Review: Rev Theory – ‘Light It Up’

Posted: June 9th, 2008
Contributed By: Nick

Purchase @ Amazon.com
Release Date: June 10th, 2008 via Van Howes Records/Maloof Music/Interscope
Rev Theory is:
Rich Luzzi (Vocals)
Julien Jorgensen (Guitar)
Rikki Lixx (Guitar)
Matty McClosky (Bass)
Dave Agoglia (Drums)

Overview: It was August 2005, and I was heading to a local music venue to check out headlining act Five Bolt Main. Opening for Chris Volz’s pet project was a band out of the greatest city in the world (that’d be NYC) called Revelation Theory. There were, give or take, 30 people in attendance to witness their set, but their ferocious energy and stage presence, combined with the strangely humorous veins that bulged from singer Rich Luzzi’s head caught my attention. I signed up for their e-mail list, caught wind of their debut album ‘Truth is Currency‘ which was to come out the following month, and headed on my merry way. It was not until December 2005 when I heard the then quartet being interviewed on our local rock station, as they were in town for a pre-Christmas show supporting Sevendust, as well as their first single “Slowburn”. I listened to the track, caught their set that night, and immediately I was back on the bandwagon. I soon found out Revelation Theory was to co-headline the 2006 Girls Gone Wild Tour with Hinder and once again, I was thoroughly pleased with their bombastic performance; so much so, that it even topped watching my then girlfriend on that same stage in a make-out contest with a blazing hot biddie. I caught two more of their shows that year, including a marvelous interview, and began to wait for them to come out of hibernation. Summer of 2007 rolled around, and Revelation Theory announced their signing on with Interscope Records, who would release their next album upon completion. Aligned with Paul Ebersold (who produced ‘Truth is Currency‘), as well as producers Josh Abraham and Brian Howes (who enlisted the band as the first signing to his imprint label Van Howes), the now branded Rev Theory pieced together the ten songs that comprise ‘Light It Up‘. The group also added ex-Operator axeman Rikki Lixx to help round out the fold, and have since hit the road full time. The album’s first single “Hell Yeah” is steadily climbing the charts, and you can catch Rev on tour all summer opening for Shinedown and Puddle of Mudd.

The Good: I’ve had high hopes for ‘Light It Up‘, and Rev Theory exceeded my expectations and left me with a huge grin on my face. This ten song gem sparks with its very first single, the roaring, high velocity kick in the balls that is “Hell Yeah”. Fueled up, fiery, and fearless, the engaging “Hell Yeah” is hard not to enjoy, even if only once. Hooky and bubbling, “Favorite Disease” is further catalyzed by the sleazy riff assigned to its verses, as Rev Theory tackles its peachiest, sun-kissed song with poise. The title track of ‘Light It Up‘ does just what it suggests, a gritty, pulsating slab of mountainous hard rock that dumps gasoline into the album’s already brightly burning flame. The enveloping and tranquil “Broken Bones” will catch you by surprise, but fear not, because the song’s enviable synergy or melodic harmony and melody, coupled seamlessly with an impassioned and heartfelt delivery ensures that “Broken Bones” will not be reckoned with by its heavier predecessors. The halfway point of ‘Light It Up‘ is achieved by the soaring and effervescent “Headlights”, an upbeat and multi-purpose jaunt that not only would serve as a capable contender for the position of single number two, but also sums up the first part of the album in eloquent fashion. The towering, robust “Wanted Man” signals the start of the final five cuts, imbued by searing guitars and one of the disc’s strongest choruses. “Ten Years” starts off with a haunting, nostalgic introduction, recalling a sound akin to Metallica’s ‘Black Album’; once that moment wraps up, Rev Theory delivers the rest of “Ten Years”, never letting you go. As urgent as it is cathartic, “Ten Years” is a smooth yet chilling blend of revealing emotion and exquisite orchestra embellishments, adding vibrant colors to a song that could do tremendous things for Rev Theory. ‘Light It Up‘ returns to the advertised claim of its moniker with explosive and sweeping “Falling Down”, the band’s current concert opener that blazes ahead with a catastrophic chorus and some of Rich Luzzi’s most guttural vocal work. “You’re the One” commences with a serene piano and vocal duet and fittingly sets the mood. The telling and elegant track is bolstered by an epic chorus and solid lyrics, ironically best described as a catchy, hook-laden dirge. ‘Light It Up‘ hops on its horse and gallops into the sunset with the slyly titled “Far From Over”, where surging guitars and whimsical verses send Rev Theory out swinging, unrelenting until the final moment. For a band thrust into the over-saturated cast of modern rock, Rev Theory have charitably donated us ‘Light It Up‘, which, in a nutshell, is sick. Period.

The Bad: While I hate to hate on ‘Light It Up‘ and Rev Theory, there is one thing, although most may not notice nor even care about it. The record was done by two different producers, and I can often decipher which track was recorded with which. “Favorite Disease” is an obvious Howes incarnation, while “Falling Down” showcases Abraham’s guitar-heavy production work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at times ‘Light It Up‘ lacks solid cohesiveness. Other than some cliche song titles, hooks, and the fact that the album is far too brief at ten songs, Rev Theory covered some ground with ‘Light It Up‘.

Bottomline: The one thing Rev Theory has always prided themselves upon is how they worked hard to earn their success, never finding themselves at the other end of the silver spoon or reaching for the brass ring. ‘Light It Up‘ is the soundtrack to their “rags to riches” journey, and proves hard work, determination, and the ability to adapt eventually pays off. Because I’m starting to sound trite and hackneyed, I’ll leave you now to listen to ‘Light It Up‘, an album that takes the thousands of flames bands of their genre have burning right now and turns them into one hell of a fireworks display.

Rating: 9 out of 10