Jansen is no stranger to the metal community as she has been in the scene since 1997 working with bands After Forever, Ayreon, Mayan and Star One. In fact, After Forever were one of the early female fronted gothic bands. ReVamp gives her the chance to front her own band and be the main focus. Her voice is sublime and diverse; the time has come for her to be mentioned in the same breath as the other powerful female front women in the genre.
Right from the start there are major differences between their debut, and the growth is phenomenal. The guitars spew forth with an added aggressiveness and the huge riffs bring a modern feel to the record. Jansen’s vocals are the highlight as she takes on so many different styles it almost becomes schizophrenic. She utilizes an operatic style, a pop flavor, an aggressive rock approach and some remarkable growls that all combine for the performance of her career.
Lyrically the album is incredibly personal for Jansen, as for a year and a half she was mentally unstable and was suffering from constant burnout. This created perfect fuel for her lyrics and the album’s centerpiece is the trilogy “Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown.” The album opens with the first two parts, “On the Sideline” and “The Limbic System.” Both songs create an aggressive atmosphere and set the perfect tone. The choruses are huge and contain gigantic hooks.
The third part of the trilogy, “Neurasthenia,” is placed halfway through the record and contains guest vocals from Devin Townsend. The combination of their vocals together is fantastic as they both are premier vocalists. It's another up-tempo aggressive number that finds both of them exchanging memorable melodies and an inhuman Townsend screaming like only he can.
The musicianship is excellent with guitarists Arjan Rijnen and Jord Otto providing the perfect backdrop for Jansen’s melodies. Both players can shred, and when given the time they make the most of it with blazing leads. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them and when they do have guitar solos they are too short. The contribution of the orchestration is gorgeous and adds a distinct element to their overall sound.
The band does a good job of incorporating up-tempo songs throughout, as the release never seems to drag or get stale. Jansen’s use of her different vocal styles brings an energy and diversity that most symphonic metal bands just can’t offer. Her operatic voice is used sparingly and that works better for the record, as it is the style that doesn’t blend as well with their current format.
Wild Card is a huge improvement over Revamp’s debut and the band has grown substantially as songwriters. Floor Jansen shines, as her vocal talent is undeniable. Everyone clamoring for a Nightwish release with Jansen doesn’t need to look any further to satiate their appetites and explore the wonders within this dense and diverse release.
(Released September 03, 2013 on Nuclear Blast Records)