Label: Loud And Proud/Roadrunner Records
For well over a decade, when Stephen Pearcy was not an active member of Ratt and Jizzy Pearl was fronting the band, lots of people (like myself) wondered just why that band never recorded an album. After all, Pearl is more than a competent vocalist, and he did Ratt's music justice for nearly a decade. Somehow though, the combination of legalities and the underlying thought of destroying the legacy of the band seemed to keep both sides from actually releasing an album with the Ratt moniker on it (remember when there were two bands called Ratt touring? Yikes!). Anyway, hindsight being 20/20, INFESTATION has come along and proves the band's individuals right for their decision to not record a new album without core members Bobby Blotzer, Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini all on the same page. Almost amazingly, Ratt has recorded INFESTATION which is, without question, the best album any of these guys have been associated with since not only their heyday as a band, but the peak time in their career. Simply, the only things better in their catalog of albums are OUT OF THE CELLAR and INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY. Definitely recapturing their mid-eighties classic sound, INFESTATION would have been another quadruple platinum album for the rockin' rodents back in the day. To give full definition of how good this actually is, Ratt now stand (to me, anyway) as the only band of the hairband era that have delivered an album worthy of their historic past. Quite a few bands have tried to do throwback albums to their old sound (Dokken, Motley Crue, Whitesnake), yet none of them have done it as well as Ratt has here. That's not to say that those bands' albums were bad, but really says how great INFESTATION is.
In some ways, people may listen to this album and simply think that Ratt took many of their biggest songs and reworked them to match that era. It would be hard to argue that. Listening to songs like "Lost Weekend", there's simply no way that Warren DeMartini didn't play that riff and go, "wow, I did that before on "Lack Of Communication". The same similarities can be found with "Eat Me Up Alive" ("You're In Love"), "Look Out Below" ("Lovin' You's A Dirty Job"), or first single "Best Of Me" ("Dance"). So, to say that the band has gone back to their roots is pretty much right on target. Unlike other bands though, there was always this attitude thing that made or broke them, and that's what they have recaptured here. Stephen Pearcy has always sounded pretty good as a solo artist, but never quite the same as he did with Ratt. He's back here, sounding great as he snears through song after song with his distinct vocal sound and gravelly "yeah's" throughout. While Pearcy sounds great, it's DeMartini that steals the show here. His guitar tone is so vintage to the classic days that you literally wonder if some of these riffs were recorded with Beau Hill 25+ years ago. The underlying solo on "Best Of Me" might be the best thing he's recorded since 1990, while the opening salvo on "A Little Too Much" takes you back to a time when Ratt was part of the big three bands out there (the other two - Bon Jovi and Motley Crue). Blotzer does a great job at keeping each song on pace with his thundering drum beats, and works well with bassist Robbie Crane (not the original, but he's been in the band for so long that it really doesn't matter at this point). Simply put, INFESTATION proves that there's still plenty left in the tank with Ratt. As a fan who grew up on their tunes, it's definitely great to receive something new from a classic band who truly looked to deliver what those fans of the band would have wanted. The Bon Jovi's and Motley Crue's of the world could learn something from listening to INFESTATION.
RATING - 10/10 - A perfect album from Ratt for the first time since the middle of the hair era. I'm not quite sure how after all these years, and quite a few albums of music that wasn't so good from these guys (COLLAGE, Pearcy's FUELER, Blotzer's SAINTS OF THE UNDERGROUND), that they were able to put out something that delivers so much, but that's exactly what Ratt have done here. Not for everyone, but if you love real 80s hair metal, INFESTATION will more than delight you.