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Ram - Where (In Conclusion) CD (album) cover

WHERE (IN CONCLUSION)

Ram

 

Heavy Prog

3.56 | 26 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A short lived early Seventies American band, Ram delivered the confusingly titled `Where? (The Conclusion)' in 1972 and promptly vanished a year later, with their sole album becoming a quietly prized rarity ever since. The band played a mix of heavy rock and spacey psych with touches of blues and jazz, and it reminds of everything from Atomic Rooster, Raw Material, Jimi Hendrix, Nosferatu and Cream, with little traces of the intensity of Van der Graaf Generator to the sax, flute and clarinet driven passages, as well as the heaviness of Hawkwind's deep-space explorations lightly filtered through here and there too.

Opener `The Want In You' is a rollicking and infectious rock groover spiked with sax blasts, sparkling Hammond organ, darting flute and no shortage of wailing electric guitar histrionics. `Stoned Silence' alternates between If-like jazz-fusion twists, tougher R&B blasts and softly mysterious introspection, and `Odyssey' is a floating and delicately romantic flute-driven instrumental reflection. `The Mothers Day Song' is a raunchy smoulder of Hendrix-flavoured bluesy lustiness, and while overwrought lines like `Today's Mumma's Day, so if you wanna be a mumma, COME UP TO MY ROOM AND PLAY!!!' are excruciating, it's pretty clear that the song is a making light of the hedonistic rock-star ego cliché, vocalist Dennis Carbone even uttering `They tell me I'm a big star, I gotta get it on'! Luckily there's also some cool Van der Graaf Generator-style dirty wafting sax thrown into the middle, and it culminates in a huffing flute and heavy crushing drum 'n guitar stormy rumble!

But it's all about the twenty-one minute side-long piece `Aza', an unhurried multi-part suite laced with eerie mystery, delicious dream-like ambiance and a noisier scuzzy danger. Other-wordly treated vocal harmonies drift in every direction around ethereal siren-like Mellotron veils and guitars that move between shimmering drones and Pink Floyd-ian cutting bluesy piercing. The piece explodes into a calamitous din of relentless maddening drumming, mud-thick bass spasms and crashing chugging slab-like guitar riffs with twisting/turning mangled soloing. It not only reminds of the more raucous outbursts of Italian band Osanna's `Il Castello Dell'Es' opener off their `Landscape of Life' album that came later in '74, but you'll also wonder if the Mars Volta overdosed on this piece to form a blueprint for parts of their own sound! Strangled sax and darting flute takes us to Hawkwind's search for space and the gnashing schizophrenic violence of Van der Graaf Generator, and distorting electronics bleed over cool jazzy groves before the band are sucked into a tormented sonic vacuum for eternity.

While it might be pushing things to consider Ram's album an essential disc, `Where? (In Conclusion)' proves to be a constant grower of an LP that becomes hugely satisfying on replays, and in its own little way had plenty of great ideas that the band never got to further develop on further albums. The Relics label reissue makes the disc a lot easier to track down now, so those wanting to expand their collection with lesser-known prog/psych-related gems that hold great value and plenty of exciting music should enjoy this tasty one.

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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