You can tell by the band's name Rampart, that what kind of metal is their trade, right? If you picked some other answer than heavy or power metal, you should be well ashamed. It's weird that in the history of metal music there has never been a band called Rampart, if not some truly obscure one. Rampart hail from Bulgaria and have been operating since 2002, but last year's 'Warriors' single was their debut recording. With 'Voice of the Wilderness' the band enter the arena with their debut full length album.
Rampart are like a gust from the past, something like from late 1980s, perhaps. True heavy metal speeded up with power metal. It sounds very German, not unlike the mixture of Grave Digger and old Helloween, for example. The riffs are mostly fast, pure metal and "heroic", but not too icky. Surely, it's all been done before, and one can only ask how many times, but Rampart carry a pure soul. They sound like they have fire for metal music burning in their hearts. The playing is good, nothing too fancy, but still adequate in every way. The vocals are a two-sided sword: At first I thought "this guy sounds a lot like Kai Hansen," but when I immersed into the world of Rampart, I noticed the vocalist is a lady. Still, her voice is very much like young Hansen's, and is far from typical "angelic" female voices, but makes me wish that she would be much more powerful and skilled with her singing. The songs have many moods, mostly the music is mid-paced/fast, melodic yet attacking metal with calmer parts (the opening of 'Under Control' sounds more than a bit like the opening of Gamma Ray's 'Rebellion in Dreamland', and the beginnings of 'Warriors' and 'Desert of Time' resemble Iron Maiden, and then there's some ambient bits too). Balladish 'Age of Steel' is a true lighter-burner, a truly beautiful song. 'Mirror of Dreams' is extremely catchy, almost hard rocking hit. I must emphasize, that Rampart have generally catchy songs here, but they are still a young band with a lot to learn.
While the sound is raw, every instrument and the vocals are well-balanced with each other. It's very clear, but not in a polished way. There's nothing too polished with the production anyways, as it sounds like this comes from late 1980s. The guitars are steely, not really heavy. The bass and the drums provide the beat, but still it cannot be called heavy. The vocals kind of embed with the instruments, but do not sink into the music.
Rampart have emerged. They mean business and are nothing like amateurs. with 'Voice of the Wilderness' they prove that. Heed my words: This is a definite underground gem in the making. And maybe not only underground, because I believe Rampart are making Bulgarian metal music history. A real good-time album, if nothing new.
Rating: 7 (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane