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ReVamp - 'Wild Card' album review

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ReVamp - 'Wild Card'

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Vocalist Floor Jansen, whose golden voice is as strong and beautiful as the rest of her is, got a huge career boost in 2012 when she officially joined Nightwish. The expression “don’t quit your day job” probably doesn’t apply here – if Nightwish’s sold out performance at the Newport Music Hall is any indication, the band is bigger than ever – but Jansen seems determined to become the Phil Collins of metal by having two successful careers simultaneously. Her “day job” ReVamp is not only still active, the Dutch band is currently on tour with Iced Earth and label mates Sabaton, and will be at the good ‘ol Newport on Thursday, April 10. This tour is in support of ReVamp’s brilliant new sophomore album, 'Wild Card.'

Anyone concerned that ReVamp would be left to die after Jansen joined Nightwish can breathe easy: 'Wild Card' is the product of a fully dedicated band firing on all cylinders. Indeed, it will most likely be counted among the very best metal albums of 2014. At the risk of utilizing another clichéd phrase, this album literally has something for everyone. Let me refine that statement a bit by adding this caveat: those expecting ReVamp to sound like a carbon copy of Evanescence or Halestorm will be disappointed. No offense to any of those bands, by the way, all of which are great in their own right, but ReVamp is a unique fish in a large ocean. The closest blanket statement I can conceive when attempting to describe the band in as few words as possible is “Lacuna Coil meets Nevermore.”

Album opener “On the Sideline,” part of a three-song arc titled “Anatomy of Nervous Breakdown,” is the perfect introduction to the band. Featuring heavy, downtuned guitars, prominent keyboards, poppy choruses and even some death metal-ish growling, the song is a smorgasbord of metal genres. The second song (and also the second part of the trilogy), “The Limbic System,” is even heavier, and one of the reasons for the Nevermore comparisons. Drummer Matthias Landes even unleashes several volleys of blast beats on “Misery’s No Crime.” At the other end of the spectrum, tracks such as “Precibus” contain elements of opera. Even more shocking, it works, even when layered atop rhythms almost fast enough to considered thrash. “Distorted Lullabies” is the closest thing to a ballad on 'Wild Card,' but the song would still be considered anathema to any mainstream radio stations here in the U.S. The track starts off pretty mellow, but instead of aping Evanescence’s classic “My Immortal,” it soon shifts gears into speed metal overdrive, then builds to an epic, swelling grand finale reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman.”

Unquestionably, the superstar of the show is Jansen and her otherworldly voice. She was not chosen to front Nightwish merely because she’s beautiful. Few vocalists, male or female, in any genre, have such an all-encompassing range as hers. She does it all: soaring choruses, urgent screaming, operatic singing, pop-inflected bridges and even death metal growling. Oftentimes on 'Wild Card' she utilizes many of these vocal stylings within the same song. If her on-stage charisma is even a fraction as powerful as her vocal cords are, she could conceivably become one of the greatest frontwomen of all time. Find out for yourself in a few weeks.

ReVamp will be performing at the Newport Music Hall, opening for Iced Earth, on Thursday, April 10. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets for the all ages show are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show.

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