Swedish traditional heavy metal band RAM is back with their third full-length album, titled Death. Old school heavy metal with an emphasis on the darker themes is all the rage lately (see Ghost, In Solitude and Portrait), but RAM has been flying that banner for several years now, and they do it really well.
With Death, RAM continues to deliver powerful heavy metal with a clear worship of the classic sounds. Iron Maiden (especially the first two albums) is an obvious influence, as are Judas Priest and Accept to some degree. It's the combination of heaviness and a darker, grittier aesthetic that bring to mind bands like Mercyful Fate, Hell, Angel Witch and Black Sabbath (any era, really). Unlike say, Enforcer, who have a shinier, more melodic approach, RAM tends toward the heavy, doomier side, and with vocals that are a bit rough. They do a brilliant job capturing that 1980-82 sinister heavy metal sound, and while old school is obviously the name of the game Death never sounds gimmicky.
If you're a disciple of the old school NWOBHM-inspired heavy metal sound, it really doesn't get much better than this (well, this and Angel Witch's comeback album As Above So Below). Death is the perfect album for those of us who still have those classic Angel Witch, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate albums on steady rotation.