Ratt – [Album]

Saturday, 03 April 2010

Since the collapse of mainstream metal happened around 1991, few bands have been more violently abused than Ratt, but there's a good reason for that: after Nirvana broke and the wheels fell off of the high times for bands like Motley Crue, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses and Ratt (among dozens of others), Ratt took four years off instead of picking its career up by its axles and continuing to run. The band has never really recovered from that mistake and, in listening to Infestation, listeners can tell that Ratt hasn't changed anything about themselves since 1988 so that doesn't help their case either.

The most charitable way of explaining Infestation is that it's a cavalcade of badness. From as early as “Eat Me Up Alive,” the band seems to go out of its way to recall that magic time when you weren't cool if your hair didn't hang just above the crack of your ass (this was a gender non-specific practice) and the best pants came in one of three styles: white jeans, acid washed jeans or spandex. In keeping with that image too, the guitars that grace “Eat Me Up Alive” are slick (not to be confused with 'Slik'), slippery and go down easier than a groupie on Nikki Sixx in 1985; it's just really passive.

The going gets worse as “Best Of Me” lifts the chord progression from “Panama” by Van Halen (wait – wouldn't that mean a better title for the song would be “The Best Of Van Halen?”) and “A Little Too Much” jacks a team of well-known cliches from the Eighties (the title line sounds easily a little too much like it could be replaced with “You've Got Another Thing Comin'”) just to seal the album's fate. After “Look Out Below” pulls the same tricks that “A Little Too Much” did, it's perfectly understandable if listeners feel compelled to turn their stereos off – it gets no better from there.

The problem with Infestation is easy to spot; it acts like the last twenty-two years never happened and the values in pop, rock and metal never changed. Ratt's reversion to a set of antiquated sounds and values is so complete here that it seems totally possible to believe that Ratt was either recently re-awakened from cryogenic stasis or somehow managed to steal the keys to Doc Brown's time machine, travel forward in time and see if they could hack it in the current pop culture climate. While there must be a couple of hair farmers left that might stand up and shout for this album, odds are that there aren't enough to cause a genuine infestation of Ratt fans, and likely not a staggering brood of new ones either.


Ratt – "Eat Me Up Alive" – Infestation


comes out on April 20, 2010 through Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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