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 RAMPANT BAND “Breakthrough/Breakdown” CD
  Rampant Band Music 2001-2008. Our rating [8/10]

Rampant Band is an alternative rock band formed in Saratov, Russia, in 1995, and currently based in Moscow. Stylistically it’s hard to fit them in some strictly defined genre but in essence it is Anglo-American alternative rock with extensive use of keyboards. Band’s musicians use various terms when describing their music, and among the main influences they cite quite a lot of principally different artists, particularly such alternative rock bands as R.E.M., U2, Live & Pearl Jam, along with Elton John.

The Band has existed in Saratov, being founded in Oct 1995 by singer and piano player Rampant (born May 11, 1976), his brother Zyxyz Tin (born Oct 28, 1981), initially also playing keyboards but eventually becoming the band’s bassist, and guitarist Clash (born Jul 8, 1977). In Mar 1996 Viking (born Feb 6, 1976) filled the drummer’s position. In the first 3 years the band has been not really active; the state of things slightly changed in 1999 (Clash and Viking has left the band by then). Rampant had to take drummer’s activities and leave aside keyboards for better times, and two new guitarists have been added – John Zender (born Feb 3, 1980) and (later) Kitten (born Jun 28, 1983). The four-piece band played in small local clubs from time to time and barely recorded. Despite all the uncertainty during this and the previous period, Rampant has continued to regularly write new material, and this resulted in several compilations

which could not be called albums only because they were never recorded. Later these programs have been seriously reviewed, shortened and combined in a series called The Riverside Years, recording of which is a work-in-progress for the band from 2008.

In Apr 2002 the band has finally found the permanent drummer Ivan Zipfer (born May 31, 1985). But at that moment the main repertoire consisted of the music not involving any keyboards, and Rampant has become a free vocalist. In 2002-2003 the band continued live performances in Saratov from time to time and recorded some demos. In the beginning of 2004 Rampant moved from Saratov to Moscow (and extended his stage name to Rampant Mustard) but for another 1.5 years the band lineup stayed the same (Rampant was arriving for some rehearsals and all gigs) until, after Zyxyz Tin also moving to Moscow in autumn 2005, the Saratov period has finished.

The first attempt to restore the band in Moscow was made in winter 2005-06 but the real revival has happened in summer 2007, after John Zender and Kitten have also moved to Moscow; in September one more guitarist Matt O’Donnell (born Aug 22, 1979) was added. Rampant has finally started permanently using keyboards, and live drums were substituted by drum-machine while searching for the drummers to fill the vacancy. It was decided to start recording The Riverside Years series and temporarily cancel any live performances. Zyxyz Tin was not supportive of this approach and quit the band. The first of The Riverside Years albums, Breakthrough/Breakdown, was recorded in Feb-Oct 2008 (the original version of this album has been written in 2001). The bass parts on the whole album were recorded by John Zender, and all drums were electronic. The album was released by the band itself in November – first online and then on CD. In the beginning of 2009 new bass player and drummer were added, and the band started preparing for live performances and the new album recording.

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