RAMAGE INC – Under The Skin – (Album Review)

A Little About The Band:

Ramage Inc are a Scottish band based in and around Edinburgh. This 4-piece have been around since 2012 having released 2 albums and an EP.

The band won through a number of heats to play Bloodstock Metal Festival in 2016. They so impressed on the New Blood stage they were invited back the following year to play the much larger Sophie tent as the half day headliners! They have also played Prog Power Europe twice as well in 3 years.

Started up by producer-guitarist and vocalist Bryan Ramage they play heavy progressive music with plenty of melody yet still sounding lovely and brutal. Without a doubt, they are influenced by Devin Townsend (they guys seem happy to admit this) which is by no means a bad thing. Bryan is joined by Marcin Buczek on bass, Allan Forsyth (known as “Hef”) on guitar and Paul Hameed (of course known as “Hammy”) on drums.

The 12 tracks that make up the self-released Under The Skin are full of mood, atmosphere, intricate playing and powerful drumming. There are plenty of sections where they let the music speak for itself with a couple being instrumental apart from odd chanting adding to their curious vibe. They do use voices a bit like Devin as an extra instrument adding that almost wall of sound at points.

Song Highlights From The Album:

For me, the standout tracks are firstly “Journey To Peace” which starts off with a fabulously heavy riff and very throaty vocals (although still clear enough to understand) and has some frenetic drumming three-quarters of the way through. The “Live, Love” chants at the end are glorious and live should be a huge amount of fun for the audience.

Ramage Inc The Band

Strive” which they made a video for (see below) has a nice commercial feel to it yet has some impressive drumming and a delicious guitar solo. Nearer the end the music chugs along underpinned with weird chanting and is quite captivating. I can see some serious headbanging when played live that is for sure. Even then there is a drum fill which adds to the fun of the track.

The soaring guitar solo over the opening riff on “Rhino” is majestic. From there it goes into that jumpy fast guitar soloing before going into the actual body of the song. A song which at times is fast yet never anything other than melodic.

Pale Blue Dot” has a slow start but builds up leading to a thoughtful and well-constructed guitar solo. The chants made me think of Iceland or at least Viking chanting preparing for battle. Then again maybe that is JUST me!

Last song “Alone” in parts could be part of a movie soundtrack. It is symphonic sounding, orchestral (but without the orchestra). Once again they allow the music to shine, at first gently taking the listener on a journey that twists into part disturbing and sad yet uplifting at the same time. The riffs are dark but the guitar/orchestration is hopeful and soothing. A fine combination of moods all in 5 minutes!

The longest track at 8 minutes is also the best for me. “Overload” it is called and is in practice. There is so much going on in the song. It starts quite melodious but changes into something almost quite discordant as he sings about all the “disinformation”, encouraging us to “turn off the television, unplug the radio” and to get off all the “social media” before the song comes crashing down around itself, or at least until the melody begins again. Just when you think it is ending, slowing down it boots in yet again with Bryan screaming “don’t let the world bring you down” over an urgent riff. If it sounds chaotic at times it hits the mark on the basis of all the noisy confusion around us in the world today.  Splendidly put together piece of music and as I said the real high point of a very impressive album.

Final Thought:

For those who love melodic progressive metal, this is an album to purchase. Sterling work all round.

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