2 Years in the making Warrant's "ROCKAHOLIC" Reviewed by the press !!
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“She’s My Cherry Pie…”, “I Saw Red…”, “Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away…”…who hasn’t really sung those choruses through the years? Even those who didn’t give a damn about the hair metal style of the era, they wonder how this band that sings –loud and proud- about a cherry pie persists and carries on in these difficult times for the music industry. “Rockaholic” is Warrant’s brand new studio album –with ex-Lynch Mob singer, Robert Mason, behind the mic- and we learn all the details from the band’s guitarist Joey Allen…
Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: Welcome back, Joey! I didn’t expect such a strong comeback by Warrant…it was really a pleasant surprise. How do you feel about the album?
Joey Allen: We are very proud with how the CD turned out, from the song writing to the production to the art work…it was very cohesive and a was a bunch of fun to make!
Rockpages.gr: How did it feel to be working with Robert Mason? Apart from the musical aspect of the whole thing, did he bring along a much needed peace and calmness to the band?
Joey Allen: Robert has been in this band for almost 3 years. He brings a sense of professionalism to the lead singing slot that has been vacant since 1991. He is a blast to work with and shows up 24/7 to kick ass!
Rockpages.gr: Were you anxious about the fans’ reaction towards the band due to the fact that Jani Lane was no longer a member of the band (for the umpteenth time…)?
Joey Allen: Never in a million years…it just simply doesn’t matter any longer.
Rockpages.gr: In my review of the album, I wrote that “Rockaholic” balances in between the old-school, trademark Warrant sound and the modern rock n roll spirit. Do you agree and do you think that a band should stay up to date with what’s going on in the business in order to be vital and current?
Joey Allen: No, we just do what we do. It either works or doesn’t…this time it did and we are happy with the outcome!
Rockpages.gr: My favorite song on the record is “Tears In The City”. Would you like to tell us a few things about that song regarding the lyrics and its music?
Joey Allen: You would have to ask Jerry Dixon, he wrote it. I can tell you that the Japanese version of the CD has a stripped down version of that song on it that sounds very killer!
Rockpages.gr: Having four members from the classic line-up, do you think that it helped the overall coherence and tightness of the songs on “Rockaholic”?
Joey Allen: Absolutely! That is the Warrant sound and with Mason up front belting it out it sounds killer to us!
Rockpages.gr: How important was MTV and the song “Cherry Pie” in Warrant’s success? By the way, do you miss those glory days for hard rock music?
Joey Allen: In the glory days of MTV it was very important; it is how you marketed music. Now things have changed with social media and such. It is just a different world out there marketing-wise. We are very happy with where we are at in today’s musical climate!
Rockpages.gr: Being there right from the beginning of the band, do you think Warrant has achieved the goals that you set more than 25 years ago?
Joey Allen: We never set any goals…we just wanted to play music and have fun…those goals have been met and then some…it is a bunch of fun to be in this band, we all get along great and make some good music to share with our fans! The live show is coming along very well!
Rockpages.gr: Although it’s too early to tell, would you say that “Rockaholic” can stand the test of time and be considered a Warrant classic in the future?
Joey Allen: Absolutely!
Rockpages.gr: Joey, my last question…from one Rockaholic to Another: is there really a cure for our disease?
Joey Allen: No, but I think if you listen to Rockaholic you will get a fix or two!
For those that aren't aware, yes Warrant are still around, they do have a different singer and with his inclusion they rock better than ever. 'Rockaholic' is Warrant's first release since 2006's 'Born Again' that featured Black 'N Blue singer Jaime St James, now with St James out, the failed return of Jani Lane and with former Lynch Mob / Big Cock vocalist Robert Mason in, Warrant have found their sound again and to quote a song from the album the ‘Show Must Go On.'
The opening riff to 'Sex Ain't Love' gets you prepped for what is a killer song with a big chorus that would kick ass live but it also sets the tone for the other 13 tracks. The sound on this album shows shades of the Warrant of old with that traditional 80's hard rock sound but at times they've given it an updated feel. The band is sounding great and Mason's vocals suit the music perfectly. It's refreshing to hear new music from a band that still love doing what they do and I guess that's where the title of the album came from, they're Rockaholics.
The album powers through tracks such as 'Snake' and ‘Dusty’s Revenge’ which gives guitarist Joey Allen a chance to showcase his talents. But it's when it gets to the big ballad 'Home' that I'm sold, this song should be a smash hit, or at least in movies, just something to get it heard along with 'That’s What Love Can Do' which could be another smash. I'm really impressed with what they've done on this album and I'm not even half way through. The first single from the album is called 'Life's A Song' and I feel this is as close to original Warrant as you'll get, it's a real throwback to that 80's sound with the harmony vocals a real treat. It's a foot tapper that's for sure. My favourite on 'Rockaholic' comes in the form of another big power ballad called 'Found Forever' this is a stand out and should have lighters (I'm old school) held aloft all around the world.
The album continues to give us some more rockers and ballads, it's the perfect mix and when it finishes off with the balls out rockin' track 'The Last Straw' and you've just had your ass kicked from start to finish, you can walk away happy with what Rockaholic has delivered.
Overall, this is a great rock album and it's refreshing to hear bands still making albums like this. Sure some of the lyrics can be a little clichéd in places but find me a band that doesn't do the same thing, hey if it works... The songs are great, the band have a new energy injected into them and let's hope that Rockaholic gives Warrant the credit they deserve once again.
My name is Troy Culpan and I'm a Rockaholic.
01. Sex Ain't Love
02. Innocence Gone
04. Dusty's Revenge
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
13. Tears In The City
14. The Last Straw
WARRANT’s Erik Turner - There’s No Cure For A Rockaholic
By Mitch Lafon
The rise and fall of WARRANT over the last two decades has been well documented, but through it all guitarist, Erik Turner, has been the band’s anchor. This spring the band releases Rockaholic, their first album with new vocalist, Robert Mason (ex-LYNCH MOB). The album marks the beginning of a new and exciting era for Warrant and features the classic line-up backing Mason’s smooth clean vocal style. Bravewords.com sat down with Turner to discuss the band’s fantastic new singer and rocking new album.
BraveWords.com: I’ve heard your great new album and one thing is obvious - this is a brand new band. Robert Mason adds a whole new dimension to Warrant…
Erik Turner: “It’s another evolution in the band’s sound and song writing. Of course, having Robert on vocals and writing is a huge stamp for any band. The vocalist is a big deal in identifying a band, but it still sounds very Warrant. You’ve got four guys from the original Warrant playing all the music. Jerry (Dixon, bass) is writing a lot and I wrote a little bit, so it feels like a natural progression of our sound and where we’re at in our lives right now.”
BraveWords.com: A lot of your peers have stopped making new albums or recording new music. They’ve become heritage rock touring acts. What made Warrant decide to re-enter the studio?
Turner: “Well, we all know that it’s not likely we’re going to get rich from (making new CDs). Many bands have stopped because they’re used to selling millions of records every time they put out a new disc, but the reality is that if you sell a couple hundred thousand now – it’s a success. That’s a hard pill to swallow for some multi-platinum bands that have been around for years.”
BraveWords.com: Or in Warrant’s case – a Bitter Pill to swallow…
Turner: “Yes, a Bitter Pill. That’s a great song. Dog Eat Dog go buy that CD! (Back to the original question) But for us the music was burning up inside. Jerry Dixon was writing and writing and writing. He kept throwing songs at us and we all got excited about it. Then Robert started writing and I contributed to a few songs. Joey was throwing ideas out there and we just got really excited about this music. We wanted it to be the best it could, so Robert suggested producer Keith Olsen (OZZY, WHITESNAKE, SCORPIONS). He has an unreal resume and we felt we’d be so lucky to work with him, so we had a couple of meetings and worked out a deal. We got the best producer we could get and we wrote the best songs we could write right now as writers and as a band. We also got the best label we could right now for our genre of music (Frontiers). We put our best foot forward to make something we could really be proud of and I can safely say that’s what we did. After that, what happens with sales and what not is up to the Rock Gods, our team of agents, record company execs and management. That’s part one of why we did it and part two is that Robert is in the band now. He’s been in the band almost three years and we wanted to make a statement that this is Warrant and what better way to do that than with fourteen new songs.”
BraveWords.com: A lot of bands (when they get a new vocalist) choose to go the route of re-recording or releasing a live DVD with their old hits. Warrant didn’t do that and that’s what makes this new album memorable. Having said that, will you record a live CD or DVD with Robert in the future?
Turner: “We have an EPK with all live footage and you can hear Robert singing live raw clips of all of the hit songs, but I would like to do a real professional live album someday because I feel the band is really strong live and I’d love to capture that. Obviously, that would include songs from the catalogue and a bunch of songs off of Rockaholic. A live DVD would be killer, but there are no plans on doing that right now, but it’s definitely something on our checklist.”
BraveWords.com: That would be great, but I am glad you chose to go new songs first. Now, that the album is out what are your touring plans?
Turner: “Well, we tour all year long and that’s not going to change. Hopefully, this record will bring us new opportunities to play on bigger stages and maybe even get on a traditional tour where we go on the road for two or three months. Right now, we do fifty shows a year on average. We get on a plane Thursday or Friday and come home on Sunday… weekend warriors. That said, we’ve already got over forty shows booked this year, so it’s looking good. We’ve got quite a few dates with Poison; which we’re excited about. We’ve got shows with Whitesnake, CINDERELLA and, of course, with L.A. GUNS, SKID ROW, DOKKEN, SLAUGHTER and Steven Adler… the list goes on.”
BraveWords.com: You’ve got twelve shows scheduled with Adler in Canada this August…
Turner: “I have not seen anything, but as far as I know only two or three shows have been confirmed. I’m happy to say that we’ve got a lot of stuff going on, but without me looking at my schedule – I can’t say for sure. If there are twelve shows that would be great because I’ve always loved Steven. He’s a super nice guy and he’s got a really really good band.”
BraveWords.com: Steven Sweet and Joey Allen returned to the band in January 2004 - what do they add to the band?
Turner: “Having Steven and Joey come back and play with us in 2004 was the first time it sounded like Warrant since 1993. I had no idea what the four of us brought to this band – you take one piece out and all of a sudden it doesn’t sound like Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich or Cherry Pie or Dog Eat Dog. The four parts of that, the backing band, it’s like ‘wow’. It sounds and feels like Warrant and it hadn’t sounded like that in ten years, so that was really cool. Now, we’ve gotten the best singer (someone who’s like minded and a brother in Rock). It was pretty much the same during the Born Again era with Jaime, but the Saint has BLACK N' BLUE in his veins and Warrant bleeds Cherry Pie red ha! Now, it’s Robert Mason and it has been for the last three years and hopefully forever.”
BraveWords.com: How’d you hook up with Robert? He’s been around the scene forever. Why didn’t you peg him to be the singer during the Born Again era?
Turner: “We had lost touch with Robert and you know ‘out of sight – out of mind’. If I had a time machine (the first time Jani quit in 1993), I would have called Robert and gotten him in the band. I don’t know why we didn’t. We knew Robert back then. He was in Lynch Mob and they opened for us on the Dog Eat Dog tour. We all got along great, but whatever… things happen for a reason. In 2008, we were at Rocklahoma and it looked like we might need a singer that night. Joey had run into Robert the night before and said ‘we might need you to sing tomorrow night’ and that’s how it started.”
BraveWords.com: I think Robert does a fantastic job on the new album and I think fans will be blown away. Vocally, what does he add to Warrant?
Turner: “It’s like when Ozzy was in BLACK SABBATH. People said you couldn’t replace him, but the records Ronnie James Dio did with Sabbath are every bit as good as the albums Ozzy did with Sabbath. It was just different, but they’re still great. When I was a kid I bought Heaven & Hell and I went to see the tour. I bought Mob Rules the day it came out and I went to see the tour because I was a huge fan. I loved Ozzy, but I didn’t miss him a bit and hopefully that’ll be the scenario when people come out to see Warrant. They’ll still hear all the hit songs from the past and we’ve got a great singer belting them out live with some new tunes as well, to play and crank up on your iPod!”
BraveWords.com: The reviews of the live shows have been very positive…
Turner: “We’ve finally found the missing piece that fits the other four of us. It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Other guys have done a good job, but this just feels right, strong and it just keeps getting better.”
BraveWords.com: What does the future hold for Warrant? Is there talk of a farewell tour or do you ride into the sunset playing your guitar in Warrant?
Turner: “I’m going to ride into the sunset playing rock n roll. I wouldn’t know what else to do? I have been in this band since I was 19 years old! We’ve had so much shit happen to us over the years and you never know what’s going to happen to you in this business, but my hopes and my plans are that the five of us keep making records and continue to tour. Nothing would make me happier in the world than if this was the final incarnation of Warrant. I hope for the best and I’m planning on the best, but I don’t have a crystal ball. All is positive, but I don’t want to jinx it either ha!”
BraveWords.com: Any last words about the new album, Rockaholic?
Turner: “We’re just very proud of the record. We spent the last two years making it. It’s not like we got together six weeks ago and just spit it out. We spent a lot of time writing and demo-ing it. We got together as a band in rehearsal halls just jamming on the songs and hashing them out. We put our heart and soul (and sweat) into this record and I just want people to know that and hopefully they’ll check it out with open ears and open minds.”
BraveWords.com: With all that rehearsing and demo-ing, are there a bunch of songs left over for the next new Warrant album?
Turner: “There are probably two or three songs (in my opinion) that we could use on the next record.”
BraveWords.com: So, it’s not like you recorded thirty songs for this album, used the best fourteen and have a whole bunch ready to go for album number two…
Turner: “Well, we had over twenty songs and there’s a few that I thought personally if we had more time could have made it onto this album, but that said – everything happens for a reason. We thought we were only going to record twelve songs for this record, so the fact that we included and loved fourteen… it took a little longer and cost more money, but it was well worth it.”
BraveWords.com: There’s a nice ebb and flow to this album. The songs really work well together…
Turner: “It’s like a buffet of rock n’ roll ha! You’ve got all the different flavours and I don’t think any two songs sound or taste alike! The writing styles, vibes and emotions are all over the place, but it’s still very Warrant from 'Sex Ain’t Love' to 'The Last Straw'.”
BraveWords.com: Time to plug…
Turner: “It’s real easy send everyone over to Warrantrocks.com and from there you can find our Facebook page, our Twitter and everything you need is right there. It’s our hub. So please just go to Warrantrocks.com.”
Sex and drugs certainly ruined Warrant's rock n' roll back, in the day. Boozehound Janie Lane put a pockmark on the band that lasted even after he had been ousted from the group. Jamie St. James did a formidable job, and the band slogged it out on the road and resurrected their career, somewhat. Still, Warrant without Lane was met with lukewarm acceptance at best. This was a band out of place and uncomfortable in their own skin. Now, with ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason onboard the band seem to have truly picked up the pieces and remembered how to rock.
Iconic producer Keith Olsen made sure this album lived up to his standards, resulting in a fun, 80's sounding, hard rocking set of tunes. "Cocaine Freight Train" is a bluesy rocker that says it all, while "Dusty's Revenge" is one of the best songs the band has ever written. This is not a hair band album at all, it is a solid hard rock album that sounds damned fine cranked up to 11.
"Last Straw" is another hard rocker with some really cool guitar riffage going on. "Snake" is a poisonous slab of hard rock complete with snide vocals and distorted solos. The opening song, "Sex Ain't Love" is sure to get the attention of any rock fan and nail home the point that Warrant is through fucking around and are back better than ever.
I suppose Rockaholic explains where the down boys went... they went back into the studio and released what could be their most consistent and hard rocking album of their career. This one is a most pleasant surprise from a very unlikely source. Hats off to the band for remembering why they got into this rat race to begin with.
By Jeb Wright
Hard Rock Heaven
It’s tough for a band to recoup from the departure of their signature lead vocalist. All too often such a loss results in the group’s career going into crash-and-burn cardiac arrest and leaves it dangling hopelessly on life support, miserably waiting for some kindhearted soul to administer the mercy bullet. After Jani Lane walked away from Warrant, the band attempted a comeback in 2006 with the aptly-titled Born Again which featured Black N Blue singer Jamie St. James serenading the microphone. While a serviceable hard rock project in its own right, it bore little resemblance to the Warrant of old and was poorly embraced by fans who continued to clamor for a Jani Lane reunion.
Flash forward five years to the present day. With Lane still incognito and the band hungry for another comeback shot, they turned to Robert Mason to take over lead vocals. The result, while not exactly classic Warrant, is a high-energy hard rock album that is several notches better than Born Again and actually manages to incorporate some faint traces of the old days. On Born Again, you never once felt like you were listening to a true Warrant release; on Rockaholic, however, if you’re paying attention, you will hear bits and pieces that will remind you of Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. No, it’s not classic Warrant–it probably never can be without Lane at the helm–but at least this time there are some hints of the sound that put the band on the melodic metal map.
What this sounds like more than anything is a ‘80s hard rock album. There is no modern rock mimicry, no attempt to curry mainstream acceptance by clutching at anything resembling the flavor of the week. Warrant has fallen prey to fad-chasing before (Belly to Belly, anyone?), but not this time. Rockaholic is retro-cool in its stylish swagger, all about loud guitars, big hooks, and fist-pumping choruses.
Mason is a masterful vocalist, proven by his work with Lynch Mob and Big Cock, and he serves up another fine performance here. While normally he sports some sassy grit in his voice, this time he sings more melodically, at times sounding like he’s trying to channel Jon Bon Jovi. Surprisingly, it works, especially on the rock-ballad “Home,” which is precisely the kind of nostalgic, mid-tempo tune that makes up Bon Jovi’s bread and butter these days. It is grossly unfair that the same exact song that would be a smash hit for Bon Jovi will likely be ignored by the modern rock sheep because it came from “an old hair metal band.”
Speaking of songs, they are all fairly straight-forward, crafted with standard ‘80s catchiness intact. The blow-your-skirt-up track is “Dusty’s Revenge,” a moody, atmospheric rocker that starts with a dark, bluesy vibe in the Cinderella vein before exploding into a gripping hard rock tale of retribution reminiscent of “Kiss the Bastards” by Saints & Sinners. The song is, quite simply, absolutely perfect, from its brooding beginning to its badass bridge to his backing vocal-boosted chorus.
Elsewhere, “The Show Must Go On” pins the throttle to the floor with ripping guitar work, but the repetitive chorus relegates it to filler material. Frankly, this happens a few too many times. “Candy Man” cranks like crazy, but stumbles when it hits the chorus. A heavy powerhouse of a groove provides the backbone of “Sunshine,” but what should be a Tyson-size knockout punch of a chorus is more like a tentative jab. Thankfully, there are more diamonds than duds, from the GN’R-inspired “Cocaine Freight Train” to the soaring power ballad “Found Forever” to the rip-snorting “The Last Straw,” which brings the curtains down and demonstrates how a hard rock album should close.
As the final power chord reverberates through your speakers, you will realize that what you just heard may not be a masterpiece, but is still a pretty good comeback from a band that has been forced to find a way to forge ahead without its signature component. Rockaholic isn’t quite good enough to make anyone forget the Jani Lane glory days, but it is good enough to make you realize that the new incarnation of Warrant has plenty to offer hard rock fans as well. Just because you dine on filet mignon one day doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sirloin steak the next, and just because you crank up Cherry Pie today doesn’t mean you can’t rock out to Rockaholic tomorrow.
I can't even describe the feeling of making a review of a legend's album. A legend that began back in 1984, a legend that has gone through so much in its carrier and after so many lineup changes, they release their eighth album, “Rockaholic”. Ladies & gentlemen, WARRANT are officially back. This time they aren’t just presenting the cherry pie, they stick it right in your face in order to show you how exactly Hard Rock / Glam Metal should be made.
After they experienced almost everything as Rock stars, including the rise and decline of the worldwide Glam Metal scene, experience in making a Grunge oriented album, the leaving of the powerhouse singer Jani Lane and his replacement Jamie St. James of BLACK N’ BLUE and the decision to break up and unite once again. So what can we expect from them now? How will the band find a new singer that would fit the big shoes of Jani Lane? Robert Mason was the answer. With him everything is possible, that guy has got balls, the right vocal range and the right attitude. That guy isn't new in business, he already sang for BIG COCK and LYNCH MOB etc…
As I approached the first song, "Sex Ain’t Love", I started grinning. What a hell of a rough vocalist? I was listening to shouts of the devil all the way. The guitars boomed my head. The solos, along with a boost of delay, sounded just like in the 80's. Have I mentioned the rush of riding a 1985 Corvette model? You might feel it when the chorus of the second song, “Row All The Way”, starts the fire."Dusty revenge" showed me that WARRANT also knows how to make a Bluesy kind of Hard Rock while showing their comrades CINDERELLA and TORA TORA that they are not alone in Blues. That one song was another proof that the new guy up front knows how to perform.
How can’t I talk about the heartbreaking ballad in a Glam Metal album? "Home" is a tune that will tear you apart. It showed me that home will always be “home sweet home”. Furthermore, this one described pretty well the feeling of comfort that everyone is looking for in their lives and will probably find it inside themselves in their own homes.
"Show Must Go On"is the "Sure Feels Good To Me" out from the "Cherry Pie" album, a great fast rocking song for you to bang your head to. "Cocaine Freight Train" is a Heavy Metal track with a blink to GUNS N’ ROSES’s style, fast, powerful, catchy and the harmonica really added flavor.
Once again WARRANT proved me that their knowledge of how to excite with their second ballad song, "Found Forever". Mason sings with so much passion, it's hard to find singers like that these days. Joey Allen was always an underrated lead guitar player and that is shameful, he did a nice job on the "Dog Eat Dog" album and now he is blowing away again. Last but not least, they left their best song, "The Last Straw", to the end. This one is a heavy, head banging, rocky and a very melodic tune.
WARRANT did a perfect comeback, it is hard to do that and it is harder to stick to your guns and do what you believe in. They believe in Rock N' Roll and didn't change their Glam / Hard Rock style. Thank you WARRANT for being there for me back then with “I Saw Red” & “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Now “Rockaholic” will be the soundtrack of my next years .
by Tomer "Tommy Foxx" Darmon at 25 April 2011, 8:14 PM
In all honesty I specifically requested this promo with the sole purpose of giving it a scathing review. After hearing Warrant's horrible 2006 offering Born Again (with Jaime St. James on vocals) I fully expected that Rockaholic would follow in the same footsteps and be another pile of crap. I even told Mark that this was going to be one craptastic album of throwaway hard rock. Time for me to eat crow. Rockaholic is dare I say a good hard rock offering from Warrant. With Robert Mason now on vocals the band looks to make a comeback in a world where hard rock is as dead as the dinosaurs. Being that I'm not as much as a hard rock fan as Mark is (shocker!) I went to my friend for info on Robert Mason's background. I knew he was with Lynch Mob but beyond that I was at a dead end. So, with that I'll quote Mark "He was on their (Lynch Mob) second album which was the self-titled Lynch Mob in 1992 and then came back in 2003 to do Revolution and he was on Evil:Live which came out that same year. He has frequently been a journeyman vocalist. He did one album with Cry of love, one with the James Byrd group, one with Silent Witness. His most steady work was in recent years he did three albums with Big Cock with guitarist David Henzerling (David Michael Phillips of King Kobra) before leaving them to go to Warrant". So there you have it. Thanks Mark for the down low. The rest of the band (Jerry Dixon – Bass/Vocals, Erik Turner – Rhythm Guitar/Vocals,Joey Allen – Lead Guitar/Vocals and Steven Sweet – Drums/Vocals) joins Mason in delivering an album that should please Warrant fans of old while surprising people (like yours truly) who were never big into the "Down Boys". Now right off the bat let me mention that there is one major drawback with this album and that is all the ballads. Not that ballads are a bad thing it is just that during the moments when this album starts getting a groove and kicking it out of nowhere some ballad comes and disrupts the flow. If my memory serves correct there were three of them. I suppose you can't have a Warrant album without them but come on guys! It is 2011 not 1989! Moving on though starting the album off in a good way is the rocker "Sex Ain't Love". Right from the opening track you can tell Robert Mason has found his fit."Innocence Gone" is next and is a decent enough rock number. Same goes for the more mellow "Snake". "Dusty's Revenge" has nice harmonies although it sounds quite a bit like Bon Jovi's western run. While there is nothing wrong with it the number just seems out of place on the album. "Home" is a ballad and the album's first single. It has 1980s written all over it. "What Love Can Do" has a Lynch Mob vibe going for it while "Life's A Song" tries for a modern rock sound. The next two numbers ("Show Must Go On" and "Cocaine Freight Train") are both top notch rock tracks which gives the album a nice crunch factor. Just when I started really rocking out (man it kills me to type that about a Warrant album!) "Forever Found" kills the party. Another ballad it reminds me why the past should be buried and forgotten sometimes. "Candy Man" is an alright number. It had me thinking Van Halen for some reason. "Sunshine" is filler. "Tears In The City" is another ballad. Skip. Thankully "The Last Straw" ends things nicely. A mid paced rocker it left a good taste in my mouth. So my final verdict is that Rockaholic is pretty good. That said it could be better. It didn't need three ballads and it could have trimmed a few numbers off ("Life's A Song" and "Sunshine") but otherwise it is a surprisingly effective hard rock album. Color me impressed.
Being a huge Warrant fan and Lynch Mob fan I was really looking forward to hearing this album. I was prepared for the worst though because while I'm a big Black N Blue fan I didn't care for Warrant's "Born Again" album with Jamie St. James on vocals. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this album is a HUGE improvement though. Because Jani Lane IS Warrant in my mind, this sounds more like a Lynch Mob album (due to both Mason, and the songwriting in general-- certainly more so than the real Lynch Mob's "Smoke and Mirrors"). But who cares what band it is... it ROCKS!
Right from the start this album is much more 80's sounding than Born Again. The lead track, "Sex Ain't Love" is a good mid paced rocker that the band has been playing live for some time now. It has much more energy than anything off the previous album. Robert sounds great. His voice has hardly changed since his days with Lynch Mob. The next two tracks, "Innocence Gone" and "Snake" are also really fun rockers. The riffs on this album are some of the most classic 80's sounding that anyone has put out in the last decade.
The next track, "Dusty's Revenge" is a cool outlaw type song. It's followed by "Home" the first ballad on the album. It's a decent song, but nothing special, with no real hook in the chorus. "What Love Can Do", is more upbeat but again, has a sort of bland hook in the chorus.
"Life's A Song" is next. This will be the first single off the album, which the band is shooting a video for now. In my opinion, it's a poor choice for a single. It's not bad, but it's the least classic sounding song on the album, and there's nothing special about it that makes it stand out.
After dropping off, the album starts to pick back up with "Show Must Go On", a fast paced rocker that would be a killer opening song. The band sounds awesome on this one. It's immediately followed by "Cocaine Freight Train", another fast paced song that just flat out rocks.
"Found Forever" is the second ballad, and it's much better than "Home", probably because it's more of a power ballad in every sense of the phrase. It's followed by "Candy Man" which has the same feel as the first few songs on the album. It's got a great early 90's sounding groove to it.
"Sunshine" is my least favorite song on the album. This one sounds much more like "Born Again". Those who liked that album will probably dig this, but it pales in comparison to most of the other songs on this offering.
"Tears In The City" is another ballad. Robert stays in a pretty low range here. It's a good song that would have fit well on countless albums from the 80's.
The album closes out on a VERY strong note, as "The Last Straw" is one of the best songs on here. Great upbeat tune which again, is just dripping with 80's vibes.
I highly recommend this to any fan of Robert Mason's work with Lynch Mob! This is definitely a top 10 or 15 album for me this year.
I'm not sure why I didn't dig this album immediately when I heard it, but I didn't. It's odd too. I have always liked Warrant. I've always dug Robert Mason's great vocals in any band he was in. Hell, one of my best friends was the guitarist for Warrant for several years! I've seen them play at least a dozen times, and they've always been worthy of the experience. But, for whatever reason, this album just didn't grasp me at first.
...and then it clicked in why.
Somewhat interestingly, I found that I was doing the same thing I did with their last album, the Jaime St. James fronted BORN AGAIN. What I did with that one was listen to it track for track, and subconciously go, "Jani wouldn't have sang that" or "that phrasing isn't how Jani would have done it". I think with BORN AGAIN, I'm not a giant Black N' Blue fan, so I didn't have any personal listening commitment to him committing to Warrant. With Robert Mason though, it's a different story. As 80s metal goes, his three albums with Big Cock are, arguably, the best three albums in that style of the last decade. That includes the reunions of all these bands. In fact, other than Ratt with INFESTATION, I feel pretty confident in saying that there wasn't an major 80s platinum hair band/80s metal band that recorded an album as good as the three albums that Mason and Dave Henzerling did with Big Cock. So, I think maybe I once again was judging this initially against Warrant's past, but this time with a bit of "this is why a band I listen to isn't making any new music" attitude.
So here we are now, with 15 spins of ROCKAHOLIC under my belt. While this would never be mistaken as Warrant to the casual fan that only knows "Cherry Pie" and "I Saw Red", it's really a damn fine album. First and foremost, ROCKAHOLIC is an 80s metal album. Where BORN AGAIN seemed to want to update the sound, ROCKAHOLIC feels more like an album where these guys decided to embrace their roots and play what has always been their bread and butter. There's really not a clunker on ROCKAHOLIC, and the sound is big, full and arena-like. The songs have gigantic hooks in them, much like...well...the glory days. Listening to fun rockers like "Innocence Gone", you can't help but get your head bobbing and singing along to the chorus once you know it. Robert Mason has always had a bit more of a gritty, western vibe to his voice and his music, and it adds a brand new dimension to Warrant that is very refreshing. Listening to songs like "Dusty's Revenge", you'd think you were mistakenly listening musical outtakes from Cinderella's HEARTBREAK STATION before the singing starts. Once it does start though, Mason's powerful pipes take over. This song though even stretches the tried and true sound of Mason as well. The performance is much more lower register for the most part. it's solid.
Musically, this is pure 80s metal sounding without being pure "Warrant" sounding, if that makes any sense. Considering that this is the original band with the exception of Mason, you never really feel like they are directly stealing from their classic catalog here. The only song that really feels like the classic era of the band is "Home". This one does directly rip from their catalog. The guitar intro sounds like a modified version of the "Sometimes She Cries" intro, and Mason's vocal performance isn't that far away from Jani Lane's sound on this one. It's the exception though, and not the rule. Lead guitarist Joey Allen sounds reinvigorated throughout ROCKAHOLIC. His playing on songs like "Cocaine Freight Train" is some of the most rockin' of his career.
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - I don't want to say Warrant is back, because the term "back" indicates that they have returned to a sound they lost. They have not really done that here. New Warrant is here, and it's damn good. ROCKAHOLIC will definitely entertain fans of this era of metal. Where so many bands from this era want to update their sound, this band has seen the error in trying that themselves, and has reverted to what they know works. If nothing else, it works here.