Article by: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist ‡ Edited by: Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor
When it comes to music, first and foremost I am a metalhead – and that will always remain true, I expect up to the very end.
Sure, I like rock too, and all the countless, myriad genres and sub-genres, and micro-genres, etc., etc. of both it and metal. So, needless to say, I am always excited when I discover a new (to me anyway) metal band… and in this case, it is one that’s also Nu-Metal, to a slight degree. Yet also quite progressive, melodically thrashy, and contemporary like nobody’s business.
Their name? RAMAGE INC. from Edinburgh, UK and though they are new to me, evidently they have issued material as far back as 2004’s ‘Universe‘ album. That was followed by the ‘Screaming Melodies‘ EP in 2008, the full-lengths ‘Feel The Waves‘ (2013) and ‘Earth Shaker‘ (2015), and along the way, a 2014 home video release, ‘Live @ProgPower Europe‘.
In fact, RAMAGE INC. just wrapped playing this year’s edition of the prestigious ProgPower Europe, so it somewhat befuddles me how I’ve missed out on this band until now. But, now it is, October 2018 actually, and RAMAGE INC. have recently issued their newest full-length recording, ‘Under The Skin‘, via their own Ramage Productions.
The band itself is the eponymous project of producer / vocalist / guitarist Bryan Ramage, alongside bassist Marcin Buczek, guitarist Allan “Hef” Forsyth, and drummer Paul “Hammy” Hameed. Together, this quartet craft powerful, metallic intensity rife with unbridled energy and riddled with tight-knit intricacies within their playing.
I have read where RAMAGE INC. are referred to as “Scotland’s best kept secret” and I am unquestionably inclined to agree with such a comment. Over the span of this latest album’s 12 tracks, the guys go all out and render an incredibly stunning opus, but it all begins with the emotion-evoking intro “Blood Is Burning Red“. With a start of subtle chant-like utterances, soon there are soaring guitars and chunky rhythms firing away in unison.
This all leads us into the album’s title track, “Under The Skin“, an enthralling swelter of swarming riffs and melodic thrashing. With wide-ranging, clean vocals augmenting things, the results are quite fantastic and thoroughly superb when it comes to top-notch progressive metal.
That fact is reinforced in song after song, each an aural exploration into a massive scope of impressive metal ala “Overload“, “Rhino“, or “Flames“. Some of the best moments come with the unleashing of any restraints, where songs like “Journey To Peace” or “At One With Many Mountains” begin to hint at a much heavier element to this music.
That unfiltered heaviness finds its way to the forefront on one of the more muscular cuts, the stellar “Strive“. With sweeping guitars fueling it right from the start, there is a doom-y undercurrent to things, one that soon takes the lead in some crushing, juggernaut-like riffs. It all serves to power up the song, as it soon escapes and careens into a frenzied sonic assault.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s also myriad ambient and atmospheric nuances ever-present in this music. At times, it is of minor notice, barely there, or just bubbling beneath the surface, so to speak, but at others, ones like “Pale Blue Dot” and “Alone“, it is the undeniable crux of the composition.
Riff Relevant invites you to stream RAMAGE INC. ‘Under The Skin‘ above or you can go to Bandcamp [HERE] for further streaming and purchase options. I must add that this music is definitely going to generate comparisons to several of the Devin Townsend-connected acts like Devin Townsend Project, Ocean Machine, and even to some lesser degree, Strapping Young Lad… but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, right?!