This formerly Ramones-devoted Tuscany-based quartet has stepped away from blueprints of yore like Too Tough to Die and Animal Boy to craft an album that's intentionally less derivative of the brudders and subsequently more generic. Although the hard rock and punk found on Rivalry draws on everything from the stoner-sizzle of Fu Manchu to the brutal stomp of the Hellacopters, it also comes with various degrees of success. Launched with a tribute to Peter Criss, Highschool Dropouts are ferocious, slithering rockers on "Reptile," delve into glam with positive results for "New Granada Kid" and even revert back to their past with "Firing Line." It's all capably done, but the Dropouts biggest issue is that they still struggle in the area of originality.
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AllMusic Review by John D. Luerssen