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Revamp - Wild Card

Revamp
Wild Card
by Tuoksu Holopainen at 22 August 2013, 4:45 PM

Shortly after the (heartbreaking) split-up of the memorable and grandiose Dutch Symphonic Metal band AFTER FOREVER, The Flying Dutchwoman Floor Jansen (a nickname that Tuomas Holopainen came up with) teamed up with some other musicians and started her own new Metal act REVAMP and released their debut eponymous album  before embarking on  tour all around Europe. Sadly, Jansen had a burnout afterwards and it put the band on a hiatus for a while before they could pick up the songwriting process for their sophomore album which is finally here now.

Although she agreed to handle the massive frontwoman duties for the Finnish Metal titans NIGHTWISH on the remains of their tour,  Jansen, collaborating with ex-band mate Joost Van Den Broek who served as producer / songwriter again, along with her band members, still managed to put together a new opus having the typical REVAMP sound yet displaying more darkness and maturity. "Wild Card" is a logical departure from the preceding album and a natural outcome of everything Jansen went through prior to its recording. She has always been open about her personal issues, but this time it was more straightforward. It went beyond the lyrical themes and extended to every single aspect of the music, namely the vocals. Being such a house-hold and acclaimed Metal Goddess, an impeccable vocal performance is more than expected here. Yet this time, Jansen really took her vocals to the next level, making them pretty much the center and the substantial core of the album. You will not hear a lot of the operatic mood of the AFTER FOREVER heyday. Instead, Jansen delivered the most versatile, awe-inspiring and outstanding vocals you'd ever anticipate.

It's not only your typical rocking tall Dutch girl belting out all that aggression in a still-feminine way, or those soaring soprano vocals overlaying the vehement music with an astonishing beauty. This time Floor proved that nothing could ever stop her, because in this album we can hear her growl! Yes, you heard that. She could effortlessly unleash the most devastating aggression in her ever-stunning clean voice before switching to a softer, seductive tone and then she blows your mind with perfectly-executed grunts as if she were indeed a growling monster not a lady venturing into this almost outlandish territory to her.

"Wild Card" is a bulky piece of music that is somehow revolving around a 3-headed beast entitled "The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown" and a set of individual gems of friendly short durations. The album welcomed an intriguing vocal collaboration with Devin Townsend in "Neurasthenia", the last of the "The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown" series, while the first two parts "On The Sideline" and "The Limbic System" are solely centered around Jansen's voice. The opus also features an ensemble of some of the finest Dutch musicians, namely Mark Jansen (The mastermind in EPICA and a founding member of AFTER FOREVER) whose growls, not to be mistaken with Jansen's, can be heard on the EPICA-like "Misery's No Crime",  as well as Marcela Bovio from STREAM OF PASSION who did the backing vocals along with Daniël De Jongh (TEXTURES), and her spouse and bandmate Johan Van Stratum who filled in for the bass player position before Henk Vonk was hired. There is also a subtle AFTER FOREVER reminiscence in tracks like "Precibus" and "Distorted Lullabies". I found it impossible to listen to "Amendatory" without feeling the urge to headbang and play those air-drums.

Well, to sum it up, this is an album that would make you bow before the majesty and the glory of the rocking, growling Goddess who kept enchanting her audiences for decades not only with her gorgeous looks and towering heights but also with her  compelling devilish powers that volatilize exceptionally through this record. This is not something you might expect from a female-fronted band from the Netherlands. You might be expecting some so-called Gothic, symphony-driven Metal topped with mediocre female vocals, but hell, NO! This is Floor Jansen and this is her REVAMP and they're heavy, they're unique and they're Metal. 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
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
5. Nothing
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
Lineup:
Floor Jansen - Vocals
Matthias Landes - Drums
Arjan Rijnen - Guitars
Jord Otto - Guitars
Ruben Wijga – Keyboards
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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