Photo: Jeff Ficsher

For a band that’s been climbing up the rock’n’roll ladder for the good part of ten years, Reality Suite aren’t showing any signs of stopping. Continuing the great American tradition of heavy, female-fronted rock music, these troubadours are a group to be seen just as well as heard. Think of the melodic sensibilities of a band like Avenged Sevenfold or Alice Cooper, but with a more feminine touch in the vocal. That’s not taking anything away from their frontwoman Kimmii Hart, who joined the group in 2013 after a series of line-up changes. Hart is a bad-ass looking rocker lady and that’s just easy to tell from the video of the band’s latest single, “Cut, Burn, Bruise.” Don’t let her good looks distract you from her obvious talent, though. It’s not just that Hart has a strong yet delicate voice, which is a hard balance to strike for most singers; she delivers her words in a passionate way.

It would be tough to pave your way as a female singer in this genre. Historically, heavier styles of rock music have been male-dominated. It was always a problem in the mosh pits, where you would see a group of female fans trying to work their way into the pit while trying to avoid contact with testosterone-fuelled headbangers who may not understand the basic concept of relative body weight. Remember, there was a time before social media revolutions like #metoo and woke culture in general. That’s not to say that the metal pits didn’t have values that many tried to uphold. There were those who did their best to ensure a safe space for women. It’s just that women had an uphill battle to climb in order to dictate their own terms and claim their own territory in this scene.

Groups like Paramore, Evanescence, and Halestorm who blew-up in the nu-metal, heavy-rock scenes across the world posed a challenge to metalheads in terms of female empowerment. Reality Suite with Kimmii Heart continue this struggle as noted in FemMetal’s December/2019 issue: “Art remains the strongest of weapons to fight back against brutal attempts to shape a world in way that fits misogynists. Reality Suite has grabbed that sword and is waving it relentlessly in the face of close-minded and sexist parts of the society.” I certainly don’t envy Hart on her position in the band. Alas, she fights, and her troops are behind her. One should always remember that those who pave the way for others have the roughest hills to climb and the toughest battles to fight. But without them, there would be so little good done in this world.

‘Each of us in the band had lost someone in the last two years. I lost my mother in 2016 to lung cancer – which spawned the song “Cut, Burn Bruise”,’ says Brian King the drummer of the band. The single is delivered with much emotion, indeed. The arrangement reflects these feeling as instruments die down during the verses, while bass and rhythms slowly fade in, setting us up for a climactic chorus. That kind of swelling in the sound is ultra effective in a song such as this. What I have to give special props to is the guitar solo. It’s fuckin’ top-notch as far as what any rock guitar solo should achieve. It’s got fireworks, but it’s not void of substance. It’s technical, while saying something melodically. And The tone! What the fuck happened to tone? I think I’m gonna go tone-deaf soon if guitarists keep favouring flashiness for good tone. Hendrix wasn’t a shred master, people! Thankfully, Reality Suite cleaned our ears out a bit and we might just survive another little while. Check ’em out and send them love. Peace!