Review Summary: Ratt's "Infestation" a Solid Listen
The 80's were my favorite decade when it comes to music. During this decade, many thrash bands were coming onto the scene like early Metallica. In addition, many 70's icons reappeared on the charts such as Alice Cooper and icons like Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio left classic bands to form their own solo projects. It was a great time to rock.
However, the arguably most important genre of music from the 80's was the rise of what were referred to as hair bands. Many of these bands were not truly metal (though sometimes classified as such), but were really hard rock bands with a glam look or in some cases "hard pop." These bands often contained catchy choruses with a little bit of heavy metal guitar thrown in the middle. One of the best of the genre were a band called Ratt. Ratt were cool in the fact they contained twin guitars, an underrated bass player, a solid drummer, and a singer with a unique voice. Albums such as "Out of the Cellar" were among the genre's best. What also made them standout was the fact they were just heavy enough to please male fans, yet were also liked by female fans who in some ways drove the hair band scene.
By the early 90's, Ratt was basically done with internal problems and the fact grunge now ruled the charts. They did make one weak attempt in the late 90's to form a new version of Ratt, but their efforts failed. I basically figured they were a thing of the past.
That is why I was surprised when the band reformed. Robbin Crosby had died in the early 2000's and bass player, Juan Croucier did not seem particularly interested in a reunion. That meant that Ratt would go with bassist Robbie Crane and guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who was known for his work in Quiet Riot. Having been somewhat of a fan of Quiet Riot, I thought to myself "this could work." When I learned the band along with Stephen Pearcy on vocals, Warren Demartini on guitar, and Bobby Blotzer on drums were working on a new album, I figured I would give it a chance. However, my expectation were still low. After all, most reunion albums end up failing because the band simply cannot recreate their old sound.
A month or so before the release of "Infestation" I heard the first single "Best of Me" on a speciality show and was pleasantly surprised. The song, while perhaps not a masterpiece, was catchy and sounded a lot like Ratt sounded in the 80's. I was encouraged and a month later purchased the album and I was immediately glad I did.
The album while containing a few modern elements here or there, is packed full of good to great songs. Such tracks as "Lost Weekend" sound like they could come off of an 80's era Ratt album, while other tracks such as "Eat Me Up Alive" could win over new fans. It is so refreshing to hear a comeback album legitimately sound like the classic lineup. Unfortunately, word has it the band is now on another hiatus due to some tensions. That is unfortunate because the lineup sounded great with "Infestation" and I have hopes the band will resolve their differences.