A Hard Rock quartet from Sweden, Battering Ram’s sound is straight to the point, uncomplicatedly big rock and roll – with their aptly titled second album Second To None (Uprising Records) full of sizable riffs and choruses, with a Volbeat, Judas Priest, and nineties era Metallica flavour to it.
‘What I’ve Become’ kicks things off, with a pleasingly metallic chug leading us into a hooky chorus amplified by Johan Hallström’s powerful vocals. This, and the follow-up ‘Too Late’, with its thick groove and eighties guitar licks, set the pace for the whole record – relentlessly frenetic, hook-heavy, metal. Their sound is not groundbreaking but the songs are decent, with plenty of hummable riffs paired with nice and hefty production values.
The best example is ‘Pieces’, a catchy mix of NWOBHM-like speed and soaring solos and Volbeat-esque rock radio harmonies. Part of the problem though is that they do not let up, nearly forty minutes of bombastic metal with nary a change of pace dulls its charms by the end. The Judas Priest-like guitar licks of ‘Ram You Down’, and the pounding drums and crunching eighties metal of ‘Hold On’ are good but they start to merge into one another after a while. A bit of variety would cut through the mire and give the album more balance.
Following in the long line of songs named after bands, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Angel Witch and Black Sabbath to name but a few, is final track ‘Battering Ram’. A bit of variety is partly introduced here, a refreshingly slow and moody intro gives way to a mid-paced, heavy onslaught that accelerates towards a slow burning, earworm of a chorus. It is a much welcomed note on which to end Second To None, a slicky produced, if too top heavy, slab of Metal with hefty riffs and hearty choruses.
6 / 10