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When Floor Jansen, the Amazonian Dutch singer with the killer voice who fronted After Forever got the job as the new singer (on tour at least) for Nightwish I wondered what that would mean for her Revamp project who were due to do a follow up to their self titled debut album.
As it turns out somehow during a triumphant mammoth trek across the globe with Nightwish where she shone on the songs from both previous vocalists and recorded a soon to be released dvd she somehow managed to find the time to write and record the second Revamp album 'Wild Card'.
As someone who loved After Forever I wasn't sure about the heavier, more bombastic direction of the Revamp debut and so I approached this follow up with trepidation. I have been pleasantly surprised though as while this is at times a very heavy album there's plenty of melody on offer and some quite magnificent vocals.
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I didn't really expect to find a song like 'Nothing' with it's gentle, almost sweet verses before the inevitable big chorus. The three part epic 'The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown' is dark and heavy as you might expect of a song where Floor explores some difficult personal experiences but the staccato rhythms and changing time signatures grew on me and there is always that sub-operatic soaring voice to hang on to when you think you might lose track of all that's going on.
For the record I'm no great fan of grunting vocalists, it's a style of singing I put up with when the music is good enough to keep me interested and it's disappointing to me that a singer of Floor Jansen's quality feels the need to do some grunting in this band.
This shows up in some places here along with guest slots from the likes of Devin Townsend and Mark Jansen but when you hear Ms Jansen stretching her singing voice to it's limits and soaring ever higher on the choruses of said trilogy and the magnificent 'Distorted Lullabies' you can forgive her (with the proviso that the album would be even better without any grunting in my opinion!)
The band sound tight and heavy here but with little individual instrumentation that really stands out apart from the odd guitar solo, it's a band performance driven along by guest Johan Van Stratum from Stream Of Passion on bass designed to back up the star singer. Stream Of Passion's own fabulous singer Marcela Bovio is credited as being in the choirs which pop up in many of the songs but so far I haven't been able to spot her anywhere!
Verdict: This is for me a much better album than I expected and while it may be a little short of any real stand out songs(there's no obvious single to me for example) I really enjoy it and would happily recommend it to any fans of Floor Jansen or anyone who likes their female fronted metal hard and heavy but with slabs of melody too.
Floor Jansen: Vocals
Arjan Rijnen: Guitars
Jord Otto: Guitars
Ruben Wijga: Keyboards
Matthias Landes: Drums
Johan Van Stratum: Bass (this album only, Henk Vonk is now the full time bass player)