Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Ratt "Infestation"

Ratt is back with their seventh studio album, "Infestation". After going 'round and round' with original lead singer Stephen Pearcy, the rest of the current Ratt line-up (Warren DeMartini, Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot), Robbie Crane, and Bobby Blotzer) were able to let bygones be bygones. The guys were aiming for their hey day on this one, shooting for songs that could fit in-between their landmark 80s records "Out Of The Cellar" (which spawned their biggest hit, 1984's "Round and Round") and "Invasion Of Your Privacy".

"Infestation" recalls many elements of Ratt's past, but is somewhat updated. While the songwriting and lyrical content sound dated, the guitars sound pretty modern. In my mind, it is Pearcy's distinctive growl that really makes Ratt sound like Ratt. He doesn't sound like he's aged at all - in fact, all of the guys sound great after all these years and deserve an A for effort. The record is big fun, with loud guitar, sleaze, and mostly uptempo rockers.

What is missing here, though, are the memorable hooks that made their classic tunes so awesome. Some of the more commercial tracks could be considered modern day "hits" for Ratt - these are stacked right at the beginning of the CD. The blistering opener, "Eat Me Up Alive" suggests the boys are back with a vengeance, breathing fresh air into a sound that is a clear nod to their "Out of the Cellar" days. "Best Of Me" is the most radio-friendly anthem, and my favorite tune from "Infestation" - it would have fit comfortably on their underrated "Detonator" record. "A Little Too Much" is another fun track with a catchy riff and shout out loud chorus, but the record largely goes downhill after this, with a long string of mediocre hard rock songs that can be summed up as "comes close, but no cigar". In short, Ratt proves they can still rock, but by and large they left the melodic part out.

Fans of Ratt and their fellow 80s rock bands will appreciate the references of the era peppered into the songs here, including a subtle shout out to Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" tucked into "Last Call", and the mentioned of "Wanted Man" in "As Good As It Gets".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3

Ratt on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "Best Of Me" here.

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