"Intra" (Candlelight-Tabu; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Without question, I am most intrigued by bands that create music outside of specific and limited genres. Ram-Zet, as I had come to learn even before the first track of “Intra” was over, is one of those bands.

Ram-Zet, hailing from Norway, fundamentally uses a gruff power metal foundation and then utilizes powerful keyboard/industrial elements to really separate them from the pack. Furthermore, violin and other neo-classically tinged passages are used to give added dimensions to the songs. Yet these neo-classical passages never quite push the band into a category that you would describe as symphonic.

Vocally Ram-Zet utilize black metal rasps and operatic vocals; it’s pretty common these days to hear alternating male black metal rasps and operative female vocals, but you get the sense that Ram-Zet were one of the first bands to employ this technique.

Both the music and the vocals develop stark contrasts between the melodies and aggressive growls/riffs to great effect. I’m having a hard time recalling another band that uses this contrast effect as well as Ram-Zet.

“Intra” features nine tracks clocking in at more than 53 minutes. While there are some normal length tracks (ideally anything under 6 minutes) there are five tracks that exceed six minutes and a couple get the cinematic/near-epic treatment. Songwriting outside of the pop realm is unrestricted by song-lengths and narrow arrangements; Ram-Zet have the confidence and abilities to let the songs take on lives of their own and feel/sound like fully realized works of art.

Ram-Zet have been described as innovative and ingenious and I’m not inclined to dispute those adjectives. While mass popularity will not be an element of Ram-Zet’s future the band should appeal to many diverse fans of extreme metal that appreciate diversity and forward-thinking music.

“Intra” definitely falls into the ‘needs many listens to fully appreciate’ category and isn’t for everyone. When pulling from so many different styles it’s impressive to hear a band like Ram-Zet make it work.

Ram-Zet: Flemming “Zet” Rammseth on vocals and guitars, Miriam Elisabeth Renvag on vocals and keyboards, Jon Daniel on bass, Ingvild Johannesen on violin and backing vocals, and Kuth on drums.

For more information visit http://www.ram-zet.com/

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 03 Jun 2024 13:03:50 -0400.