ReVamp - ReVamp
Nuclear Blast
Symphonic/Gothic Metal
13 songs (51:48)
Release year: 2010
ReVamp, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat

This, the new project of After Forever’s Floor Jansen, has gone under the radar for many despite being a fairly major event for the genre. It’s hard to see why; as far as I’m aware, After Forever were widely appreciated, and ReVamp is pretty much a continuation of their sound, so where are the fans? Maybe that’s the problem, it didn’t do enough to mark itself out as different, and so sunk beneath a tidal wave of indifference, drowning amongst its many clones. Give the album a listen, however, and it proves itself to be a pretty solid example of the genre, the thunderous opener Here’s My Hell storming in with Power Metal undertones and using its epic choruses to great effect as a powerful symphonic backing pushes the song through its five minute plus running time without letting it grow stale. There’s even a section towards the end where the melodramatic keyboards are given their head, a snarling male vocalist adding a nice touch.

To get the criticism out of the way quickly, it must be said that the album never quite catches up with that brilliant opening. Deciding to make ReVamp over fifty minutes long didn’t help, as it could quite easily have lost a bit of flab without spoiling the experience. Yet having listened to this album numerous times, I find it hard to really blame the band for deciding to keep it this long, as once you’re used to the style it is a very enjoyable fifty minutes. There’s a subtle air of progressive metal to some of the song structures that mixes in well with the catchy bits, and keeps you coming back to even fairly straightforward anthems like Head Up High. You can’t fault the line-up musically, Floor on vocals being joined by Grip Inc.’s Waldemar Sorychta on guitar and bass, Koen Herfst on drums, and After Forever bandmate Joost van den Broek on keyboards. Presumably the latter is the reason for ReVamp’s similarity to the pair’s former project – it’ll be interesting to see what future albums sound like, as if they’re even half as good as some of the tracks here, they’ll be very good indeed.

When I first listened, my attention was immediately caught by the three-part triptych modestly titled In Sickness ‘Til Death Do Us Part. It’s a disappointment, although there are some marks for effort, as an enjoyable hint of Therion-esque dramatic theatre to the first part is followed by Soilwork’s Björn 'Speed' Strid doing his shouty thing in the second, hints of groove metal soon quashed by operatic glory. The last part even sees Floor indulging in a little shouting herself, bringing the experiment to an end in a rather deflatory way –a bit of a missed opportunity, if you ask me, to bring some real prog to town. Still, there’s plenty of good songs elsewhere, Million starting somewhere between Alt Rock and Groove Metal with a melodic gothic undercurrent that suddenly bursts into operatic life and pushes everything up a gear, with a great bit of soloing, too. Symphony X’s Russell Allen gets a chance to show off in a guest appearance on the pleasant ballad-style duet Sweet Curse, and Kill Me With Silence has a nicely moody bit of female foot-stomping. I liked the strident The Trial Of Monsters, and even the piano-backed I Lost Myself is enjoyable, carried along by Floor’s lovely voice.

It’s hard to sum up my feelings about this album. It’s basically a revamp of the After Forever formula, in name as well as style, and isn’t as good as their final self-titled release. Yet despite lacking enough real substance or originality to praise wholeheartedly, it’s too good not to recommend to Floor fans. I can even see ReVamp appealing to Prog Metal fans in search of something relatively undemanding. So my advice is to expect little, give multiple listens, and slowly you’ll discover a rather good album, full of well-written songs that more than plug the Floor-shaped hole in your musical soul. No, there’s nothing that hits the catchy heights of Energize Me. But Ms Jansen’s vocal talent can’t be buried even when the songwriting is a little lacking, and despite its faults this album is more than a suitable showcase – fans should snap it up, and expect even better things if the band can be more adventurous next time.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Here’s My Hell, Head Up High, Sweet Curse, The Trial Of Monsters, Under My Skin
Goat quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by ReVamp that we have reviewed:
ReVamp - Wild Card reviewed by Rob and quoted 86 / 100
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