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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Review: Rampart - Codex Metalum

Not usually known for its traditional metal acts, Bulgarian heavy metal act Rampart have nonetheless cranked out an impressive catalog of singles and full-length albums, as well as the odd compilation appearance, on their way to this newest release. The fourth full-length from the group, this one came out April 8, 2016 on Iron Shield Records.

This here is nicely traditionalist-leaning classic metal in their riff-work, full of tight churning rhythms offering plenty of crunchy patterns and steady, solid rhythms that make for a truly enjoyable ode to the heavyweights of the classic period of the early 80s. The numerous tempo and pace changes on display, feature some interesting and enjoyable variations with the band able to change-over into steady, simplistic riff-work for ‘Apocalypse or Theater’ and ‘Sacred Anger,’ or a slightly more up-tempo gallop that doesn’t quite border on thrash, but offers that kind of energy and cadence when off-set by the churning rhythm work featured elsewhere here as well as on ‘The Metal Code.’ Also, like most classic metal offerings, there’s ripping, fiery soloing and plenty of tight, pounding drum-work on display throughout the album that makes this quite fun, as well as with the more spindly, melodic leads found on ‘Diamond Ark or ‘Into the Rocks’, as there’s a slew of simplistic rhythms here featuring those melodies running alongside the harder-hitting riffing here. This all leaves the album well-enough, if not exactly all that original, though what really tends to hurt this is the light wailing siren-like female vocals that are as an acquired taste as any in the genre. It’s not terrible, but it takes getting used to this tone and register over the music, but overall it’s not so bad.

Though the vocals are something that really hinders this one at times, there’s little else about this one to hold it back here as the sound has enough going on for it that this will undoubtedly appeal to fans of good classic traditional metal, as well as those curious about metal from the region on the curiosity factor. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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