RAM-ZET – Intra

RAM-ZET - Intra


Century Media
Release date: September 6, 2005

User Review
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Norwegian act Ram-Zet, originally the brainchild of long-time Norwegian producer and freelance musician Henning Ramseth, is back with their third full-length release. The band has had some success so far with a Grammy nomination for their debut and gigging with bands such as Borknagar, Finntroll, and Theatre of Tragedy. Ram-Zet has always worked hard to be original, and this is also evident on Intra. The promo sheet describes the music as Psychotic Metal Schizophrenia, and that’s probably not too far off target.

The band mixes Pantera/Sepultura riffing with discordant synths, intense screams, and female operatic vocals, and at times it works very well. The two opening tracks, for example, “The Final Thrill” and “Left Behind As Pieces,” mix the diverse ingredients into a very convincing melting pot and the result is exciting indeed. Sfinx’ (don’t we all love those ingenious nicknames?) female vocals work especially well, and it’s tempting to say that the band works best when they calm things down, like at the 2:54 point in “Left …”. Great stuff indeed.

“Enchanted” is another cool track, and this is the band at their most psychotic. This sounds more like something from a horror movie soundtrack than a six piece band. The Cradle of Filth influence is pretty evident in the bridge part at about 2:10 into it, and the track otherwise consists of very brutal riffing, atonal strings, and several vocal forms.

“Ballet” –- decide for yourself whether the title suits the music or not -– opens very calm, with acoustic guitars and Gregorian-sounding female vocals. A very cool musical melody enters, first presented by Sfinx and then by violinist Sareeta, before things kick off into double-bass mayhem and a Dimmu Borgir-like verse part. Killer stuff. Several parts are introduced, ranging from an In Flames-sounding bridge, to a jazzy, sacral choir part, a pretty scary Bertine Zetlitz meets the witches of Castle Dracula-part, and a new Dimmu-kinda part before the track ends with violin and speedy drums and guitars, like in the intro. This is, as you may have understood by now, pretty difficult to explain in just a few words, but it surely sounds cool, and that’s the most important thing.

”Peace” is a short interlude with some cool guitar work in it, both acoustic and electric. A nice break after its quite infernal predecessor. “And Innocence” is a bit easier to catch, although that really doesn’t say much. This track even has a chorus which is repeated more than once (!). The first two minutes are pretty straight-ahead Goth Metal, before the chorus enters and makes way for a calm, jazzy middle part. The chorus is then repeated again –- the chorus melody is very good, by the way –- before things get a bit more brutal again with very cool riffing topped by haunting violins. Another awesome track.

“Born,” on the other hand, is a bit more on the anonymous side, as the band tries to come up with an almost full-on Black Metal track, an attempt in which they fail. There are several cool parts to be found here too, though. The intro has some good riffing, and the orchestral part in the middle is very cool, but overall this is the weakest track on the album.

“Lullaby For The Dying” is probably as far from a traditional lullaby as possible. This track has a kind of Nevermore feeling to it. The mood is very dark and the riffing is down-tuned and groovy. The soundscape is completed with a church organ in the back, which further adds to the gloomy atmosphere. Still, this track really never takes off completely. Both the male and female vocals sound good, but the track lacks the one killer riff or melodic hook to build upon. The second most boring track.

With such intense music as this, a 9-minute track could maybe be a bit too much of a good thing, but “Closing A Memory,” the album’s closing track, which clocks in at 9:13, actually never becomes boring. It is not up there with the opening four tracks, but is a solid composition. The best part is the part at about 2:40, with the thumpy guitars and choppy violins. Otherwise, the track is dominated by long, swirling melody lines that are nicely pulled off by Sfinx, and the track has a very abstract and atmospheric feel to it.

This is without doubt a very ambitious project, but with very few exceptions, the band, which in addition to Ramseth himself on guitars and vocals, and Sfinx on operatic vocals, consists of the solid team of Küth on drums, Jon on bass, Sareeta on violin, and Magnus on keys and choirs, pull things off excellently. The first four tracks are awesome, and although this high standard is not present all the way through, one cannot help to be impressed by this work. Something for every Metalhead curious of something new and different.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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