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CD Reviews

Warrant - 'Rockaholic' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 30, 2011    
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A major return to form on a very, very strong album.

The past fifteen years must have been something like a purgatory for Warrant fans. The band delving aimlessly into alternative territory with the bandwagon jumping 'Belly to Belly', the constant revolving door involving Bobby Borg, Mike Fasano, Rick Steier, David White, Erik Turner, Jani Lane and Jamie St James all arriving or exiting the Warrant camp apparently on a monthly basis. 2008 showed real promise with the reunion of the original band, Lane, Turner, Dixon, Sweet (or Chamberlin if you prefer) and Joey Allen, only for it to fall apart due mostly, well solely, to Jani Lane's ability to shoot himself in the foot repeatedly. Enter former Silent Witness, Lynch Mob, Cry Of Love and gun for hire singer Robert Mason. The merry go round begins again? Thankfully, after three years it hasn't and the band have knuckled down to recording an unashamedly eighties sounding record that fans have been willing them to do for eons. 

Now the question that lingers over Warrant is can they actually 'write' a record without Lane, who was for many, not least himself , 'Warrant', due to writing 99% of the material on everything they released. Turner proved on the 'Demos For Diehards' that he can write a decent tune, and Mason's pedigree as a writer speaks for itself with many co-writes in his previous outfits. So, on to the music. 'Sex Ain't Love', possibly the weakest track on the album, was thrown out as the first radio play, not the smartest move as there are much better choices available such as the excellent 'Innocence Gone' or 'Home', which in the hands of someone like Daughtry has 'hit' written all over it. What Mason brings to Warrant is a singer that can sing day in, day out with no 'issues' to complicate matters behind the scenes. Whilst Mason may not have that knack that Lane had for writing a hit single, his vocal contribution here is straight out of the top drawer. 'Rockaholic' might have been greeted with a degree of trepidation by long time fans wondering what was in store for them, but as a long time Warrant fan these fears are thankfully unfounded, with 'Rockaholic' delivering in spades, thanks in no part to the two years of live work the band have put in before attempting to record together.

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If there is one standout point it's the more 'mature' and slightly bluesier direction that the albums takes, but let me reassure you it's for nothing but the greater good of the album. It's easy to spot the influence of Mason in the song writing department with a little touch of the 'desert blues' associated with Lynch Mob and Cry Of Love openly displayed on tracks such as 'Snake' and 'What Love Can Do', but I as I mentioned before, it's a good thing.

Warrant may have been guilty of some bad decisions in their past, but thankfully with 'Rockaholic' their past misdemeanours are forgotten with a major return to form on a very, very strong album that should be revered for the album itself, not a chick with rather large attributes holding a spraying hose . There is no need for gimmicks; the gimmick is the music, with twelve of the fourteen tracks hitting the spot, and even the two weaker tracks being slightly above average fare. If I had a slight quibble, and it is slight, the running order could have been pieced together a little better which would have elevated the album to an even higher plane, as it doesn't seem to flow as well as it could have based on the current running order. That aside, as far as new releases by older artists go, this one goes in near the top of the pile, akin to last years 'Smoke and Mirrors' effort by (ironically) Lynch Mob. If we were a ratings based magazine I'd give it 4.5 out of 5, but seeing as we aren't, I won't. I'm looking forward to Firefest in October when we should hear some of these new songs in the set, bring it on!

Kieran Dargan

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