Ramp - Visions

Ramp is a five-piece thrash metal band from Portugal that have been around for nearly twenty years, constantly evolving and crafting strong material with unabated enthusiasm and vigour, despite all the recurring adversities that have been crossing their path. Their influence and importance within the context of the Portuguese metal scene cannot be denied, though outside the nation’s borders the band has been criminally neglected and have failed to achieve the same level of success.
Regardless of where their popularity lies, every album they’ve done has shown some signs of progression and refinement, which is why I can’t exactly tell why “Visions” sounds a bit lacklustre to my senses.
Taking six long years to materialize, “Visions” unfortunately sees the Portuguese quintet sounding too comfortable in rehashing most of the ideas explored on previous work “Nude”, dabbling with electronic elements and overusing catchy choruses to give a sense of immediacy to the songs. They certainly understand the concept of writing some killer riffs and catchy choruses and the first three tracks are all excellent examples of such approach. Opener “Blind Enchantment” has a musical structure that brings Disturbed to mind, firmly built around a skull-crushing staccato riffing and a memorable, yet awfully banal David Draiman-styled singing on the refrain. “Single Lines” follows the same pattern, with a punchy and catchy guitar work and vocalist Rui Duarte nicely detouring from his enraged growls to deliver a powerful and captivating clean singing on the chorus. “Amnesia” also meddles with such melodic hard-hitting formula with fairly enjoyable results, but doesn’t manage to distance itself from a sense of predictability that settles in half way though.
Elsewhere, besides “The Cold” a surprising theme bordering on a melodic Swedish-style riffing, there’s very little that stands out and forces you to sit down and pay attention. It’s replete with ordinary fillers, showing a band worn out and lifeless at times, stripped from fresh and interesting ideas. Personally, I think the band is much better than this so let’s just hope that “Visions” is just a less inspired record in their career and they’ll able to rekindle the creative spark that have made their previous records so damn worth listening to.

Band info: www.myspace.com/rampmetal
Label info: www.metronomo.net