R.U.S.T.X – Center Of The Universe (Pitch Black Records)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green
Center Of The Universe is the third album from Cypriot band R.U.S.T.X. And it’s a real family affair as the band consists of three brothers and their sister. Influence wise, the band are influenced by both 70s and 80s Hard Rock and Metal… and straight away, I’ve told you the problem with this album.
When you look at music from the 70s and the 80s, from both Hard Rock and Metal, there’s a massive difference between the styles, but for whatever reason, R.U.S.T.X, have tried to shoehorn in as many styles as they can into this album.
Things actually get off to a really good start with Defendre Le Rock, which sounds like mid-80s era AC/DC (guitar wise) mixed in with a bit of Uriah Heep and probably a bit of Krokus… so a decent array of influences that all work well together. But R.U.S.T.X don’t stay on this well-worn path for long.
Running Man is slightly more commercial and reminds me of Rainbow’s Spotlight Kid, which is fine with me… and track three, Blackheart is pretty cool too. It’s slower, and the vocals are more gravelly… but as all four members share the vocal duties, it’s not a surprise that the vocals will change the texture of the music.
And then changes really kick in. Sister Katerina takes over the vocal duties and while she has a very strong voice, it feels like a completely different band. It’s like an AOR take on Magnum’s more commercial side. There is nothing wrong with the song at all, but it has very little in common with the opener, Defendre Le Rock. It’s followed by Endless Skies which is overblow 70s super sugary pomp… it reminds me an old song, which had something to do with “the old school run” or similar lyrics… and it’s just a cheese overload.
And that’s followed by a nine minute track that’s a cross between Marillion, the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis and vocals that sound like the deep vibrating tones of Family’s Roger Chapman, before the Prog overload button is activated and more cheese is thrown on the pile.
The album continues changing course until we reach the finale. A cover of the Wings classic, Band On The Run. Growing up in the 70s, this was one of my favourite albums, so I am a fan of the song, but as with a lot of its predecessors, it really doesn’t fit in with a lot of the album… and it isn’t a very strong cover, unfortunately.
The thing is, R.U.S.T.X can really play, I love the sound on the album, but someone needs to reign the band in. The album lacks identity as it’s all over the place, in terms of style… so all the band need to do is to harness their obvious talent and stick to a (winning) formula and stay away from karaoke sounding cover versions.