ReVamp: Wild Card

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ReVamp: Wild Card
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ReVamp: Wild Card
Symphonic Gothic Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
August 23rd, 2010
Release length: 49:06
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After a rather successful debut with their self-titled album, ReVamp have returned in all their Symphonic Gothic Metal glory with their latest album, Wild Card. This time around the band has enlisted a slew of guest musicians Devin Townsend (Devin Townsend Project, Strapping Young Lad), Mark Jansen (Epica), Daniel de Jongh (Textures), as well as Marcela Bovio and Johan van Stratum (Stream of Passion). With plenty of promise on display, ReVamp seems to have gone the conceptual route this time around. But, with all these additional musicians and singers on tap, does Wild Card end up a bit too cluttered for its own good, or does the band finally put their full potential forward?

Things kick off with the first of three songs that make up ‘The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown’ titled “On the Sideline.” It makes for a nice start to the effort, showing off a catchier performance with vocalist Floor Jansen belting out dominating notes later on that conflict with the edgy, yet still slightly radio friendly. “The Limbic System,” however, is a bit twisted in spots thanks to some guitar riffs and eccentric vocals. That atmosphere is matched nicely with the mid-tempo performance that does slow down to what feels like a breakdown, ushering in more darkness before solid hooks and symphonic keyboards bring in an upbeat vibe momentarily. The complexity does continue later on, finding some beautiful operatic singing after a brief chaotic guitar solo. “Neurasthenia” finds Devin Townsend putting his guest appearance to good use, finding his vocal range against a good deal of Industrial elements at work for more of a Progressive experience than a symphonic one. This conclusion of the three is easily the best, finding the eccentric elements of ReVamp moving in a much more fluid motion compared to the first two parts, as well as the rest of the release.

“Precibus” winds up being an absolutely beautiful performance all around. The operatic vocals are simply moving when performed against the soft and whimsical keyboards. The chorus drops that atmosphere a bit, finding traditional singing with a richer presence from the guitars and drums that take the music more into Rock territory with a slight Symphonic bite that triggers some intriguing Progressive material with more harsher, distorted male vocals from guest Devin Townsend, or what sounds like him, wrapping up with a somewhat epic conclusion. “Misery’s No Crime” acts as a mixture of everything ReVamp offer. There are some symphonic touched laced with some Progressive keyboards in the background, operatic female vocals, clean singing, harsher male vocals, and a grim atmosphere that sometimes tread into the eccentric once more. It’s an interesting combination, offering a dark and twisted musical experience once more, and makes for one of the more important tracks to hear off the album.

Sadly, not everything in here is that unique. “Nothing” finds a subtle Progressive touch at work against the bass-heavy slower performance. The chorus picks things up a bit, bringing in some layered vocals as well, all remaining consistent until the guitar solo hits, sending things into an eccentric piece for a short amount of time once again. Other than that section, the song is pretty generic for the Gothic Metal style overall, but still enjoyable. This isn’t really that bad considering the amount of songs on here, and the handful of tracks mentioned that end up being that memorable.

Wild Card is a good idea overall, but it ends up an album that is really confused as to what its meant to be. On one hand you have a good deal of symphonic elements at work, and the next it shifts into Progressive Metal, which honestly is the better of the two. Even if working with the trilogy of “The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown” as a concept, it just doesn’t have anything that really hooks the listen aside a few stand out tracks. In the end, Wild Card shows off the potential ReVamp had on display with their début, but seem to take a few steps back in the process. This isn’t to say Wild Card isn’t worth hearing, as there are some tracks that are infectious and will have you bobbing your right along, but as a whole it simply fails to deliver, getting lost in what seems like an artistic conception of some kind of mental break.

01. ‘The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown’: On the Sideline – 3:46
02. ‘The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown’: The Limbic System – 4:55
03. Wild Card – 4:22
04. Precibus – 4:25
05. Nothing – 3:54
08. ‘The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown’: Neurasthenia – 5:07
07. Distorted Lullabies – 4:58
08. Amendatory – 4:47
09. I Can Become – 3:48
10. Misery’s No Crime – 4:03
11. Wolf and Dog – 5:01
Initial Pressing Score: 6/10

ReVamp (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.