Monday, January 19, 2004

Review: Battle Ram - Battle Ram (2003)

Battle Ram [ Website | MySpace ]
Battle Ram

Italian metal purists Battle Ram came together in 2001 as a cover band playing tunes from metal legends Omen, Cirith Ungol, and Manilla Road. Less than two years later they've released their first demo of original tunes (and one cover) and their adherence to those who've inspired them is commendable.

This self-titled demo recording is an ode to the aforementioned bands and the era in which they reigned. Singer Daniele Di Loreto is no Tim Baker, but his higher range style, and occasional soaring falsetto, fits the music like a glove. Never sounding strained or forced, Daniele delivers the goods in the spirit of Steve Bridges (Witchfynde) and Kevin Heybourne (Angelwitch). The twin guitar assault from Davide Natali and Gianluca Silvi is above average and drives the music home. The crushing riffs of "Dark Command" are particularly noteworthy, as are the anthemic leads of "The Vow". The ominous and threatening mood set at the beginning of "Battering Ram" belies the thundering riffs and soaring wails from Daniele as the song progresses. This is my pick as the standout track, as much for the changing tempos as for the fervid guitar solo and gang chorus. The final track of the demo is "Join The Legion", a cover Cirith Ungol's timeless song. I have mixed feelings about Battle Ram's version, as musically it is a fine rendition but vocally leaves something to be desired. Perhaps it's just that Tim Baker is, well, Tim Baker. To me it's sort of when you hear "The Trooper" you expect to hear Bruce's distinctive voice, and anything else just falls terribly short. The production of this demo is quite raw, but that plays right in to this sounding even more like it was recorded in 1983 rather than 2003 - and in this case it's a good thing.

Should Battle Ram continue churning out metal of the sort displayed on their demo, then classic metal fans take note. Equally exciting as a band breaking new ground within the genre is a band who can add a touch of freshness to the tried-and-true sound of days gone by, which is exactly what Battle Ram appears to be able to do.

Track Listing
1 Burning Lives
2 The Vow
3 Dark Command
4 Battering Ram
5 Join The Legion

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