I have to admit, hard rock / melodic metal has an undeniable place in my DNA. A palm muted distorted power chord immediately unlocks positive points in my psyche. Add to that my sweet spot for metal ballads and you can see why I am reviewing Sweet Curse.
Revamp is a band that I recently found out about. They are a melodic metal band with operatic female vocals (a great one in Floor Jansen) and occasional male growl. This form factor is something I generally like (also seen in Nightwish, Epica etc…). I found out about them through a friend mentioning Mayan (a new band formed by some Epica members). Floor sang on some tracks for them. It’s funny how music discovery works these days.
In Sweet Curse, all good things about Revamp get further amplified by a guy whom I consider to be one of the best male rock vocalists of all time, Russell Allen. Russell is the frontman for Symphony X (which I no doubt will review soon). He has Dio like shrieking abilities and Coverdale-like bass-heavy tone. The duet between Russell and Floor just proves too good.
The piece starts with a haunting piano motif and after a few measures Floor’s perfect soprano voice enters together with some electronic drums. at about 00:31 a cello melody starts to fatten the sound in the bass range (Ok I admit I have a soft spot for cello melodies too).
00:44 starts a new phase of the song. The bass and the drums enter with a rhythm that reminds us that this is, after all, a metal ballad. I really like the last chord in the progression here (the F – assuming it is E, C, A, F tuned half step up). It gives the progression that nice tasteful dissonance, the element of anger. And yes, my beloved, the palm muted distorted rhythm guitar is there too.
We reach the chorus at 1:13 with unmuted power chords in the lo-mid range, Russell’s voice at the mid and strings at the top. Nice, fat chorus. Nice and effective chord progression. I love the slowed down exit from the chorus.
Then at 1:43 Russell enters what will be an epic second verse. In just a few measures, the guy starts from a moaning painful lows, and takes it up almost an octave up in a Dio-like crunchy and ends epicly. Well that epicness is intensified by the headbang-inducing entry of drum/bass/guitar at 1.55 as Russell delivers the last line of the verse in the stratosphere, the listener can do nothing but assume power stance
2:41 brings on a vocal show in the upper limits of male and female voice. The chord progression in the bridge wasn’t particularly exciting to me, but it is efficient enough to provide a harmonic texture for the amazing vocal performances in the front.
3:08 introduces one of the most exciting parts of the song for me. The post-bridge string-led orchestration dancing with Floor’s perfect and emotional delivery leads us back to the chorus and ultimately the intro piano motif becomes the outro.
In short this is a track that heavily showcases great vocals with some minimalistic orchestration and some good old melodic metal rhythms. Revamp is a relatively new project (although the people in it have been around for a long time). Keep an eye on them. If you are the heavy metal listener then check out Revamp’s Here’s My Hell as well.