CD Review: Rev Theory / Justice
Rev Theory Rating:
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Reviewed by: Justin Bartz
Rev Theory is back with their third studio album titled Justice, due out on February 15th. This should be a good “starter present” since it’s a week before my birthday! Anytime I review a band like this coming out with their third album, caution creeps in. After bands come out with a vengeance on their debut, many times they disappoint on their sophomore release, trying too hard to be “radio friendly” and veering away from that initial aggression. That’s their prerogative; so be it. It sells, and they’re making for a living either way, so more power to them. It still isn’t much fun for the listener though. Being that this is #3 for Rev Theory, the question is if they would fall into that same trap. I can say with a resounding “NO!” that it’s not the case. Holy mother of Lemmy does this album rock. On their third album, it sounds more like Truth Is Currency than Light It Up, certainly a welcome change from how most bands progress. Both albums are great in their own way, and Rev Theory expanded their fan base with Light It Up, but Justice has that raw edge to it again, and I think fans will love this. In my opinion, this is their best album yet. Terry Date (Soundgarden, Deftones, Pantera) did a superb job producing this album. Let’s go through the tracks and see how it sounds.
The opening track “Dead In A Grave” is an excellent leadoff track with a screeching guitar intro. The verses to this song remind me of “Suckertrain Blues” by Velvet Revolver. Very cool stuff. Lyrics like “I’m still breathing / F*ck your sympathy / Don’t need it / I can’t kick it ’til I’m lying dead in a grave” express the mood of this song. The second track “Justice” is the title track (and first single) off the album. Another exceptional song; I really can’t wait to see this go over live. Great guitar chords and an in-your-face, headbanging chorus make this song absolutely insane. I had to get a good four helpings of this song before I was ready to move on. I got a slight Kid Rock “American Badass” vibe that I wish lasted longer in this song. But it’s MUCH harder than that. If you’re wondering if the rest of the album sounds like “Justice”, I can tell you that you’re definitely not going to be disappointed. Like “Justice”, the next track “Hangman” has great riffs and a great vibe as well. Picking right up where “Justice” left off. So far, so good!
“Fire” starts slowing things down while still maintaining the intensity of the first three tracks. This song is like a harder-rocking “Far From Over” to me with a powerful, heart-wrenching chorus. “Loaded Gun” follows with another powerful chorus. Right when I started to ask myself if there’s going to be a single ballad on the album, “Remedy” starts off slow in the intro before it kicks back into a hard-rocking song.
“Enemy Within” follows with a heavier intro. This is a great song for the pretenders to the throne who can just sit down and watch Rev Theory set the world on fire. It reminds me a little of “Nightrain” by GnR on the lyrics: “Another loose cannon / I’m a bad motherf****r / And I ain’t got nothing to lose“.
“Wicked Wonderland” is another cool track, and I think it describes the album perfectly. Finally we come upon the first ballad “Say Goodbye”. This should DEFINITELY be their next single, ballad or not. EXCELLENT song! “What will you remember when I say goodbye? Does it really matter what I leave behind? Cuz nothing is forever, and would you even care if I say goodbye?” MAKE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE!
We get one final hard rocking track in “Never Again” before the hauntingly beautiful, acoustic closer titled “Hollow Man”. You can just FEEL the void inside from the lyrics in this song:
“I could walk all night
And never find what’s right
Searching for some peace
To fill the void in me
So was it hard for you to go
Did I fail to let you know
that you were the one I needed most?
Was it hard for you to sleep
without a care for me?
It takes some time to embrace the ghost
A still frame in my mind
is faded black and white
All that’s left to say
Fifteen years too late”
I know I’ve mentioned a lot of the lyrics in this review, but they’re just enough. Not simple, cheesy, cliche rock lyrics like some rock bands do when crapping out a mediocre album, but not trying to be overly deep and intellectual just for the sake of it.
Overall, wow, this is an excellent album. I go in with an open mind and mid-level expectations with bands, and this exceeded them and knocked it out of the park for me. Probably the best album I’ve reviewed yet for TheyWillRockYou. There’s not one song that I ended up skipping here. I could put this on random play and enjoy any song that comes up. The first few tracks just blow you away with their intensity, but the rest of the album certainly holds up and maintains that ferocity.
It’s been great following the evolution of Rev Theory and hearing it along the way. I don’t think many fans are going to be disappointed in the direction that they’re going. This entire album is going to be powerful in a live setting. I missed them last time they came through here, but there’s absolutely no way I’m going to let that happen a second time.
I can’t bring myself to give any album (other than the classics) five stars, especially until I know if it’ll still hold up years from now (most don’t), but “Justice” certainly comes close to that threshold for me. Let’s see if it holds up in a year or two. I think it will, especially after I see it live. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.