J-Rock Reviews


Review by David Cirone


Opening track “Quattro” starts with a deceptively simple drum intro that blends into RAMPANT’s trademark layered guitar sound. The Osaka-based quintet knows how to get the most out of their double-guitar lineup, and the 2-minute instrumental feels like a warm-up for the hard-rock throwdown to come.

“NEED YOU” brings in Hiroko’s vocals with a tongue-in-cheek welcome, “Good morning, my baby.” The song has a familiar structure that could have easily folded into last year’s album BLOSSOM. “LOVE SPELL” is where RAMPANT starts to break new ground. The slick bass intro and heavy guitar riff get you ready for Hiroko’s sex appeal kicking into high gear. Playfulness and danger rolled into one.

Longtime live-show favorite (and guaranteed mosh-pit-maker) “NEW BORN” finally makes its way to recorded form. Band members have stated in interviews that they were worried about capturing the power of the live performance in the studio, and they were right to be concerned — it’s a signature song that just can’t be beat once you see it live. The album version does it justice, and new fans can use it as a primer for what to expect at their next concert.

In “GREEDY MONSTER WANTS ALL,” Hiroko’s reached her breaking point, and counts down before letting loose her deep-throated scream. “I’m not greedy like you” she tells her partner/monster in this final goodbye. Compared to the middle songs of the album, “GREEDY MONSTER WANTS ALL” shows a more precise and subtle instrumentation from the band, and Atsushi’s guitar sets just the right dreamy feeling to indicate something once good is being left behind as the vocalist starts a new chapter.

The surprise inclusion of Choice of Life’s SILENCE as a piano version is a really lovely send-off, and it’s a testament to the band’s versatility that it doesn’t feel like a second-thought cover, but a strong partner to the original.

Recommended tracks: LOVE SPELL, NEW BORN, SILENCE (Piano ver.)