Ram – Svbversvm (Metal Blade Records)

Genre: Heavy metal

Looking for originality, progression or subtlety? Svbversvm is best avoided. If, however, you’re hankering after the Judas Priest of old (or at least the Painkiller era) then Ram’s latest is a must: this is brazen, balls-out heavy metal, a fist pumping, neck snapping celebration of denim, loud guitars and studded leatherwear.

The Gothenburg quintet also know how to write a tune or two: granted, they’re a touch histrionic in places (see the title track), but opener Return of the Iron Tyrant unleashes a whirlwind of devilish riffs that would do Downing and Tipton proud, and Eyes of the Night is classic metal with an enormous chorus that should have Ram’s acolytes salivating. The Usurper, meanwhile, is a more mid-paced effort which brings Maiden – or even Dio – to mind, and features some fine leadwork to boot.

True, Svbversvm would have benefited from a more muscular production – and from shedding a bit of fat. However, when Ram play in top gear, they’re hugely entertaining, as their fourth album proves. Metal Gods? Not quite, but these boys boast plenty of Swedish steel.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Ramming speed