Center Of The Universe

R.U.S.T.X are a heavy metal/hard rock band from Cyprus formed in 2003 by the Xanthou family, three brothers and their sister - Peter (guitar), George (bass), Katerina (keys) and John (drums), with all four siblings taking turns behind the mic. The band released their debut album 'Forged In The Fire Of Metal' in 2011, followed by the E.P. 'Destiny Riders' in 2015. The bands sophomore album 'T.T.P.M.' emerged in 2017, and in 2019 the bands third album 'Center Of The Universe' was released.    
Album opener 'Defendre Le Rock' sparkles with bombastic riffing, similar to the American hard rock style of the eighties and early nineties. Close your eyes and you can just about visualize big hair, brightly coloured clothes and pompous prancing around. Open you eyes and what you see is four siblings just enjoying themselves. 'Running Man' hits the ground running (forgive the pun), and blazes a scorching trail across the land. A ferocious mix of power metal and traditional heavy metal, the chorus is a chant style sing a long to get everyone to join in. 'Black Heart' is much more mid tempo, incorporating touches of blues rock to its ambling pace, and then a gruff vocal style begins - and you realise its a different singer. This paints a completely different identity on the album, suddenly making your listening experience an intriguing one.    
And the intrigue is turned up higher when 'I Stand To Live' opens like a pop song...with yet another different singer. Thankfully 'I Stand To Live' does pick up the pace and rock hard, with the female vocals adding an interesting twist to the album. It seems like the different singers also bring a different style of music to the album with each of their songs, as across the first four songs, there has been four differing styles of music. Confusing? Just a little! Oh what's that now...AOR, and two singers... 'Endless Skies' is a entertaining melodic romp, trying to emulate bands such as Journey, Foreigner, and Boston. Title song 'Center Of The Universe' is by far and away the longest song on offer, stretching to an incredible nine minutes in length. Opening with the AOR flavour of the previous song, 'Center Of The Universe' is a mellow amble, a lazy stroll and an interest waning moment of the album.    
The constant changing of both the singers and styles of music, make me wonder if R.U.S.T.X have actually agreed on a musical direction for the band. This is more like a brain storming jam session; all bring your ideas to the studio and we'll record as many as possible. Don't get me wrong, this album does have more highs than lows, but mostly middles - 'Widow's Cry' for example injects pace, power, and an abrasive rhythm that sees it hold its own in the hard rock genre. And 'Wake Up' too, a heavy hitting hard rock stomp with a huge melodic edge. Thankfully these two songs have arrested the waning interest levels, and the urge to start skipping songs. 'Dirty Road' is a gutsy and punchy heavy hitter that follows the furrow ploughed by the sleaze/glam rock genre. Up tempo and energetic, the album is ending with a bit of a flourish, but I can't help thinking the band may be better off sticking to one style of music and a single singer, putting all their efforts into moving in one direction rather than four different ones. The album ends with a cover of 'Band On The Run' by Paul McCartney and Wings. And it's not bad - the pace is similar to the original and the different singers actually make it better. A little more beef, a little more punch and it's a quite a good cover.    
Overall, an intriguing journey of differing styles of rock, and four singers, the album has a chameleon like identity.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed for Metalmessage    
Review is also featured at Metal Gods TV