Not a guilty pleasure

Big ass disclaimer in first-person perspective (you hate reading ’em, and I hate writing ’em, so let’s get it out of the way):

If I were forced to listen to rap-rock, I’d like it to be more heavy on the rock than the rap. But that’s just me.

I don’t channel hip-hop culture, so that portion of a rap-rock equation will be lost on me no matter how good the artist is. Which means I’ll take uninformed potshots at Limp Bizkit and Korn while practicing a double standard idolizing Rage Against the Machine and Missile Girl Scoot.

Now that you know from where I’m coming, I can now safely proceed to give RIZE a favorable review.

This Japanese trio is a rock band first. The guitar riffs are pure metal. Bassist TOKIE delivers some Zeppelin-worthy lines, even busting out an electric upright to give her part something subtle and special. Nobuaki Kaneko, meanwhile, grounds everything with drumming that’s both solid and all-over-the-place.

Even though vocalist/guitarist Jesse spends most of the recording rapping in a raspy, bleach-drenched holler, he does at least to attempt to sing — and I use that term somewhat loosely — some choruses.

The results aren’t too bad on such tracks as “Music”, “Why I’m Me” and “Rocks.” Then again, with riffs as big as these, the last thing RIZE needs is a Really Good Singer. In short, Jesse does his job pretty damn well.

RIZE’s debut album, Rookey, is the kind of recording you either really dig ‘cos you’re into rap-rock, or you hate yourself for liking ‘cos it is rap-rock.

But don’t let rough-hewned rap delivery hang you up — RIZE knows how to rock out. It’s all there in the guitars.