Nima : This Bulgarian formation made a rather good impression with their 2009 debut, 'The Voice Of Wilderness'. On the 'A Tale To Cold' EP from 2011 the lady and gentlemen from Rampart already revealed a heavier and more modern approach. They have continued on that path on their second long player, 'War Behest', which was released in June.
Traditional, 80s heavy metal is still the blueprint for the band's sound and especially the admiration for Iron Maiden is ever audible. But in general the band has chosen for a more modern approach, which reveals itself mostly in the heavier guitar sound. Here and there we also hear new elements in the music, like the progressive middle piece in 'Ghost Of Freedom' or the cellos in 'Fire Circle'. Something I do regret a bit is the fact that Rampart has also chosen for a more mid-tempo approach. Not that such an approach is bad, it's just that the band makes a better and stronger impression in the more up-tempo pieces. The album sounds less accessible because of this and needs more time to convince. Unlike the debut, that was immediately catchy on the first listen. The positive aspect is that the band has developed a bit more identity of its own. Unfortunately the songs don't rock out like the material we heard on the debut. That however does not change the fact that Rampart is capable of writing good tunes. Fortunately they do accelerate on songs like 'Ghost Of Freedom' and 'Give Nothing Back', and keep the album balanced a bit. A few more of this kind of pieces however would have been to the album's benefit, because I do miss real highlights here.
On instrumental matters the gentlemen have made quite some progress. Vocalist Maria has also improved her vocal skills a lot and sounds stronger and makes a more professional impression. And finally also the production measures to the standards this time. Despite all this, 'War Behest' doesn't convince me as much as 'The Voice Of Wilderness' did. Altogether a good album that is worth the effort.