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Paul Lewis & Romeo Rage - Sky’s Rust (Realize Records)

1 February 2023

Romeo Rage is the new project of singer/songwriter and film composer Paul Lewis from Delaware, and his album Sky’s Rust is an artistically-inclined hard rock tour de force. Part David Bowie theatrics, part Bauhaus moodiness, part modern arena rock like Imagine Dragons, the album is a densely-layered, cinematic soundscape that contains the essence of a rock opera even if there is no clear storyline from song to song. There is a connecting thread, however, as some of the songs were inspired by Lewis’ dreams, and therefore it should come as no surprise that there is often otherworldly, surreal imagery in his lyrics.

Lewis is joined on the album by jazz fusion drummer John Sanders, and without the nuance and complexity of Sanders’ style, the songs would be closer to standard head banging rock fare. Lewis’ voice definitely resembles later Bowie, but on songs like “Black” and “Slip Away” he drifts toward Peter Murphy. It’s a heavy, gothic record, and although it never fully escapes from its deftly-crafted sense of melodrama, there is a palpable excitement and energy on tracks like “Rips” and “The Shift” that prevent it from ever becoming too mired in gloom. Sky’s Rust transcends genres and resists categorization but it will easily appeal to fans of Romeo Rage’s influences.