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Friday, April 9, 2010
Ratt's new release Infestation (due out April 20th on RoadRunner Records) is a welcome return to their much celebrated sound, with an intensity that is both urgent and well-devised. In short, this album really rocks. Following a fantastic trend, Ratt toured behind an anniversary of their seminal juggernaut Out Of The Cellar, playing it in its entirety (you should remember that when a classic record first breaks, bands rarely preform it complete). What I believe this did for Ratt (as well as others) is it got their blood moving in the direction of what it was that made them blow up in the first place. Therein is the magic of Infestation, an 11 track straight rock-and-roll record guaranteed to please even a casual Ratt fan. Credit and due must be given to Michael (Elvis) Baskette for ignoring all temptations that contemporary production offers (pitch correctors, drum loops , etc.). Stephen Pearcy has never had what people consider a great voice (which is exactly what's great about it!); and I always felt he had a voice almost more suited to punk than hard rock - maybe that's what cornered the market all these years for Ratt with their Sunset Blvd. alley-cat brand of stiff rock and roll. It is Pearcy's unforgettable growl that makes even the softer tracks, like track two's Best Of Me, still retain enough grit to keep it safely out of ballad land. Warren Demartini is fantastic as always (he is so much of the Ratt sound we know and love). He really seems like he is energized on this new outing, with blazing riffs aplenty. Another thing to note is how great the drums sound: they are panned perfectly and really give you a sense of what drummer Bobby Blotzer is selling. Keeping the low end in line is Robbie Craneon on bass, while on guitar number two - the uber awesome Carlos Cavazo of the late great Quiet Riot - shows absolutely why he was the perfect choice to fill out the lineup. Track one, Eat Me Up, kicks it off just the way a rock record should: it gives you hope that there will be more of the same to follow... There is - in spades! Most specifically, A Little Too Much, Lost Weekend, Take A Big Bite, and Don't Let Go. The big anthem (and yes, for a record like this you must have a big anthem) is without a doubt Take Me Home; a homage to the lighters in the air (well I guess cell phones now). Bang your head halfway, well maybe more like a nod really that says I have feelings but you can still suck it. Over the years I have heard Ratt detractors say, "All Ratt songs sound alike - ya know, like Round and Round." My answer to that is you should hope they do because that sound and that song is a perfect example of what uncompromising rock-and-roll sounds like. In reality I do not agree that all Ratt songs sound the same, but I will say: much like Out Of The Cellar, there is a very nice cohesion to Infestation; it plays like it should: like a record with an A side and a B side. On the strength of this new release I will be reviewing the CD release party and concert as well, and if this stuff comes off live as it should, it will be one kick ass night! It's been 26 years since Out Of The Cellar blew out the speakers, and this new record begs the question: Can Ratt-and-roll ever die? I hope it doesn't for a long, long time.
I used to be a Ratt fan and now I am again and it feels great!
"Round and round, what comes around goes around. I'll tell you why" Dig.
4 out of 5 Anarchy Speakers
Thursday, April 1, 2010
MEGADETH 20th Anniversary concert of their seminal masterpiece Rust In Peace began before the show even started as evidenced by the sign in the box office window "yes we really are sold out" The electricity was palpable as two perennial beasts EXODUS then TESTAMENT pounded the audience into a desperate frenzy. While we waited for Megadeth to hit the stage I was treated to possibly the worlds largest karaoke sing along to Iron Maiden's Two Minutes To Midnight which was funny, cool and a little scary. That was when I met a young man who seemed a bit down, you see he had rocked so hard during Testament that he had lost his pant's! Once I explained to him that most human's simply can't rock that hard he seemed to lighten up a bit. For those of you who are not familiar with Rust In Peace let me say this, it is a perfect record from start to finish (which is almost impossible in any genre) And was nominated for a Grammy in 1991 for best metal performance (the winner that year was Mettalica for a cover of the queen song Stone Cold Crazy umm... yeah okay whatever, it's good but umm... yeah whatever) What was so great for myself and fans alike is that Megadeth would be performing this record in order and in its entirety (many of these songs had never been preformed live like Five Magics, wow) Any fans of this kind of Metal know the first two tracks Holy Wars and Hanger 18 lick for lick and can air guitar, bass, drum or vocal wail it in their sleep. This concert was filmed for a live DVD and the crowd did not disappoint, singing along, moshing and head banging all the way through (I was out of breath just watching it go down) It's no secret that Dave Mustaine who is the singer, chief cook, song writer, founding member and ax bending genius has had his troubles with drugs and alchohol over the years and that that is something that catches up to you physically, I understand that he has been clean for some time now (way to go Dave)! That being said he looked fantastic, played fantastic, sounded fantastic and gave the loyal following everything that they asked for which is the mark of a true rock warrior. One thing that should also be noted is that Megadeth's newest record Endgame is like the previous two, fast, unrelenting and awesome... so go buy it, you will not regret it.
The band was in fine form with the return of David Ellefson on Bass, Shawn Drover on drums and on the other lead guitar the amazing Chris Broderick. For anyone who understands music theory even a little you can see that this is a very difficult record to play as there are multiple time changes per song, trading solos and marathon lengths. The band not only handled the material they nailed it to the wall. Megadeth ended their legendary set with Symphony Of Destruction Peace Sells and a very cool Holy Wars reprise which was met with much deserved fanfare. One of my favorite moments was when I met a dad who had brought his 8 year old son to see one of his favorite bands do in his words "their greatest album" The kid was having a ball, and as each one teach one about the things we love we can be sure that this transcendent music will find it's way through the generations. One thing I know for sure is that Metal is alive and well in Southern California and I suspect the rest of the world as well.
4 out of 5 Anarchy Speakers
Photos by Jdoggs Magoo
Original artwork poster by Two Rabbits Studios www.tworabbitsstudios.com