Seriously, ram it down!
So I was at a mall the other day that I don’t normally go to when found this little nugget. I thought I was just killing time before I headed back out to the highway (haha), but I snatched up the almost unheard of “Ram it Down” both as a growing Priest fan and knowing this album came out between Turbo and Painkiller, both which I would place in my Priest top five (that’s right, Turbo’s awesome).
I suppose I was a bit taken back.
Sure in my travels over the inter web I saw the usual “OMG underrated gem!” reviews for “Ram it Down” that you’ll honestly find for any band’s less known work.
This is not only Judas Priest in the prime of their entire career, but its also a very “pure” sounding Judas Priest. Heavier than Turbo or even Defenders, sharper sounding than Painkiller. This is straight up heavy metal as it should be: complete with plenty of precise and layered riffs combined with the usual epic lyrical hooks and Halford’s clean vocals plus bonus trademark screaming (and lots of it!). They even add to their small but surreally perfect pocket of covers with “Johnny B. Goode,” a song which even still kinda just makes me want a cheeseburger and malted beverage. Slings and arrows, my friends.
“But I that sounds just like an ordinary Judas Priest record!”
Yes and no. Hear me out, “Ram it Down” was the precursor to Painkiller and to date was the band’s heaviest album. Since the album did follow Turbo, and was also released a good fifteen years into Priest’s career, we essentially have them here at the height of their power giving us precise and structured songs with a touch of Metallica (given their rise and metal’s current state) and a gentle kiss of the 80’s.
“But eww, Turbo!”
My disdain for this exclamation aside, “Ram it Down” is not Turbo. Besides being released in the 80’s and following Turbo, this album honestly to me sounds more like a mix between Painkiller and Defenders rather than anything like Turbo. The album does have a pinch of ’80’s energy (definitely not a bad thing), but the track “Blood Red Skies” is the only one to adopt anything close to the “80’s sound.” Frankly though its one of the best on the album. *snap*
“But I haven’t heard of anything on the album!”
Its true that Judas Priest don’t perform much from this album and aside from “Johnny B. Goode” there aren’t really any fan favorites. I’m here to change that; if the frankly-mediocre Point of Entry can receive unanimous praise than theres no reason for this album to be left without a single review or even a rating on iTunes!
As heavy metal fans you NEED to download the title track, “Heavy Metal,” “Hard as Iron,” and perhaps “I’m a Rocker."
“Blood Red Skies” and “Johnny B. Goode” are two of the album’s best and I feel approachable to more casual fans of the genera.
If you’re a big Judas Priest fan that just doesn’t own this album yet, you should also appreciate the slow and moody “Monsters of Rock;” it reminded me a bit of “A Touch of Evil” and “Secrets of the Dead” from Redeemer of Souls.
The rest of the album is just above or around okay, but its definitely listenable which is more than I can say for a lot of albums. “Ram it Down” is at the end of the day a 3.5 or 4 out of 5, but fact that it has just such a wonderful overall sound mixed with some truly great and underrated songs is why I rate it a five. Perhaps listening to any Judas Priest while going 60+ mph on a highway is going to enhance the experience, but I stand by my words.
Now seriously, go ram this record down, into your face!!! It sounds violent but you’ll thank me.