CD Reviews

Ratt - 'Infestation' Hot

Added by James Gaden     May 01, 2010    
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Comeback album from the LA based rockers.


Over a decade after their last ‘comeback’ album failed to set the world on fire, L.A. hard rockers Ratt are back to have another go with ‘Infestation’, and all I can say is that this is the album they should have delivered to John Kalodner for the Portrait label back in the late nineties. Featuring the same foursome as that last release (vocalist Stephen Pearcy, lead guitarist Warren DeMartini, drummer Bobby Blotzer and bassist Robbie Crane) the band are augmented here by the recent addition of ex-Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo, and what a valuable addition he proves to be.

From the opening riff to ‘Eat Me Up Alive’ it’s obvious that Ratt have found their mojo, the aggressive twin guitars and Bobby Blotzer’s highly distinctive drum fills fly out of the speakers with the energy of a band hungry to impress. It’s probably fair to say that Stephen Pearcy has had his fair share of flak over the years, but he’s the voice of Ratt and it wouldn’t sound right with anyone else, so the good news is he sounds pretty much the same as he always did and his attitude-filled rasp is as gloriously abrasive as ever. Thankfully ‘Eat Me Up Alive’ isn’t just a one-off and all eleven songs have hooks of varying degrees and some simply wonderful guitar riffs and solos in the old-school style, with the difference being that Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette’s powerful production actually elevates the solos as an important part of the song rather than trying to bury them in the mix a la Beau Hill. There are no ballads on the album, probably the closest is ‘Take Me Home’ with it light verses and clever arrangements, but the band successfully avoid repetition with an array of different tempos and their understanding of dynamics. The upbeat rockers ‘Take A Big Bite’, ‘Last Call’ and ‘Lost Weekend’ all sound instantly familiar, especially the latter which borrows it’s opening riff from ‘Lack Of Communication’, whilst ‘Look Out Below’ is more of a moody beast with the same kind of feel as ‘Loving You Is A Dirty Job’. The obvious commercial single is the catchy ‘Best Of Me’, which I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, (and yes, there is more than a hint of Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ during the bridge), but surprisingly the song is apparently mostly down to Cavazo. ‘A Little Too Much’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ are other winners that wouldn’t sound out of place on daytime radio.

The only song that doesn’t really sound like old-school Ratt is ‘Garden Of Eden’, which actually sounds more like old-school Alice Cooper or Aerosmith, but with ‘Infestation’ the band have thrown their hat back in the ring and delivered an album that’s true to their legacy but at the same time sounds fresh and vibrant. It has some superb songs and performances throughout and surpasses all expectations, otherwise why would a forward thinking label like Roadrunner get involved? Robbin Crosby would be proud.

Phil Ashcroft


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