REVIEW: Ratt – Infestation (2010 Japanese and iTunes editions)

RATT – Infestation (2010 Roadrunner Japanese and iTunes editions)

Ratt needed a comeback. Lineup changes galore, deaths, poorly-received changes in sound — forget all that stuff.  The band has since stabilized.  Pearcy’s back on lead vocals, and Carlos Cavazo (ex-Quiet Riot) has taken over guitar duties from John Corabi. Corabi’s a rhythm player, not a soloist (and that’s not a knock on Corabi).  Cavazo rocks out quite a few solos on this album. The difference is noticeable, and it’s a welcome return to something like the Ratt sound of yore. Do you like twin leads? Cavazo and Warren DeMartini rip out a few, each with his own distinct sound, but meshing well like they’ve been doing this forever. Cavazo also contributes strong co-writes to about half the album. Surely, you can’t imagine a better match than this for Ratt.

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[Note:  Since this release, original bassist Juan Crocier has also come back, replacing Robbie Crane.]

Pearcy’s in great voice, the passages of time disguise-able. But be forwarned, if you never liked Pearcy’s style before, this album is not going to change your mind. His vocals are augmented by some nice, but not overdone, backing vocals from the band. Longtime bassist Robbie Crane supplies backing vocals while holding down the bottom end.

INFESTATION_0005The sound of the album is pure Ratt, but modernly produced; surely the best sounding record they’ve done so far. Picture a heavier Out Of The Cellar. There are nods and winks to other eras of Ratt as well: I hear a little bit of “Way Cool” here and there, and damned if “Best Of Me” wouldn’t have fit right in on Detonator. Yet this is no retro-fest, as much as it does echo the 80’s. There are still sounds here that sound tougher and more modern, like the fast and heavy opener “Eat Me Up Alive” (my second favourite song).  There’s filler here, but even the filler is worth holding your finger off the skip button.  All except perhaps the dreadful “A Little Too Much”.

There Japanese bonus track is a cool slow groove rocker called “Scatter”, with a great memorable chorus. This is the best song to me.  Itunes got the track as well, but because I always prefer a physical edition, I bought the Japanese for my physical copy.  You will have to judge the value of that expenditure yourself, however I deemed it worthwhile.

There are also three live bonus tracks on the iTunes version, worth getting. These songs are “You Think You’re Tough”, “Tell The World”, and “Way Cool Jr.”, all previously unreleased and with Cavazo on guitar, “Live from the Rockline Studios”.  “You Think You’re Tough” is my favourite song from Ratt EP.

If you have ever liked Ratt, pick up Infestation if you’re curious what the band sounds like 25 years later. This is a solid Ratt album, not classic, but song for song among their better records.  They’ve retained their signature “Ratt N’ Roll” sound, but also what dignity and integrity a bunch of Ratts have. Well done.

3.333/5 stars

21 comments

  1. Totally agree with u Mike..Scatter is the best track on here….I also found that the first Arcade record was a fine hard rock release as well back in 93….
    It will be interesting to hear what they come up with now that Juan is back……

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  2. Good to hear what my San Diego guys are up to. I was always a DiMartini fan. Interesting that C Cavazo has joined the lineup. I’ll have to check it out.

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  3. I think you nailed it, Pearcy is my problem with Ratt – they’ve always been a band I think I should like, but can’t manage to, apart from the odd track, or two.

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    1. If you like Pearcy, you like Ratt. If you hate Pearcy, you don’t like Ratt. That’s pretty much it right there. At least he is one of the most unique singers in metal.

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  4. Very good review. And I can only agree on much about everything here. A surprisingly good record, this one – in book, their best since Invasion Of Your Privacy. I liked both Dancing Undercover and Detonator, but I think they were too uneven. They had some awesome tunes, but also too many bad ones. This one doesn’t have any bad songs, but maybe a couple of fillers too many.

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    1. Yep pretty much agreed Jon. Even though I’d love to argue with you and quote song lyrics to prove you’re “wrong”. (Sorry, inside joke)

      I think Ratt will only be better with Juan in the band. He was always a co-writer and I think his backing vocals really help bring out that Ratt chorus!

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      1. Haha. Yeah. And we’re parrots, right? That dude, his parents are probably siblings…
        I didn’t know Juan was back in the band. I thought he didn’t want to be involved anymore. But you’re right, his voice is important factor in Ratt. He also sang some leaad in “You Think You’re Tough”.

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        1. I’m nothing but a parrot…my whole site is just me repeating other people :)

          I think Juan had some serious legal issues over the rights to the band, I recall he put out a statement regarding that a while ago. I guess they must have smoothed things over! The money must have been right.

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  5. mike, in general what do you think of ratt? I’ve just finished stephen pearcy “sex, drugs and ratt & roll”. nothing special but it made me rediscover some old ratt stuff. some albums are really good in my opinion, the first two for example. I also like the first ep my first vinyl record from ratt and infestation has been a pleasure to listen to. I believe that warren de martini is a great guitarist, the melodic line of his solo are superb.

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    1. In general? I like Ratt, I don’t consider them one of the greats, but they are a good rock band. Still are a good rock band.

      I do agree about Warren — he is a great, bluesy and melodic player. A very underrated musician. He was very briefly in Dio, in 1994.

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  6. Mike after KISS stealing all the drama headlines …check out Metal Sludge sounds like a wee bit of drama between Blotzer and Pearcy…….
    Good reading……

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  7. Yeah,Ratt should,call there next tour Jizzin Over America …
    Hahaha..actually that would have been perfect name for a tour back in 1986…..

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