The first thing that you will find out when you start listening to this album is that you are listening to a good classic Heavy Metal work. And why wouldn’t you think that, considering that you have one of the most representative bands in the Heavy Metal Media. "Ram It Down" is a good album. It is a return to the roots of a band that had a strange turn with "Turbo". Back to the basics I might say.
When you push play at the start of it, it immediately involves you to the times of how Heavy Metal started. You’ll listen to great rhythms with heavy riffs, powerful drums giving the tune for head banging and, of course, a very versatile voice that invites you to join singing every word of the song as an anthem. Yeah, this is classic PRIEST, and probably it is too “classic” for an album that is released prior to the 90’s. Even though the album sounds great, you surely expect something more from a big name like these guys. This could’ve been a good debut album for some rookie band, but for JUDAS PRIEST is like being the best student in the science class and the best you can come up is with an ant farm. It surely will get you an A but you will leave everyone expecting for more. I am trying to explain that a good album depends on what band releases it.
Talking about the songs, I can tell that if you are fan just for the music you will be enjoying a great production. The powerful guitar duo Tipton – Downing shows once again their talent combining great riffs and excellent solos. Rob Halford delivers a great performance making these tunes tremble with his powerful voice. Unfortunately, the lyrics are probably an important weakness considering that they keep saying that Metal rules and Heavy Metal is great, rock and roll, sex, etc. We heard that all the time during the 70’s and the 80’s so lyric writing creativity was not a exactly updated on this one considering that it speaks about Heavy Metal’s main stereotypes, which actually can make this album sound outdated.
You immediatly notice this when you read the name of the songs like "Monster Of Rock", "Heavy Metal", "Love Zone" and "Come And Get it"; most of them sound like covers from albums from 70’s Glam songs. They are heavy and well executed but the lyrics don’t help. Some of them (Especially |Monster Of Rock|) can get you tired quick. The only real cover is not even a good one. For me, “Johnny B. Goode” is the worst song in the album as it doesn’t keep the essence of the original and it was devastated with arrangements that were completely unnecessary for an already great song. It is by far the poorest effort for a cover, when everytime they did great. Overall the tracks are not bad, but none of them would stand out in other JUDAS PRIEST Albums.
My personal favorite tunes are the title track “Ram It Down” and "Blood Red Skies". The first one is the fastest meanest JUDAS PRIEST you can find. Technically perfect with a great pace that reminds you of great times from "Screaming For Vengeance". The second tune brings great composition and incredible management of tech music. It is one of the best works as a whole from the band. Rob Halford shows a lot of power along this song and the creativity that the band can reach in their songs.
The album is generic if I had to put it in just one word, It may have two perceptions: If you have been around for JUDAS’ full career, you will enjoy it. If this is just first album it will give you a great idea of what to expect in previous albums; Hardcore Metal fans may find it “cheesy” What I can tell you is that it isn’t different or innovative to the JUDAS PRIEST discography, but it certainly was an album that they needed to recover the public's confidence that these veterans still can deliver the goods.
(Online October 29, 2010)