Review Summary: Follows the Turbo trend. A cliche 80s album, but not as bad as Turbo.
Ram it Down is hard to describe. At first, I listened to the title track and Hard as Iron. That made me think it was a great album, until I listened to the whole thing.
In 1986, Judas Priest was supposed to release a double album called Twin Turbo. One side was intended to be commercially friendly material, and the other a more Priest-like sound. Instead, Turbo was released in 1986. The scrapped material from the heavier side of Twin Turbo was used to create the basis of Ram It Down. Judas Priest were better off abandoning this material. In a matter of a few years, they put out Painkiller. This album should have been more like that.
To point out, drummer Dave Holland was having medical issues during the recording of this album. Thus, Judas Priest opted to use a drum machine for most of the album.
Also, this was the last album that Tom Allom produced with Priest. As usual, the production was good on this album like the other classics he produced (British Steel, Defenders of the Faith).
The lyrics for Ram it Down are cliche, since it was meant for the Twin Turbo album. The album overall lacks originality in terms of the lyrics (Love Zone, Heavy Metal, Monsters of Rock).
On the other hand, Rob Halford delivers another kick ass vocal performance (he is the metal god).
The music to the album is strong. Tipton and Downing deliver the classic guitar sound that they are famous for. The guitar solos are very strong (Ram it Down, Hard as Iron, Johnny B. Goode). Ian also delivers some good bass lines.
The only musical complaint is the drums. As mentioned, the band utilized a drum machine. The drum machine gives a more glossy sound, and takes away from the metal sound. It would have been nice if Hard as Iron was performed on a real drum kit.
Overall, not the strongest Judas Priest effort. It sounds like a cliche 80s album (Released in 1988).
Ram it Down
Hard as Iron
Johnny B. Goode