The metal world was shocked and disappointed at the sudden break-up of the popular gothic/symphonic metal act After Forever a few years ago, but lead singer Floor Jansen has continued on in the tradition of that band with her new group ReVamp. The line-up for the album includes musicians Waldemar Sorychta on guitars & bass, former After Forever keyboard player Joost van den Broek, drummer Koen Herfst, additional guitars & bass by Arno Krabman, plus strings and choir. Jansen also brought in a few guest vocalists to help out here as well. For live work, the singer has assembled a new line-up, so it will be interesting to see her new band in action in the months to come.
Kick off track "Here's My Hell" pairs Jansen with ex-Orphanage growler George Oosthoek, and this song is perhaps best representative of the classic After Forever sound, with soaring angelic vocals paired up against evil grunts while crunchy guitars and bubbling synths provide the heavy yet symphonic framework. "Sweet Curse" sees Symphony X frontman Russel Allen share lead vocal duties with Jansen, and the results are quite stellar. Other symphonic, gothic tinged metal fare such as "Head Up High" and "Million" really works on all levels, and the addition of the choir adds that operatic element to really make things interesting. There's a great three part suite called "In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part" where Floor's vocals are just wonderful, as she's surrounded by majestic keyboards and crushing riffs, and joined by Soilwork's Speed for guest vocals on the second part, titled "Disdain". This just might be the heaviest piece on the CD, with Speed's vocals extremely menacing, and the crushing, bombastic arrangements really taking this album to new levels of heaviness.
There's also some tender material here, like "Break", "I Lost Myself", and the catchy "Kill Me With Silence", which display Jansen's stunning versatility as a vocalist. Fans of more technical, progressive/power metal fare will love "The Trial Of Monsters" and "Fast Forward", and the booming, symphonic bonus track "Honey For the Damned" will quickly get you on your feet and pumping your fist in the air.
Floor Jansen has really hit a home run with ReVamp, and this self-titled debut is a winner on all fronts. Fans of After Forever, Epica, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, and Nightwish should look to get a hold of this CD without any temptation whatsoever.
01. Here's My Hell
02. Head Up High
03. Sweet Curse
05. In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part: All Goodbyes Are Said
07. In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain
08. In Sickness 'Till Death Do Us Part: Disgraced
09. Kill Me With Silence
10. Fast Forward
11. The Trial Of Monsters
12. Under My Skin
13. I Lost Myself
14. No Honey For The Damned (bonus track)