Quiet Riot – QR III
1986, CBS Records/Pasha Records
1. “Main Attraction”
2. “The Wild and the Young”
3. “Twilight Hotel”
4. “Down and Dirty”
5. “Rise or Fall”
6. “Put Up or Shut Up”
7. “Still of the Night”
8. “Bass Case”
9. “The Pump”
10. “Slave to Love”
11. “Helping Hands”
Kevin DuBrow – Lead Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitar
Chuck Wright – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums
John Purdell – Synthesizer
Producer: Spencer Proffer and John Purdell
QR III is actually the band’s 5th album but I guess they aren’t counting their first two albums that were released only in Japan in the late 1970s.
I tend to think of Quiet Riot just as I think of Twisted Sister: both were solid metal bands, both had singers with powerful voices and both bands had great commercial success fairly early and then saw those sales fizzle out pretty quickly with each subsequent release. Also, when the going got tough, both bands tried using a much lighter sound in an attempt to stay commercially relevant (it still didn’t help).
Well, like I said, after the multiple platinum success of Metal Health and the disappointed of Critical Condition (it “only” went platinum), the band went with much lighter and more commercial sound in order to increase sales. This new synthesizer-heavy/AOR sound is none more apparent than on the opening track, “Main Attraction”. The first notes you hear on this album are not provided by guitar, drums or even by a bass guitar but by keyboard! The song is actually a great piece of cheesy pop-metal but I can imagine that it did the band no favors with all of the fans that bought Metal Health back in ’83.
“The Wild and The Young” is a more like the Quiet Riot of old but then “Twilight Hotel” moves back into AOR territory and sounds nothing like the band at all. “Still of the Night” is another slow melodic rock number that makes you wonder how this is Quiet Riot, but I think it’s another excellent song. “Slave to Love” is another AOR-style song but again, I like it, though I will admit the female vocals really seem out of place on a QR song!
“Bass Case” is a cool bass instrumental performed by Chuck Wright. Rudy Sarzo, the band’s bassist from the “classic” line-up had left the band in early 1985 after growing tired of Kevin DuBrow’s ego & attitude.
“Put Up or Shut Up” is a rocker that could’ve fit in on the two previous albums while “Down and Dirty” and “Rise Or Fall” could’ve been two really good hard songs but they are cut off at the knees by synthesizers and an overly polished production.
There is one song on this album (“The Wild and The Young”) that I would put up there with the rest of Quiet Riot’s signature songs. The rest is good, cheesy ’80s melodic rock. It’s not what anyone expected or wanted from this band and sure you could throw the “sell out” label on them for releasing these songs but I find QR III to be a guilty pleasure melodic rock album. The album probably deserves another look from people who stuck their nose up at it the first time around.
Highlights: “Main Attraction”, “The Wild and The Young”, “Twilight Hotel”, “Down and Dirty”, “Still of the Night”, “Slave to Love”
Ratt – Infestation (2010, Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud Records)
1. “Eat Me Up Alive”… 4:13
2. “Best Of Me” … 4:19
3. “A Little Too Much” … 4:05
4. “Look Out Below” … 3:44
5. “Last Call” … 3:55
6. “Lost Weekend” … 3:46
7. “As Good As It Gets” … 4:38
8. “Garden Of Eden” … 3:03
9. “Take A Big Bite” … 2:46
10. “Take Me Home” … 4:23
11. “Don’t Let Go” … 3:22
Stephen Pearcy – Lead vocals
Warren DeMartini – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robbie Crane – Bass
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Producer: Michael “Elvis” Baskette
Wow, when did Roadrunner Records become so cool? They used to be a safe haven for post-grunge and nu-metal acts (and really, they still are). Now, not only do they have KISS, Megadeth, Sammy Hagar, Dream Theater, Airbourne, Slash, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Rob Zombie signed to various deals but Ratt as well!
I had been looking forward to this album for a long time. In fact, it’s been one of my most anticipated releases for 2010. There are times where you can predict an album’s quality before it comes out. A time when you have a “feeling” before hearing the first note. My “feeling” was right about Chickenfoot, wrong about Slash but I was right once again for Ratt. I was feelin’ good vibes, man, over the idea of some new Ratt music.
For fans of Ratt’s early albums, Infestation will not let you down. It is a conscious effort to relive the glory days of Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy. Personally, I enjoy all of Ratt’s albums (well, I haven’t bothered with their 1999 self-title due to so many poor reviews I’ve read), even the glossed up sounds of Detonator, which I think is underrated. But Infestation leaves the polish at home and gets back to filthy sleazy Ratt ‘n’ roll.
Despite whatever live concert reports may say, I think Stephen Pearcy sounds just as good as ever on tape (of course, technology has improved too!). The only thing that’s lacking from band performance is there just doesn’t seem to be enough spotlight shining on Warren DeMartini. Maybe I’m crazy but I just don’t think he had a strong enough presence on the album. That’s a minor quibble though.
The album starts off great with a pair of classic sounding Ratt songs: “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best of Me”. “Best of Me” is my favorite song on the album and it’s the lead single. New Ratt pack member Carlos Cavazo (ex-Quiet Riot) actually wrote the majority of that song so he’s already off to fitting in with Ratt because it sounds exactly like old school Ratt.
The rest of the album keeps up with the band’s mid ’80s heyday delivering one dirty rocker after another. The album’s sole slow moment is “Take Me Home”, which is definitely the weakest track and possibly the weakest Ratt song I’ve heard to date. It sounds like the album’s lone effort to sound modern. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this as the next single, if they release a second single. I love the string arrangement but it’s the first half of the song that ruins the whole track for me.
Overall, this is a more than worthy addition to the Ratt catalog. I’m not sure where I’d rank it yet though. It’s still too fresh and I love their previous efforts so much but this is an album definitely worth checking out for Ratt fans. It will not disappoint.
I ordered my copy from Roadrunner’s website a few weeks before the release. With the pre-order you immediately got a digital download copy of “Eat Me Up Alive” and the album arrived with an extra CD booklet signed by the band! How cool is that?
Highlights: “Eat Me Up Alive”, “Best Of Me”, “Look Out Below”, “Last Call”, “Lost Weekend”, “As Good As It Gets”
Tim Ripper Owens – Play My Game (2009, SPV/Steamhammer Records)
1. “Starting Over” … 3:33
2. “Believe” … 4:35
3. “The Cover Up” … 4:30
4. “Pick Yourself Up” … 4:32
5. “It Is Me” … 2:53
6. “No Good Goodbyes” … 3:35
7. “The World Is Blind” … 4:50
8. “To Live Again” … 6:00
9. “The Light” … 4:36
10. “Play My Game” … 4:43
11. “Death Race” … 3:29
12. “The Shadows Are Alive” … 5:35
Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
Bob Kulick, Bruce Kulick, Carlos Cavazo, Chris Caffery, Doug Aldrich, Michael Wilton, Jeff Loomis, Steve Stevens – Guitar
Marco Mendoza, Billy Sheehan, Dave Ellefson, Rudy Sarzo, James Lomenzo, Tony Franklin – Bass
Simon Wright, Vinny Appice, Ray Luzier, Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Produced by: Tim “Ripper” Owens, Bob Kulick, Brett Chassen
This is the debut solo album from ex-Judas Priest/ex-Iced Earth/current Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens and it’s a grower. On my initial casual listens, I wasn’t too impressed with it, but the more I listen to it, the more I’m liking it. It’s not an essential 2009 release, but it’s good and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Ripper.
Unfortunately, the sales on the album haven’t been too well. Not that I expected this album to get anywhere near Billboard’s top 100, but I figured it would sell a bit more than the reported 827 copies it sold in the first week of release. Ouch. Oh well, be proud, Ripper! You delivered a solid album. Hopefully, this will lead to even more down the line because I never understood why, after Priest, Ripper didn’t immediately fly solo. The closest he’s come to that is forming the band Beyond Fear, but I think just using his own name would’ve been more marketable (though apparently that’s not true anymore…).
I haven’t followed Owens’ career post-Priest, but to me, quite a number of these songs (“Starting Over” and “Believe” for example) sound like what he may have sung while keeping the seat warm for Rob Halford. “Play My Game” is my favorite track and it’s a pretty good tune to workout to.
Highlights: “Starting Over”, “Believe”, “Pick Yourself Up”, “It Is Me”, “No Good Goodbyes”, “To Live Again”, “Play My Game”