I'm going to break with tradition with this review and get my grumble out of the way first and it has absolutely nothing to do with ReVamp or their excellent sophomore album 'Wild Card'. It is to do with how they have been genre tagged on the press sheet. There is no such title as 'Female Fronted Metal' (or Rock) and it does a great disservice to ReVamp. It's tantamount to comparing Lacuna Coil with Holy Moses or Arch Enemy with Doro, which obviously cannot be done, and I will defend that opinion until my last breath! Let us all please stop using this redundant term! Down to business with ReVamp then, and unless you've been hibernating over the last year or so, most of you should have heard the name Floor Jansen; she, of course, being the stand in replacement for Anette Olzon in Nightwish. Jansen first came to my attention in the band After Forever but after they sadly disbanded in 2009 she formed ReVamp and their debut album arrived to very favourable reviews in 2010. I saw the band supporting Epica in early 2011 and was blown away by them. Since then, much has happened. When the tour finished Floor was taken ill and, after recovering, joined Nightwish so it has taken three years for 'Wild Card' to arrive.
Has it been worth the wait? Simple answer is yes it has. 'Wild Card' is a really diverse album without sounding patchy. It is much darker and heavier than the debut and anyone expecting forty five minutes of purely operatic, gothic or symphonic metal is going to be pretty surprised. Granted, there are areas where those genres appear but there is so much more to this album. Jansen's superb vocals have really taken on a whole new feel and she nails everything she sings, even introducing a very convincing harsh growl to her repertoire. This is by no means a one woman show, though, and guitarists Arjan Rijnen & Jord Otto, keyboardist Ruben Wiga, drummer Matthias Landes and new bass player Henk Vonk put in commanding performances throughout.
On an album as accomplished and diverse as this it seems wrong to pick out certain songs to highlight but I do have to mention three part track 'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown' which will probably be seen as the albumís centrepiece. Jansen has always been honest with her lyrics and this is truly written from the heart. Parts one and two, 'On The Sideline' and 'The Limbic System', open the album and, amongst all the fab vocals, riffs and drums is melody in abundance. Part three, 'Neurasthenia', appears later in the album and introduces the genius that is Devin Townsend as special guest and his voice, together with Jansen's, is a match made in heaven! Devin is just one of the guests who appears, though. Mark Jansen (Epica, MaYan & After Forever) supplies growled vocals on 'Misery's No Crime', Marcela Bovio (Steam Of Passion) & DaniŽl de Jongh (Textures) supply fantastic backing vocals throughout and Johan Van Stratum (Stream Of Passion) helped out on bass before Vonk was brought in. 'Wild Card' is the perfect title for this album. You just never know what to expect, yet it works so well together. There is only one word that describes ReVamp and that is 'METAL' and don't let anyone else tell you anything different!
Review by Rick Tilley
23rd August 2013
1) 'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown' On The Sideline
2) 'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown' The Limbic System
3) Wild Card; 4) Precibus
6) 'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown' Neurasthenia
7) Distorted Lullabies; 8) Amendatory
9) I Can Become
10) Misery's No Crime; 11) Wolf and Dog
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"'Wild Card' is the perfect title for this album. You just never know what to expect, yet it works so well together."