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Too much effort can easily be spent trying to classify Ram-Zet, which is to the group's credit, as they create quite a dynamic and distinct progressive racket. Perhaps because of their Norwegian homeland's history of noisy black metal, the term has been used occasionally to describe Ram-Zet's edgy power/industrial/progressive metal. Without the death-like vocal blasts of bandleader Zet — which are punctuated on Ram-Zet's recordings by frequent dashes of silky smooth, almost angelic hooks — the black and death metal comparisons would be a stretch. But however this group is classified, their power and fearlessness is undeniable.
Formed by guitarist/vocalist Zet in 1998, Ram-Zet started out as a project for the musician to experiment with the metal form. After Zet had worked up some material, he recruited bassist Solem to help finish the first Ram-Zet demo in 1999. No stranger to metal experimentation, Solem's resumé included stints with TNT guitarist Ronnie Le Tekro. Rhythmic technician Küth soon joined Zet and Solem completing an early band lineup that gave new meaning to the term "power trio." With his polyrhythmic and double-kick abilities, Küth was just what this outfit needed to serve their complex musical ambition. The group was quickly snatched up by Spikefarm Records and released their full-length debut, Pure Therapy, in 2000. The daring sound of Pure Therapy — self-recorded at the group's own studio — won Ram-Zet many fans, especially among the Scandinavian metal scene, as critics, musicians, and fans alike came to appreciate the stylistic accomplishment of the diverse, but aggressive recording that tweaked black/industrial metal with some interesting outside influences. This cacophonous prog had a raw signature that instantly solidified the Ram-Zet's place among their country's most prestigious metal outfits.
A full lineup was solidified to support the debut when vocalist Sfinx, keyboardist Magnus, and violinist Sareeta joined Ram-Zet in order to bring their strange music to the stage. Many performances (including a few high-profile festival shows) then followed in 2001, mostly in Ram-Zet's Scandinavian homeland. Pure Therapy was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy, demonstrating the new band's immediate and impressive impact on a fickle and overcrowded metal market. Buoyed by their success, Ram-Zet returned to the studio to record the concept record Escape. Released through Century Media in the U.S. and distributed throughout the world, this follow-up eclipsed Pure Therapy in every meaningful category. More melodic than their prior effort, Escape features Sfinx's crystalline vocal work heavily, thereby offsetting Zet's throat mutilating cries. The bizarre call and response of Zet and Sfinx gave Escape a rare emotional tone that is perhaps the band's greatest accomplishment up to that point. Both more sophisticated and heavier, the sophomore effort also features Küth's perpetually churning drums that lend a mechanical grace to Escape. Melodic and memorable, Ram-Zet symbolizes a kind of European belief in metal as a real art, with creative parameters to be acknowledged if not entirely respected.