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ReVamp - Wild Card - 93%

Twin_guitar_attack, March 8th, 2014

Released in the second half of last year, was the second album from Revamp, the new band formed by Floor Jansen following the demise of After Forever. After suffering from burnout and completely leaving music for a year, Floor was asked to join Nightwish to replace Anette Olzon in the middle of the Imaginaerum world tour to fill in for the remaining dates, and has since joined as a permanent member. After the tour finished, a re-energized Floor set to writing the follow up to 2010′s self titled, and the album Wild Card was released.

The first thing you notice on this album is how much heavier it is compared to the debut album. Perhaps because of her burnout, there were a lot of negative emotions she needed to get out, and it comes across in every aspect of the music. Heavy chugging riffs and grooving sections are interspersed with keyboards and choirs contributing a symphonic flavour to the album. Guitar and keyboard solos are also used and give the album a progressive edge, while heavy drumming and lots of growling add to the heaviness and atmosphere of this rather diverse album. The most symphonic track on the album is Distorted Lullabies, which is one of my favourite tracks, it just has everything. Fantastic vocals, heavy riffs, symphonic sections and catchy melodies.

Floor’s voice on this album is just staggering. She’s one of my favourite singers, and she puts in a very diverse performance here, definitely one of her best. She can belt out powerful emotional melodies to match anyone, while also able to growl, sing beautifully soft passages, and use her operatic voice to incredibly dramatic effect. It’s an incredibly genuine performance, and the lyrics for a lot of the songs are based on her burnout, three of the track names are even prefixed with the title “The anatomy of a nervous breakdown”. A perfect example is found in “The Lymbic system”:

“Open nerves, they’re killing me.
Enlarging everything.
My mind explodes; it’s burning up and scaring me.
Nothing feels the same, So strong it shuts me down, so strong I lost control.”

Guest performances really add to the album: The prog mad-genius Devin Townsend contributes vocals to “The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia”, Mark Jansen (also ex-After Forever, Epica) provides growls on “Misery’s no crime”, while Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) and Daniel De Jong (Textures) provide choirs across the album, which really add a nice addition to the heavy riffs.

All in all, this was by far the best symphonic metal which I heard from 2013, and any fan of the genre should check it out. It’s incredibly emotional, heavy, progressive and epic in every sense of the word. It’s almost a shame Floor will be splitting her time between ReVamp and Nightwish, especially after releasing an album this good, a good deal better than Nightwish’s lastest release. Stand out tracks are: The Anatomy of a nervous Breakdown: the lymbic system, Wild Card, The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia, Distorted Lullabies and Misery’s No Crime, but in actuality there isn’t a single weak track on the album, and the album flows well as a whole, every track is its own piece of brilliance. And did I mention just how fantastic Floor is?

Originally written for swirlsofnoise.com

One of the best albums! - 95%

frozen_me, September 3rd, 2013

Some of you might know Floor Jansen for being Nightwish’s current singer while other may have heard her voice in various projects like Ayreon, Star One, Mayan, Devin Townsend etc. Floor Jansen and her band After Forever are one of the pioneers of the female fronted metal scene along with Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish and The Gathering. After the unfortunate end of After Forever, Floor formed Revamp with the self-titled debut album in 2010.

Wild Card is the sophomore album of Revamp and it perfectly summarizes the 16 years of Floor’s career. There is nothing she can’t do with her voice: high belting, aggressive screaming, serene operatic vocals, full-blown opera, sweet, soft whispering, rasp vocals. You name it! Plus, she is in charge of all growls and grunts which sometimes remind me of Angela Gossow! Each song is definitely a wild card, full of surprises. The music perfectly matches the versatility of Floor’s voice and is heavy, diverse and complex. On the Sideline and I Can Become have lots of deathcore passages, groovy drumming and lots of growls, courtesy of Floor. Precibus and Nothing have catchy choruses wrapped with aggressive drumming, shredding guitar and keyboard solos. Songs like Neurasthenia, Limbic System, Wolf and Dog range from progressive and power metal, while Amendatory, Distorted Lullabies and Misery’s No Crime show the more gothic and symphonic side of the album. Especially, the Limbic System features one of the longest high belted notes of Floor that quickly shifts into full opera sound. Revamp have definitely set their own signature sound with this album, which is quite modern, fresh and full of musicality. One can hear some influences from Djent, Scar Symmetry, Symphony X etc. along with the already known After Forever elements. The lyrics are more personal and some of them are related to Floor’s recent burnout and connected into a common theme from different perspectives (The Anatomy of A Nervous Breakdown).

There are a few guests on the album who add lots of interesting elements. Devin Townsend sings in Neurasthenia with his schizophrenic voice making a perfect combination with Floor’s deranged voice that fit the theme of the song. Mark Jansen (Epica) growls in Misery’s No Crime which is a track that reminds of their early days in After Forever. Many tracks also include a choir that consists of Floor Jansen, Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion) and Daniel de Jongh (Textures). The addition of metal singers instead of just classically trained professional singers makes the choir vocals really interesting and diversified, adding an edgy twist in the operatic side. In total, there are 11 songs and 2 bonus tracks in the digipack version; Sins and Infringe. Infringe reminds me sometimes of Decipher and has a haunting operatic bridge. Also, the cover nicely represents the music as it shows the gentle and calm side of Floor and the twisted, wild and aggressive Floor that holds her own bleeding heart while cracking a Joker smile.

The music can be perfectly described as “into your face”, energetic, aggressive and Floor has taken it into the extremes vocal-wise. Wild Card is 10 times better than what you have already heard from Revamp and it is definitely worth listening again and again. One of the best albums in the female fronted metal scene!