Review Summary: "I am the unpredictable"
Ram-Zet is one of those oddly unheard of bands out there. It's certainly not for lack of quality work; their production has never been bad, and they seemingly always know exactly what they want... Or, should I say, Zet
has always known what he wants. Not to be confused with a certain nemesis of the Power Rangers of a similar name, I've only read a few words from him, but screamer and songwriter Zet calls the shots, and he is a man of very specific vision. Even dropping members when their part ceases to be included in his machinations. Very specific vision.
The immediate question is; "And what vision is that?" Well, I would say the opening track very deliberately smashes your face in with it. "The Final Thrill"
crashes at you with metallic tone and tremelo picking... But there seems to be more creeping in the background, subtle atmospheric touches... And sometimes, not so subtle. The intro falls away, and Zet's quirky, raspy voice comes in over swirling synth. Before you know it, his rasp rises to a scream and the guitar thrashes about violently, leading us next into a haunting, melodic chorus, courtesy of the band's other vocalist. Sfinx voice is a perfect contrast to Zet's, as it is smooth and ethereal.
Is that all? No. Violins make their presence known, adding extra melodies and counter-melodies, sometimes in the spotlight, sometimes supporting other instruments. Piano pokes its head into songs, never screaming to be heard, but adding texture to tickle the ears. Bells ring low, industrial sounds buzz here and there. And I think that that really does go a long way. Fans of heavily layered music can find something new in songs, even after hearing them multiple times. This is a good band for that for those who enjoy picking through and looking for nuance.
really represents all of their tendencies, transitioning between atmospherics and brutality at a slow, building pace. It also hints that they're not afraid to take their time or make their songs as long as they see fit- though that was clearly indicated earlier by the seven minute "Enchanted"
. This tendency isn't always a good thing. On other albums it's gotten the best of them and left listeners with not a single song under six minutes. In fact, most songs topped over seven minutes. They showed restraint on this album, keeping the songwriting, for the most part, very tight. (Though, if you are allergic to long songs, watch out for the 9:13 closer "Closing a Memory"
A highlight of the album for the heavier side of the band would have to be "Born"
. Filled with tricky, fast-paced, palm muted riffs, it's possibly the album's most intense offering. For the lighter side of the band, "And Innocence"
showcases almost entirely melodic vocals, filled with eerie harmonies and subtle stop-start transitions. Zet only rears his head in passages after each chorus- because I guess the man just can't stay our of any of his songs. He is obviously on the self-indulgent side, but it has often taken large egos to produce great work.
But that's about it, if the songwriting could be tightened to overcome the frontman's inclination towards self-indulgence, this would be a 5. As is, this seems such a small flaw, because everything else is so cohesive, so energetic and well thought out. Ram-Zet is truly exceptional. Now... If only they could escape obscurity.