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.
[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.
The 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.