happy, although it should be stated that Ram have enough personality of their own to avoid Svbversvm coming across as pure hero-worship.

The songs are catchy and do have hooks, but it’s not quite as obvious an affair as you might imagine. Although these elements are here, Ram seem to take more pride in creating songs that work holistically and create a good Metal atmosphere, rather than concentrating on the specifics of individual song parts. This is not to say they don’t have decent riffs and choruses, (they do), but it’s the song as a whole that’s important rather than just parts of it. For me, this approach works and increases the longevity and depth of the songs.

Having said all that though, songs like Holy Death are just pure wonderous aural-sugar and catchy as fuck, so there you go.

The singer’s style and his performance is resolutely Old-School, with his projected attitude and confidence being almost as important as his vocal skills. He knows how to sing that’s for sure, but like the music the emphasis is on feeling and delivery, rather than shiny harmonies and sing-along choruses; after all, this is resolutely Heavy Metal, not Power Metal.

Thankfully they have chosen to present all of this in a solid production that doesn’t over-emphasise the Old-School nature of their style. It’s a thoroughly modern recording that has enough grit and dust to ensure they don’t come across as too polished, while still giving the songs the respect and power they deserve. It’s well-judged, as too much one way or the other would have been to the album’s detriment, I feel.

I like this kind of Heavy Metal; yes there’s a nostalgia factor to it, but ultimately this is a contemporary Metal band existing in 2015 and producing quality music for fans of the classic style. The fact that they do it very well is a bonus.

At 50 minutes in length, this album is a very enjoyable listen and Ram are a most welcome addition to my music collection.

Hail!