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Judas Priest - "Ram It Down, 1988 (re-release)"
CBS Records 2002

With supersonic scream deriving directly form the guts, this album warns that Judas Priest were back with their real heavy metal sound. No trace from polished guitar synthesizers toying, which would twist true engine roars from guitars has been left. Judas Priest didn't abandon the use of synthesizers. Major difference in comparison with "Turbo" is that synthetically deformed guitar sound was used on "Ram It Down" on a very tasty way. And what concerns the synthesizers on Ram It Down, band delivered far accomplished and imaginative addition of those devices, which served on a new record only as background fill in. Now and then this helps to create shivering high climax in songs as for example Blood Red Skies. "Ram It Down" can be therefore understand as sort of homecoming to the roots but at same time another step forward in terms of music quality it offers.

Title's song peak is again instrumental middle section. Again fantastic conversation between K.K. and Glenn, beautiful solos full of shivering melodies divided into more fast lead breaks, fluidly puzzled together and ornamented with razor blade sharp guitar licks and great addition of guitar tremolos. Killing main riff, aggressive singing and thunderous drumming all the way.

Glenn's guitar intro to Heavy Metal only confirms that Judas Priest are no longer fooling around and that there won't be another "Turbo" execution. "Ram It Down" at time of it's release Priest's most lethal and heaviest record. It has only one weakness. It deals with the problem of inconsistence. Songs like Love Zone or Love You To Death somehow don't clap with the rest of material. The rest are all supersonic strikers and fantastic moody drama, a mid tempo song Blood Red Skies. Come And Get It sounds truly dangerous, while follower Hard As Iron means all hell breaks loose. Hard as iron, sharp as steel, definitely yes and beside that also the fastest song on a record. No way you would possible stand still when this steel speed attack enters your ears.

Blood Red Skies is a splendid mellower song full of caught diverse moods which floats down and up throughout the song. It opens through sound effects that are far more tasty than in guitar synthesizer's intro of atmospheric Out In The Cold from previous record. I think K.K. and Glenn learnt a lot in two years what concerns those kind of arrangements. Song wants to explode from strong bursting emotions via Rob's voice. This song is atmospheric peak of a record. What band used is also a few rhythm samples. You can hear that in fantastic cover song Johnny B. Goode (org. performed by C. Berry) and rumbling metal hymn that closes this record called Monsters Of Rock. Dave Holland drums conventionally but as a background layer, Judas Priest added those drum samples. It widens the sound and fulfills it, and makes entire sound to be even more compact and louder. Obviously band liked that sound and it really contributes to grater atmosphere and firmness of a songs.

We have another two excellent live bonuses Night Comes Down and Bloodstone, With no mistake, just pure Priest's steeling all the way. Anyway, I am a bit frustrated, because there is no material from "Ram It Down" that have been live performed on offical releases to find. Hope we'll got some in the future from the band.

Nevertheless that "Ram It Down" contains the heaviest sound so far, it does not reaches the same level of consistency like albums "British Steel", "Screaming For Vengeance" and "Defenders Of The Faith" do. Because of two aforementioned weak points Love Zone and Love You To Death. Don't get me wrong, "Ram It Down" is an excellent album and with songs like Ram It Down, Hard As Iron, Heavy Metal and I'm A Rocker, Judas Priest clearly shown to masses in which directions they are going to with next studio effort.

Author:   Aleš

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