Signed to Metal blade records and with a new album out in the form of ‘Death’, RAM embody the very spirit of heavy metal. Leather-clad and gloriously passionate about all things metal RAM are a band that any red-blooded metal fan should be rushing to check out.
Formed in 1999 “sick of the misinterpretation of metal that ruled the scene back then“, Harry Granroth crafted a band destined to reassert the true power of heavy metal and bring it, kicking and screaming, to the music-loving masses. Some three albums and an EP later and RAM are still here, fighting to keep the flame of metal burning brightly with ace tracks such as ‘Defiant’ (check out the embedded player) and we felt it high time to catch up with the band and get their take on things, hence this interview with mighty-lunged vocalist Oscar Carlquist who found the time to answer our questions.
Everything about RAM screams of old school heavy metal blood and thunder – which act first spoke to you as individuals and encouraged you to fly the flag for heavy metal?
We all grew up with the classic Heavy metal bands even though there is some age difference between us we have that in common. To me it’s what always wanted to play but I neever thought that I would acctually find a band that could pull it off because to play the Old School style with such respect and understanding that we are doing is no easy thing. I would say that it is probably the hardest of all metal styles to master since you have to sound classic but be innovative at the same time.
Your third album, ‘death’ came out in January on the mighty Metal Blade records – how did you come to be signed to Metal Blade and why did you choose them to be your musical home?
We wanted to work with a good strong label and Metal Blade is just that, they have been around since the dawn of american Heavy Metal and they know their way around the business.
The band’s biography crucially states that RAM was formed due to your dissatisfaction with the ‘misinterpretation of metal’ – what exactly was it that frustrated you so much and do you think that the metal scene has improved subsequently?
When we formed the band we were really sick of these bastard hybrids of styles that were emerging, the norm then was to bring to surface that you had a lot of other influences that just metal music. To us it was a form of blasphemy but more importantly it sounded like shit. We felt a need to show the world how metal was to be played stripped from everything but its original power and glory. So we formed RAM to be a fundament, a monolith of power, indestructible and incorruptible erected in the honour of the rebellion that is Heavy Metal.
Only three albums in nine years – how come the lengthy gaps between releases?
You forgot our E.P Sudden Impact that was released in 2003. The big gap was between Forced Entry and Lightbringer, but we had line up problems and label issues to consider so that aside we have not been that slow. Anyway a RAM album will be released when its ready for release there are no powers in the world that could influences us to release something that we did not feel was completely ready.
What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients of classic heavy metal?
The most important thing is the attitude; that you are working with sonic rebellion. The music has to stir a passion for freedom within the listener; it has to be relief and empowering at the same time. In comparison to say Black or Death Metal I see those styles as powerful explosions, devastating everything around, while perfectly executed Heavy Metal is a killing bullet from a snipers rifle, two different approaches to the same goal.
The new album, ‘death’, has blistering production – did it take you a long time to find the right sound?
No, we sound checked for 2 days I think. We brought some reference albums to the studio, stuff like restless and wild by Accept and Per and Olle knew directly what we were after, so it was no struggle.
In 2012 you supported Watain who obviously offer a very different brand of metal to your own – how did those shows go and what was the highlight of the tour?
Watain and RAM are two sides of the same coin. We want to attack the establishment but we have different means for it and we have different reasons for it. That is why we can share the same stage even though we are so different musically. The highlight of the tour was definitely our gig at Nordfest festival in Sundsvall; that was an amazing gig for us.
What inspires the lyrics for RAM – are there any particular bands/themes or works of literature that inspire you?
I read a lot, mostly facts and theory mainly philosophy. We can be influenced by any work of art that has quality to it and that is somewhat subversive.
When can we expect RAM to bring the metal to the UK and what can we expect from the live show?
You can expect the Heavy metal Tyranny in full effect, Bang your Head or lose it!
With very positive reviews for the new album and a growing fan base, what’s next for RAM?
We want to hit the road, and we will start writing a new record.
Any final words for our readers?
HEAVY METAL TYRANNY!
All photos 2011 Magnus Lindgren