I’m a big fan of the Exile Tribe family of groups, and for me The Rampage are the ones to beat at the moment. Their trio of vocalists are excellent – complimentary but compelling in their own right. And, the group’s edgy sound makes a great conduit for dynamic material. The Rampage’s music often steers into rock territory, and it’s all the stronger for it. Some of their best singles (Swag & Pride, Fullmetal Trigger) have had heavy guitar backbones.
New single Fears also infuses The Rampage’s sound with a powerful jolt of guitar, though it’s used in a more rhythmic way this time around. The track plays like an extension of their great spring release Invisible Love, harnessing a similarly emotive tone while injecting a bit more bombast. Fears’ verses are a slow burn, fueled by finger snap percussion and wistful vocal delivery. This hits a crescendo as we move into the chorus. Guitar and keys fill out the instrumental as the beat intensifies. The melody here feels a little repetitive, but it’s performed earnestly enough to work.
Rather than continue to grow, Fears recedes after delivering a brief post-chorus riff. In this way, I wish the track’s structure didn’t feel so predictable. The stop/start energy prevents Fears from climbing to the moment of catharsis it seems to be setting up. Instead, the song is oddly reserved despite its theatrical production. Still, it succeeds in painting The Rampage with an air of refinement. It’s been a joy to hear their sound grow and deepen over the years. Stacked against their incredible singles run, I’m not sure that Fears is a total standout. But, it embraces many of the group’s most potent stylistic instincts.
I hope The Rampage will break into international (outside Japan) scene soon even though Exile Tribe’s popularity outside Japan slowly gained.