Warrant – Rockaholic (2011)

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Music

Where to the “Down Boys” go? Apparently their separate ways – again. The on again-off again relationship with Warrant and frontman Jani Lane is back on the “off” setting after yet another short-term reunion with the lead singer. Sadly, the only thing accomplished during the last reunion was an average tour and another failed attempt at putting together a new record.

With the 2008 departure of Lane, most fans and critics alike realized the fact that Warrant was probably dead and gone. After all, far too many bands of the genre had dealt with the departure of their lead singer to disastrous effect. Iron Maiden lost fans in drones without Bruce Dickenson. Ratt was a shell of it’s former self without Stephen Pearcy. Judas Priest wasn’t even a blip on the radar with Ripper Owens replacing Rob Halford at the helm. But even with the odds stacked against them, founding members Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner (alongside longtime members Joey Allen and Steven Sweet) insisted on keeping Warrant a band and step ahead to the future.

What the future brought them was former Lynch Mob singer Robert Mason. Known for his strong vocal chops and grand stage presence, Mason signed on with Warrant in the second half of 2008. After a few successful club tours and festival appearances, the band resigned to the new lead man and began work on the upcoming release, May 16th’s Rockaholic.

The album, in and of itself, is a fine piece of guitar rock. The first thing you need to do, however, is put the “Cherry Pie” back in the fridge and forget you ever visited “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Warrant in it’s heyday were obviously carried by Lane’s unique voice stylings, and I’d be lying if I said Mason came anywhere close. But that’s actually a good thing. I gave this album a listen looking for a good rock album – not a good Warrant album – and the crew delivered. It has subtle reminders of the older Warrant in a few catchy choruses and a hint at the blues-influence that peppered the Lane-era, but make no mistake: this is a new Warrant, and a good one at that.

The tracks Innocence Gone and Found Forever are destined for rock radio success, and the gritty tracks Cocaine Freight Train and Sex Ain’t Love will take you back to the day when this shit ruled the world. The album lacks anything close to filler, as each tracks stands strong on its own, or as part of the full CD experience. It reminds me more of Mason’s old gig with Lynch Mob rather than anything previously from the Warrant catalog – the difference being Lynch Mob had a master shredder on board with the legendary George Lynch (Dokken).

That’s not to say Turner and Allen don’t have their licks – in fact, this is the strongest “guitar” sound the band have ever been, but Warrant has never been about speaker-melting solos, and that trend continues with this album.

All in all, this is a decent showing for a band that was middle-of-the-pack back in the day. I applaud their perseverance, even if this is the “in” time for 80s bands to stage a comeback (Kingdom Come, Whitesnake, etc.) Just remember – this isn’t the Warrant you are used to. In my opinion, it’s far superior.

7.5/10

(Author’s Note – August 12, 2011: Former lead singer Jani Lane was found dead Thursday night in a Woodland Hills hotel. There was no immediate information on the cause or circumstances of his death. The Social Nutwork extends its condolences to Jani’s friends and family)

Tracklist:
01 – Sex Ain’t Love
02 – Innocence Gone
03 – Sanke
04 – Dusty’s Revenge
05 – Home
06 – What Love Can Do
07 – Life’s A Song
08 – Show Must Go On
09 – Cocaine Freight Train
10 – Found Forever
11 – Candy Man
12 – Sunshine
13 – Tears In The City
14 – The Last Straw

http://www.amazon.com/Rockaholic-Warrant/dp/B004S7ZZ1A/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1303525683&sr=1-3

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