Warrant - "Rockaholic" CD Review (Frontiers Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, May 27, 2011

Warrant - "Rockaholic" CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Warrant - 'Rockaholic' CD Review (Frontier Records)While I’ve heard some Warrant tunes in the past, I’ve never paid much attention to the band but…having read about Jani Lane’s struggles for the last few years along with the stories about his return and subsequent departure from Warrant, I was curious to hear the band’s latest disc, Rockaholic, Pre-conceived notions can be a dangerous thing as I dropped this disc on expecting the band would have a radio-friendly “Sunset Strip” sound (something like Ratt or LA Guns) and was disappointed to find most of this disc is more comparable to the “light metal” sounds of bands like Bon Jovi and Extreme.

To give a frame of reference, I wrote this review while on the train to Baltimore for a weekend at Maryland Deathfest so I’m likely not in the right frame of mind to write an unbiased review. Musically, Rockaholic is a mixed bag – it seems more slanted toward the 80’s “lighter in the air” hair metal ballads (a huge turn-off for me) but the disc also contains a handful of solid hard-rock tracks. I generally focus on a band’s music over their lyrics but new singer Robert Mason’s (x-Lynch Mob) vocals are prominent and clear in the mix which ‘forced’ me to give equal focus to the words. Lyrically, this disc seems to contain more tales of love, loss and heartbreak than an emo album. Going back to the comparisons that I’ve mentioned above – I’ve made fun of Bon Jovi for years for their rhyming couplets (“Living on a prayer / halfway there / we’ll make it I swear”) and Warrant falls into this same camp (“Tears in the city tonight / two less people you will have to fight”). Once again, I’m out of my element these lyrics strike me as something that a high-school boy would be singing to his girlfriend.

Once you get past the ballads, musically, the handful of hard-rock tracks on this disc have some teeth. The disc starts out strong with the leadoff track “Sex Ain’t Love” which features some cutting guitar riffs from Joey Allen before moving into the raw “Innocence Gone”. After slogging through the ballads and soft rockers that follow, the band’s harder-edge pops back up with the Kix-style rockers “Show Must Go On” and “Cocaine Freight Train”. This is followed by more ballads and brief forays into alt-grunge (a la STP) before ending with the strong hard-rocker “The Last Straw”.

While this disc simply isn’t my preferred style of music, the tracks “Tears in the City” and “The Last Straw” did have some ‘sticking power’. Check out videos for two songs from the new disc below and see what you think.