Admittedly, I’ve never been a big After Forever fan. I only know them in passing but I am familiar with Floor Jansen’s voice courtesy of her work in Ayreon. Going in to this album, I know I’m going to be hit with upbeat gothy synth and operatic vocals but…Revamp just doesn’t work for me. ‘Here’s My Hell’ starts out well enough but then they add in big layered, over the top’ operatic backing vocals for the chorus and I’m instantly turned off. Just because you CAN sing like that doesn’t mean it works well for the song. Unfortunately, this seems to be the mistake made over the entire album. Ms. Jansen’s voice just isn’t working well with the music. Granted, ‘Break’ is a decent song which blends the keyboard heavy music with a more restrained vocal performance by Floor but it’s almost too little too late.
In fact, the very next track (‘Til Death Do Us Part: Disdain’) starts off with metalcore-esque male growly vocals…immediately turning me off again. When you have a singer as powerful as Floor Jansen, you don’t need gruff male vocals to temper the song. Just write a good song that makes sense with just her voice, or use someone with an equally powerful baritone perhaps. ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Disgraced’ has Floor sounding nastier and angrier in parts, an aspect of her voice she should explore further on future songs. Of course, they take it back to the overblown operatic chorus again which doesn’t work in the context of the song. I’ve heard it work very well in other albums, at other times but it sure doesn’t work here. Hands down, the best track on the album is ‘Kill Me With Silence’. Although the drums sound too mechanical for my taste, Floor’s voice is downright snarly at points, nothing is overplayed and it’s catchy as hell.
All in all, I’m not overly impressed by this release. Only by purposefully listening for something positive did I find anything worth more than one listen. The musicians on this record do a great job but they don’t mesh with Floor Jansen’s voice at all. The song writing on this just didn’t seem to be as much of a focus as the keyboard and vocal flourishes were.