CD Review: Warrant / Rockaholic
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
After seeing Warrant perform last year all I could think of was..man they have to record an album with Robert Mason. He truly carried the set that night performing all the classic hits hitting notes I never knew existed from the old catalog. The question would be can this line-up WRITE an album of new material that could live up to the past? Answer: Not only do they live up to it..they just may have surpassed it! The vocals and guitar are big, fat and just chock full of arena rock, fist pumping, feel good songs that will have you singing in the car, the shower, the gym, or your son’s hockey game (sorry that’s me)! Kudos to producer Keith Olsen and Pat Regan on the mix; it makes for one helluva an 80’s sounding record. I think Warrant has always embraced this sound but somewhere over time didn’t have the right direction; Frontiers strikes gold once again.
At 14 tracks the album has a little bit for everyone in terms of stylistic approaches. If you want aggressive guitar with gigantic hooks try”Sex Ain’t Love” and “Snake” on for size. If you want that kick back and relax mode then ‘Dusty’s Revenge” has a kind of western, ride off into the sunset on horseback feel to it. Then halfway in Mason takes over, someone smacks the horse in the ass and your off and running so hold on! I thought ‘Home” was the only song on the entire album that sounded as if it may have been left over from the Jani Lane era. This is the song where IF performed live will have that hands swaying in the air, sing-a-long with the band, type of reaction I’m sure. “Innocence Gone” would have been my pick for the first single/video and it’s also the album’s best cut. It’s a perfect display of the Mason harmonies along with guitarist Joey Allen’s best lead. It’s not the hardest rocker on the album but it just flows so perfectly.
“What Love Can Do” had potential to be a standout track but for some reason Olsen dropped Mason’s power and the song never peaks. This one confuses me because I kept waiting for the big chorus but she never showed. ‘Life’s A Song” is the first single and the video seems to be a trip down memory lane for the band though pictures. Interesting approach and I’m certain Serafino had a lot to do with that sort of marketing; God love him for that. ‘Show Must Go On” is another kick in the ass rocker that would be the perfect set opener. “Cocaine Freight Train” has some killer drum fills from Steve Sweet and harmonica from Mason. (I’m guessing?) It’s a cool track. “Found Forever” is a ballad lyrically but works better as a mid tempo track with a cool lead from Allen and another giant chorus from Mason.
I’m sure “Candy Man” is after hookers and whores (good work if you can get it) but I’m after Olsen for allowing the voicebox to be used on this track. The mix doesn’t work for me and the song goes nowhere. “Sunshine” is a happy, I feel really good about life, pop tune. “Tears In the City” has the perfect tempo and pace for a Warrant ballad. This is right there with ”Sometimes She Cries” or “I Saw Red “. “The Last Straw” ends the album on a high rocking note. One of the albums strongest cuts it really showcases Mason’s terrific range and depth to his vocal style.
Who benefits most from Rockaholic, Warrant having Mason on vocals or Mason having Warrant as his backing band? Who cares..I’m happy it happened and fans will be thrilled that Warrant is back to good old fashioned feel good rock n roll. Isn’t that all that matters?
Watch the new video for “Life’s A Song”: