The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CD Review: ReVamp's "ReVamp"

The disbandment of After Forever in 2009 was a tough experience for a lot of fans of the band and in the symphonic metal world. It came as a surprise and everyone was curious on what would happen with the members of the group, especially ex-lead singer Floor Jansen, who has started a new band named ReVamp, a symphonic/gothic metal group.

Alongside Floor on their first album is After Forever's ex-keyboardist Joost van den Broek who provides a lot of the symphonic sounds on this first release. Besides the fact that Floor sings for this group, the fact remains that his contributions on the band's debut really makes it sound "After Foreverish" besides just Floor's vocals. I must say that as similar in style as ReVamp is to After Forever, there are some noticeable differences. ReVamp is much more edgier, angsty, and angry than what After Forever ever was. Looking at the album art and session photos of Floor and the band, it is no wonder what kind of image they were able to pull off here.

One of the big things I admire about this album are Floor's vocals. She really is the bright point of this release and without her, it just would not be the same! Her feelings, emotions, and power really come through on just about every song on this album and she sounds just as good as ever, if not even more powerful and versatile than with After Forever. I must say that as much as she does so well with the vocals on "ReVamp", can the songs provide her justice? Well, let's look into that in my song by song review:

1. "Here's My Hell": I must say, the opening section of this song is very epic and powerful with the symphonic chaos that is unfolding. The song is extremely heavy, fast, and dark. The chorus is very powerful and it will not disappoint fans of old After Forever or symphonic metal in general. A great way to start the album and is indeed the best song this album has to offer! 4/5

2. "Head Up High": This is the most popular song that this band has put out so far. While not the most impressive song out there, it has it's good moments. The chorus part is very catchy, the instrumental breakdown sounds great with a nice wah-wah guitar solo. Floor really gives out a nice performance here as well. 3.5/5

3. "Sweet Curse": This is a ballad that features Symphony X's Russell Allen. If you are unfamiliar with him, he is quite the vocalist with a lot of power and tone. But in this song, he does a fairly good job, but not at the level of what we would expect from him. Floor does a good job providing some depth in the chorus, but the song is just rather average and nothing too special. Both singers are class, even though they do not show all of their potential here. The lyrics however are perhaps the best written on the album. 3/5

4. "Million": This one is faster paced in a way that reminds me of "Here's My Hell". It has a lot of intensity and feels like an old After Forever song. One of the album's better and more epic tracks. It has a nice breakdown section and guitar solo. 3.5/5

5. "In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part- All Goodbyes are Said": This is the point where the quality of the album starts to go down. This is the first part out of three in the "In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part" series. The song is a narration of a mother and a patient. Both parts are sung by Floor. This is the best song in the series, but this is still just a rather average symphonic metal song. Nothing here is really memorable. 2.5/5

6. "Break": This song as you guessed takes a break from the ISTDDUP series. This song is written more progressively than most of the album, but this is another song that I find pretty bland and more like a filler with some very depressing lyrics. Once again, nothing here is memorable, except Floor's voice but even she can't help the song. 2.5/5

7. "In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part- Disdain": The second song in the ISTDDUP series. This song is very forgetful though. For one thing, this song is VERY heavy and has some cool little guitar riffs here and there, but it just doesn't work too well with Björn "Speed" Strid as a guest vocalist on this song. He literally sings like a hardcore vocalist would, which kind of throws me off and makes this song sound too over the top. I am sure he does a fine job in his band Soilwork, but his excessive shouting in this song sounds a little overdone and over dramatic to me. Plus, the lyrics aren't good which doesn't help at all. Definitely the album's worst song. 1.5/5

8. "In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part- Disgraced": The third and final part of the ISTDDUP series. This is another very mediocre song once again. Nothing really stands out and the song is really boring with the exception of Floor's voice. 2/5

9. "Kill Me With Silence": Right from the beginning, the song is very boring and never really picks up from there. Floor sounds good but the song is just not anything to brag about. Very bland and repetitive. 2/5

10. "Fast Forward": I give the song this; it has a very nice intro and main melody to it. But after the intro, it begins to become very boring to me and it never picks up any kind of thrill since the intro. Another filler song that never takes off. 2.5/5

11. "The Trial of Monsters": The guitar and symphonic work in this song are actually quite clever. There are however some very corny and cheesy lyrics though. Despite this, "The Trial of Monsters" is one of the stronger tracks on the album. Floor's voice sounds great in this song with plenty of power and attitude. 3.5/5

12. "Under My Skin": This is definitely a filler song too, but I admit the middle instrumental section of the song is pretty cool and it really gives this song a boost. It's okay and worth a listen, but not very interesting at all. 3/5

13. "I Lost Myself": A piano ballad. Floor sounds pretty and nice as she normally does in these types of songs, but I don't find this song very interesting though as it is very average and steady with no real good hooks or interesting parts. It's worth a listen though. 3/5

14. "No Honey For the Damned": This is the bonus track for this album. It has some good riffs and nice symphonic parts that really flow well here and there and Floor's voice sounds very good too, but there isn't much here to take in as it is just an average symphonic metal song that doesn't really stand out. Solid, but not amazing. 3/5

So that is my review of "ReVamp". Here is my overall impression:

-Floor's vocals are top notch as expected
-Impressive symphonic sounds and melodies through the production

-Too many average, boring, and filler songs
-Lyrics aren't that good
-The band sounds uninspired and bland at times
-"Distain", they could have left that one out

So as much as I admire and adore Floor with her great voice, this album really just did not cut it for me like the way After Forever was. It could have been better in my opinion. Something was missing here, and trust me I really wanted to like this album more, but it really is like a hit or miss album that only has a few good songs. "Here's My Hell", "Head Up High", "Million", and "The Trail of Monsters" are the best and the only songs that seem to stand out to me. Besides those songs, the rest is either filler, average, bland, or just not good like "Distain" or "Kill Me with Silence" is for example. I am a bit disappointed because I really think Floor is a great vocalist that really needs some better material to work with. I am going to have to give this a horns down unfortuneatly, even though I really do not want to. /w\ I see what they want to do with what they got as they tried to put some "edge" into the music, but this is really just an average and bland symphonic/gothic metal album that isn't much different than what other bands in the genre are doing. It's not the worst album and it is only their first release, so I have to give them a little slack. I do think they can and will make some better material in the future. Only time will tell. So listen and buy at your own risk!

Overall rating: 2.5/5


Allyson said...

Ok, you know I was never a big AF fan or a Floor fan, but I feel your disappointment, man.

Sorcha said...

The album isn't that good indeed. But then also I wasn't a big Floor fan. But she really kicks ass live! Even more then with AF..

Nice review btw.

Eric James said...

@ CanuckFan

Thank you!

@ Sorcha

Thanks! Yeah, I would love to see this band play live just to see her perform! Her songs with this band aren't that great, but seeing her live would be a real treat! :D

Almagest said...

Haven't listened to the album, but the artwork is quite striking - it makes me think "Picasso".

Eric James said...

@ Winterstorm

The album artwork isn't bad, I agree with you there. The album itself was a bit disappointing though. There were some good moments, but not enough to really be completely satisfied.