|Rampart - 'Voice Of The Wilderness' (Inferno Records)|
|Written by John Oakley|
|Friday, 17 December 2010 05:00|
Rampart view life as "A range of people and events, which earn the taste of something we lived through, something exciting and the apparition of the original melodic metal." Erm, thanks for that. So in essence what we've got here in the new debut album from Rampart, a bunch of Bulgarian newcomers attempting to become part of Fortress Metal, standing firm as a bastion of defence against all those wimps and posers that aim to drag us all off to a Journey/Glee tribute act. It's the usual stirring stuff, with an album cover that gives us an immediate buy in to what Rampart are all about. We've got a Castle Keep tower, in a thunderstorm with crows circling the storm, whilst inside the cover we get a trio of young people, trying their best to look metal in some kind of stone castle setting. The cover and band logo would look excellent on a patch on my denim jacket, but in the final battle of Ragnarock however these weedy young pups would probably get sand kicked in their face, looking at them. (Nice hair though!)
Well, as I said the album cover pretty much sums up the contents. The guitar riffs and general melodies and guitar harmonies of the band are very infectious and stick to that Euro Power Metal tradition but the lyrics and singing style (from Maria D.S) lose something in translation. 'Under Control' opens up proceedings and immediately smacks of a band that has been brought up on European and British NWOBHM, and tried to recreate it into their own language, and then failed miserably to translate it back. The music does the talking; but the language and vocals are that of an earnest pigeon English exchange student trying too hard to please.
'Desert of Time' starts off as a wonderful 6 minute epic in classic Harris style, and then leaps to the gallop before the vocals start and again leave me bewildered lyrically and vocally. The more I listen to the album, the more I just think that we've got some no range female Bulgarian version of Herman Munster on vocals. Guest musicians provide a strong rhythm section, and there are at times some effective solos.
'Mirror of Dreams' stands out with a crunching opening riff, which pervades the rest of the song, and almost gets Helloween-y 'Keeper Era' at some points and verges on the parptasticness of Europe. But it's not that good really. They have Hammerfall's early album translation disease, but Hammerfall now have gained gravitas and experience (and comedic timing!)
So, a young band then, that has made it all the way from Bulgaria, and should be applauded for sticking to their guns and flying the flag for METAL.\m/. The music isn't bad, but it could do with a little more depth, and a better vocalist and lyric writer. Actually they could do with losing this voice in the wilderness somewhere to be honest, as musically it's good but by numbers NWOBHM /Power Metal stuff.
This is a likeable and charming effort that simply needs work! I like the idea of Rampart, but I'm finding it difficult to defend at the moment!