Romantic Rebel are a Chicago based Metal act who describe themselves as high energy female fronted rock. The band formed in 2012 and this self titled collection of songs is their first full length release.
Listening to this album through from the first song to the last my overwhelming reaction is just how old school it sounds. This is very deliberate as the band cite the likes of Van Halen and Aerosmith as influences but this really sounds like an album that Skid Row might have come up with in the 80s if they'd replaced Sebastian Bach with a female singer.
Romantic Rebel have tried to give things a modern twist but unlike say Halestorm they wear their influences too much out in the open so the overall feel is of something derivative, not original. This doesn't mean that this a bad album, far from it but RR have failed to come up with a definitive vibe or a stamp on the songs that says this is them and only them.
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The songs are full of energy and much fine guitar work. The pounding rhythms and riffs of 'Bad For Me' are married to a fine chorus and a really nice guitar solo while 'Madness' is all swirling riffs and harmonies.
Things take an interesting turn with the modern sounding acoustic intro to 'Moment' before it morphs into a commercial sounding Metal/pop hybrid but 'Disappear' is a forgettable mish mash of ideas and 'New Way To Sin' is a riff without much of a song to hang it on.
Given that one of the selling points is that this is a female fronted band it surprises me how low singer KT Paige's vocals are in the mix and it's sometimes hard to tell how strong her voice really is. It's only on the inevitable hard rock power ballad 'Sorry' that her vocals get some room to breathe and show that she DOES have a quality set of pipes.
Verdict: This is an album full of promise with some nice touches but I think this band have more in the locker to come. They certainly have the attitude and the playing chops (Alex Vincent's guitar playing is superb throughout) but I think they need to work harder on the song writing and need to sound a little less retro and push those vocals higher in the mix too.
If you like bands like Benedictum and Kobra And The Lotus then you'll certainly get where Romantic Rebel are coming from and enjoy this album though.