Ram-Zet Intra

Intra, the third album by Norway’s Ram-Zet, is ambitiously schizophrenic and only partially pulls it off. Most effective when it’s most haunting, Intra assigns several leads to the violin, using percussive guitars to fill out the rhythm section and layering slightly processed vocal melodies overtop. Variations on this formula, sometimes with vicious snarls that blend industrial and black metal, make the record extremely compelling. Awkward transitions, pop/soft rock female vocals, mathematical grooves, Malmsteen-esque guitar leads — these are the disjointed elements that tend to break down the record’s flow. Disruptions to ordered structures are not necessarily a bad thing, but Intra often feels like it lacks any kind of guiding force or master plan. Though technically impressive, Intra brings new meaning to the definition of harshness in metal and presents a near textbook case of musical ADHD. (Candlelight)