Ratt – ‘Infestation’ – Album Review

After the album ‘Ratt (1999), the band had a very troubled time.  Stephen Pearcy left the band (again) and started his own band that eventually tried to use the Ratt name, but the other members sued and won.  The remaining Ratt members continued on as a band…or at least made several attempts with many line-up changes.

In 2000, the current Ratt was Warren DeMartini, Bobby Blotzer, Robbie Crane, John Corabi (Motley Crue) and Robert Mason.  Robert was brought on as lead singer, but left shortly after when the band couldn’t get a major label deal.  That brought on Jizzy Pearl at lead vocals.  This would remain the band until at least 2006.

In 2002, the band and fans were delivered some bad news.  Original guitarist, Robbin Crosby, passed away from a Heroin overdose.  He had long battled  with addiction and it finally grabbed hold for good.  Robbin has also been battling HIV, but the drugs got to him first.  Any hopes of the original band getting back together were quickly dashed.

In 2006, Jizzy would leave and Stephen Pearcy rejoined the band.  Then 2 years later, John Corabi would leave and he was replaced by Carlos Carvazo from Quiet Riot.  The line-up was now complete for the next album…whew, that was exhausting.  Wait, where is Juan Croucier?  He was out doing his own thing.  He comes back to the band, but not for many years.

Finally, in April 2010, Ratt released their seventh studio album called ‘Infestation’.  It had been over 10 years since the last album and with all the line-up changes and the fact the last album was so bad, my expectations for this release were pretty low.

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Black Star Riders – ‘Heavy Fire’ – Album Review

‘Heavy Fire’ is Black Star Riders third album in just 4 years and they keep getting better.  For those that don’t know Black Star Riders, the band is really made up of the current members of Thin Lizzy.  They wanted to release some new songs, but they didn’t want to release them as Thin Lizzy so they created Black Star Riders.

I think I understand why they did it.  If you think about it, was anyone looking to hear new music from Thin Lizzy…No, probably not.  This was actually a brilliant move as it caused a lot of buzz around the original release and here they are 4 years later getting better and better.

The band members are as follows:

  • Ricky Warwick – vocals
  • Scott Gorham – lead guitar
  • Damon Johnson – lead guitar
  • Robbie Crane – bass
  • Jimmy DeGrasso – drums

The album is a guitar heavy, hard rock release and you wouldn’t expect anything less when you have two lead guitarists.  The opening track and title track, “Heavy Fire”, comes screaming in with the guitars and a nice heavy sound.  Ricky sounds fantastic and they deliver a shot that resonates throughout the album.

The first single, “When the Night Comes In”, keeps up with the opening track and now you are completely invested in this album.  I love guitar rock and they bring it even more on this song.  “Dancing With the Wrong Girl” is a little more pop sound, but that doesn’t take away from anything, but actually adds to its charm.  Jimmy’s drums on this one are perfect.  They aren’t over powering and just enough that set perfectly in the song.

The heaviest and baddest song on the album is “Who Rides the Tiger”.  The song is a full on attack of your senses and even the lyrics are a blast.  They guitar solo was amazing and I don’t think I will ever tire of this duo of Scott & Damon.  This is probably my favorite song they have ever done.

“Cold War Love” is next up, but this is one song that I could never connect with.  It is a nice slow ballad, but I wasn’t feeling it.  Hopefully you can connect with it and enjoy it.  Luckily, the next song was their current single, “Testify or Say Goodbye”.  The song picks the tempo back up and gives us more of the what you love from this album.  The classic rock sound, the vocals and all around musicianship make it another standout on the album.

“Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” gives us a little more darker sound and is a nice change of pace for the album without losing the flow of the album.  “True Blue Kid” is another song that misses the mark for me.  I can’t pinpoint what it is about the song, but I found myself skipping it which is never a good sign.

“Ticket to Rise” brings me back to the enjoyment with another solid guitar heavy song with a great solo.  Keep it coming and I won’t tire of it. “Letting Go of Me” is the only song on the album not co-written by Damon Johnson and yet it is still a great song.  This one was a fun song with a faster tempo.

The final track, “Fade”, is considered a bonus track but it is too good and fits nicely with the overall album. It doesn’t have the bonus track feel.  It is a slower song and actually kept my interest.  I usually like albums to end with a bang, but this worked for me nonetheless.  A nice way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. “Heavy Fire” – Keeper
  2. “When The Night Comes In” – Keeper
  3. “Dancing With the Wrong Girl” – Keeper
  4. “Who Rides the Tiger” – Keeper
  5. “Cold War Love” – Delete
  6. “Testify or Say Goodbye” – Keeper
  7. “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” – Keeper
  8. “True Blue Kid” – Delete
  9. “Ticket to Rise” – Keeper
  10. “Letting Go of Me” – Keeper
  11. “Fade” – Keeper

9 keeper out 11 songs – 82% (4.1 out 5 stars).  The Black Star Riders are killing it on this album.  I always talk about how rock today seems to be missing the guitar rock sound and these guys are not missing anything.  The guitars are outstanding and take me back to when guitars were king.  Nobody wanted to be a DJ, they wanted to play guitar.  For that alone this album is worth it, but it has so much more to offer.  Go grab a copy and get ready to have your ears blasted with what rock should sound like.