Hard rockers Rev Theory returns with their third album, Justice. Can it match the success of Light It Up?
Rich Luzzi- Vocals
Rikki Lixx- Guitar
Julien Jorgensen- Guitar
Matt McCloskey- Bass, Backing Vocals
Dave Agoglia- Drums
The Track Listing
1. Dead In A Grave (3:59)
2. Justice (3:19)
3. Hangman (3:19)
4. Fire (4:09)
5. Loaded Gun (3:20)
6. Remedy (3:53)
7. Enemy Within (3:45)
8. Wicked Wonderland (3:45)
9. Say Goodbye (3:51)
10. Never Again (4:40)
11. Hollow Man (4:07)
Rev Theory had a breakthrough with their 2008 sophomore record Light It Up. It wasn’t a great album, but it had two roaring singles in the title track and “Hell Yeah” that boosted sales and the band’s reputation. Three years has gone by since Light It Up and almost out of nowhere comes the follow-up, simply titled Justice. What the album lacks in a hit track on the level of the ones above is made up for by consistent quality and a heavier sound thanks to legendary producer Terry Date at the helm.
The band stays firmly in the hard rock spectrum, though hovers above much of the competition due to the plentiful hooks and snappy choruses. The infectious side of the songwriting sneaks up out of the blue, leaving a spot for itself in the temporal lobe. Opener “Dead In A Grave” is a nail-bitting opener ala “Hell Yeah.” After half-a-dozen listens, the urge to sing along becomes too much to bear. That quality transfers over to the rest of the songs, though this isn’t the case without a few spins of the disc.
With the exception of the tame ballad “Fire,” the first two-thirds of the album hits hard and leaves little to the imagination. The collection of songs that open things up are upbeat rockers with a fist-pumping delivery and an anthemic vibe that should get the live crowds roaring in approval. The rhythm section takes charge on the title track, while “Hangman” has already been grabbed by the World Wrestling Entertainment for their “Friday Night Smackdown” show. That type of promotion helped Light It Up to tear up the charts and it has the potential to do the same for Justice.
While their last album had a few heavy moments spread around, Justice increases the multitude of attitude. “Remedy” is fast enough to raise the blood pressure of a coma patient, and “Wicked Wonderland” has a thick sound supported by a thunderous bass line and chunky riffs. The vocals switch from a clean tone to comprehensible shouting, both of which have been heard a ton of times before. The use of backing vocals is done in an effective style on the lengthy “Never Again.”
It isn’t a modern rock album without a few “heartfelt” ballads, and Rev Theory provides enough sap to top 100 plates of pancakes with. “Fire” has been mentioned, but is just a tiny distraction compared to the awful “Say Goodbye.” The track start off rough with groan-inducing lyrics like, “Wasn’t born an angel, but I still try to fly,” and things don’t get much better. The only saving grace is a decent solo, though like the rest of the leads on the album, it sounds like a weak imitation of Slash. The obligatory acoustic closer “Hollow Man” is mediocrity to the power of infinity.
Taking the lame melodic songs out of the equation, Justice is a solid hard rock album for the masses to consume. There isn’t anything shocking to be found here, unless the very thought of a band saying the f word a few times gets one’s panties all bunched up. While Light It Up seemed content to ride off the backs of the few singles, Justice has the type of substance that was lacking on that album. Rev Theory would do themselves a favor by sticking to what they do best, handing out hefty ass-whoppings like “Wicked Wonderland,” and leave the cliches to Nickelback and Buckcherry.
The 411: Justice is much more consistent than Light It Up, though it doesn't have a hit on the level of "Hell Yeah" or the title track. The album kicks a lot of ass in its heavier moments, and there are enough rocking songs to balance the tame ballads spread on the latter half. This isn't a revolutionary album or one for the ages, but a solid, old-fashioned hard rock record that will appeal to both fans of the genre and mainstream music listeners alike.