NEW RELEASE: Ratt – Infestation
Infestation is a seriously good album.
Catchy, energetic and technically excellent throughout, this is an album that should secure Ratt’s place in history (if it was ever in doubt).
It really is that good.
Ratt have been with us since 1976, and have had their fair share of lineup changes since, completely disappearing in the mid 90’s. Whilst not strictly a reunion album (Ratt have existed in some form over the last decade), this is their first new material since 1999’s self-titled ‘Ratt’ album. And, in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m certain it’s worth the wait.
Recently, in England at least, there has been something of an 80’s revival, with numerous former-greats reuniting to relive the glory-days, and (presumably) hoping that they can ride the wave of nostalgia towards a more comfortable retirement. In this context it can sometimes be difficult to avoid becoming immediately enthusiastic about anything thought to have ‘retro-credentials’, provided of course that it doesn’t sound like it was manufactured at a mixing desk or sung by men in cardigans.
But Infestation is an album that should delight new and old fans alike. Ratt have put any past lineup problems behind them, and have ensured that everything comes together. This really is one of those rare albums where nothing feels out of place, and no opportunity seems to have missed to add that subtle drum variation or guitar flourish that can turn a good album into a great album.
It’s difficult to choose stand-out examples because the standard is so consistently high. So, we might as well begin with single ‘Best of Me’. The song is simply infectious. If you don’t believe me, click the below link to have a listen, and see whether or not it sticks with you.
The rest of the album is a little more aggressive, but not to the detriment of quality song-writing (album open ‘Eat Me Up Alive’ and ‘Lost Weekend’ being particularly good examples).
The soaring intro of ‘A Little Too Much’ is a real highlight, and although the gradual fade-out is a little disappointing (surely that guitar solo could have kept going?), you’re then immediately treated to ‘Look Out Below’, featuring perhaps the best riff on the album, and complete with another superb opening solo.
‘Garden of Eden’ combines a heavy start-and-stop riff with catchy sing-along lyrics, as well as treating us to particularly memorable guitar solo. Expect this one to become a live staple. Hopefully the inevitable audience participation will encourage the band to extend the live version beyond its rather feeble 3 minutes.
If I had to nail down the album’s main weakness, it would be that there’s not a great deal of variety. All of the songs are around the same length, and except for the relatively relaxed ‘Take Me Home’, the album doesn’t contain any ballads or long instrument sections (let alone songs) that might have helped to ensure that there was something for everyone. But this is a sacrifice I’d gladly make to hear Ratt doing what they do best. And if you’re a fan of straight-forward heavy rock / classic metal then Infestation should offer more than enough to merit repeated listens.
The album’s themes aren’t anything new (love, loss, and a generous helping of rock ‘n’ roll excess). But there’s a charm to it all. At times reminiscent of Motley Crue (before they became unbearably smug), the lyrics certainly never reach the stage where they’re just too much (in contrast to something like the grossly embarrassing ‘I’d Come For You’ from Nickelback’s most recent offering).
Perhaps this is the edge that Ratt have been missing in previous years? What’s clear is that Infestation not only marks a welcome return, but also goes a long way to proving that Ratt are, and have always been, one of the most important bands of their era.
This isn’t a comeback, it isn’t a reinvention; it’s timeless, quality rock music delivered by a band whose time in the spotlight is, quite deservedly, not over yet.
– Phil Henderson
Stephen Pearcey – Lead Vocals
Warren DeMartini – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Carlos Cavazi – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Robbie Crane – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Country of origin: USA