"From Dark Waters"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Finland's Inverse Records is a label that I'm generally not too enthused about. Much of their output seems second-tier and inferior. That helps to make RAMLORD's "From Dark Waters" such a pleasant surprise. This is one of the label's very best efforts and RAMLORD is a band that could easily be on larger labels like Metal Blade or Century Media.

I can think of no better description of the band's music than simply "heavy metal". There is no trace of subgenres like thrash or doom in the songs here. I understand RAMLORD used to have a much more black metal influence and in fact, one of the band's members was in IMPALED NAZARENE at one time, but there is ZERO black metal on "From Dark Waters". It is purely and simply heavy metal and not overly "retro", either. The songs are heavy but have a relaxed and highly listenable feel to them. "Love of the Damned" and "Hell Is Here and Now" have what can only be described as a "peppy" and "upbeat" tone that's fun to listen to. That description might make it sound poppy, but there's nothing overly sappy about the tunes. They have overtones of the 80's and even the 70's without sounding forced. The vocals remind me a lot of Blaze Bayley in tone and earth-shattering screams or roars, but a clear, strong tone.

Some other tracks worth investigation are the progressive and involved "Chained God" featuring great guitar work and the crunchy, in your face anthem "Non Serviam". A look at song titles reveals a certain dark side to the band and perhaps that is found in the lyrics, but the overall sound of RAMLORD is positive and heavy. Taneli Jarva of Finnish legends SENTENCED puts in a guest appearance and you might be able to connect the mid-period of that band to RAMLORD as well. All in all, I was quite satisfied with this record and recommend it if you're looking for pure metal!