What do you want?...
Mark H. | Hanson, MA USA | 10/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well for starters....bring back the real Judas Priest!!!!! This album is probably the nadir of the catalogue and I'm probably slightly overating it because I really don't like it. 'Ram it Down' as most fans know was the bookend to a project called 'Twin Turbos', part one being 'Turbo' (another story!) and then the present lp. 'Ram' was the heavier of the two but by no means is it any real improvement. The problem is the songwriting...it is so cliched and pedantic! I mean the second track is called "Heavy Metal" for Christ's sake!!!! There are some good songs but the lyrics and choruses are so by-the-numbers...it's laughable. Title track is heavy but man...the speed metal stylings are done so much better by others including the band themselves (what seems like a million years before). It is most definitley "Painkiller" lite! "Blood Red Skies" is very good, probably the best song because it sounds much different from anything the band had done. "Come and Get it" has an awesome riff but man...they sound like another band, one who ripped them off!!! The lyrics and chorus just plain suck!!! "I'm a Rocker" doesn't offend me as much as "Heavy Metal" does but still...why? Do I even need to mention "Johnny B. Goode"!!!?????? What an atrocity!! 'Ram it Down' is the biggest reason why 'Painkiller' is slightly overrated, just look how far they had to come up after this dreck."
A slight correction after "Turbo"...but not enough...
Darth Pariah | North America | 10/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get one thing clear first. "Ram It Down" is NOT "Turbo", thank God, even though some of the tracks were supposedly recorded at the same time.
It IS considerably heavier and more like what one would expect from Judas Priest.
However, as much as I would have liked to have given "Ram It Down" four stars, just for simply being so much better than "Turbo", there are some glaring flaws that cause me to withhold that fourth star.
Probably the main thing is the LYRICS. If anything, Rob Halford has got even more juvenile than he was on "Turbo". Here he's full-on in the mode of trying to provide fist-pumping "anthems" for '80s MTV-heads. On "Heavy Metal" (opening with a head-turning Glenn Tipton guitar solo) it works to a degree, but elsewhere...is he trying to be Kevin DuBrow? ("I'm A Rocker"? BLEURGH!)
The other MAJOR emetic is the truly awful cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". How they got roped into this (it was for a filmtrack for a movie called "Johnny Be Good") is beyond me, unless the record company threatened legal action if they didn't. I think this was a new recording, but it has that "Turbo" sound...
Oh, for those who don't know, around this time they were contemplating recording a "heavy" version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" with disco/pop producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman! It never saw the light of day that I know of (I've never heard it, anyway, and my life is probably better for it), but just to consider that...
However, I did give "Ram It Down" three stars.
First of all, it is quite raw in places. Some people have criticised it for jumping on the "speed metal" bandwagon, but it bears remembering that Priest helped create the form, long before Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth etc were out of high school (viz. "Exciter" and "Freewheel Burning"). The fast tracks (the title track and "Hard As Iron") are very energetic.
I never thought I'd say this, but Dave Holland (his final appearance with Priest before turning up in the British penal system some years ago) does some of his best drumming here. It's still "boxy" sounding, but at least he does a lot more than high-hat/snare/kick over and over.
Halford's voice is, of course, killer - the problem is WHAT he sings, and most of that is dreck, with the exception of the autobiographical "Monsters Of Rock" (Priest were second on the bill to Rainbow at the legendary first Castle Donington "Monsters Of Rock" festival in 1981).
Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing have (mostly) gone back to playing REAL guitars, and the album is better for it. "Love You To Death" is one of their heaviest riffs, though I wonder if Halfie's "preferences" were starting to make themselves known in the lyrics...
I'm going to make a guess at the "Turbo" leftovers...
"Blood Red Skies" - This could have gone on "Turbo" and made it a better album. Here the techno-squawks and drum machine actually work, because they're coupled to a heavier song with more aggressive lyrics.
"Monsters Of Rock" - An epic that builds and builds. Should have been great live.
By the way, I remember reading in "Kerrang!" that they didn't play ANYTHING from "Turbo" on this tour...
This is a worthy purchase, but it shouldn't be one of your first Priest albums, because they were still meandering in direction, which wouldn't receive a full correction until 1990's jaw-dropping "Painkiller".
Three stars, almost four."