Out Of The Cellar


Atlantic Records, 1984

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I remember when I started to get into the hard rock/heavy metal scene way back in 1984. My buddy Ryan and I had discovered the joys of this music through videos for songs like "Jump," "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "Round And Round," immediately getting us into groups like Van Halen, Twisted Sister and Ratt. As we got older, we got deeper into metal and its various splinter groups - and my buddy moved to Florida. I don't talk to Ryan as much as I'd like to, 'cause we both have jobs and families now, and I don't know where his musical tastes have led him to today. Me? My tastes broadened, but I've still had a special place in my heart for hard rock.

Then again, it's been a long time since I had listened to Out Of The Cellar, the full-length debut from Stephen Pearcy and crew. Would I still think that some of this music was cool to like? Would there still be redeeming qualities in it that I heard over 15 years ago?

In the end, it's a split decision. Out Of The Cellar still has its moments, but overall the album hasn't aged well, instead becoming a living reminder of what the early days of glam metal were like.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Strong words to describe Ratt - glam metal? Sure, they might not have owned stock in Maybelline like Poison seemed to in the early days, but c'mon, the signs were all there. The big hair, the posing for the cameras (as well as the female fans), the rather insipid content of the music - consider these three of the big warning signs that you're about to enter glam country.

In Ratt's defense, they still knew how to modulate between soft and hard in their music. Take "Back For More," originally a song included on their self-titled debut EP that Atlantic picked up after Out Of The Cellar's success. If you could only say one positive thing about this particular version, it's that they made major improvements over the demo version. Fortunately, there's more than one good thing to say about this track. The twin guitar attack of Robbin Crosby and Warren De Martini shines here, and Bobby Blotzer's drum work seems to be highlighted as well. Pearcy's vocals also are at just the right power level. (Bassist Juan Croucier seems to be buried in the mix throughout this album - it's not that I'm purposely ignoring him.)

The initial hit from Out Of The Cellar, "Round And Round," can only be classified these days as a guilty pleasure that some of us "generation X"ers occasionally listen to in order to clear out the pipes. Looking back, though, there really wasn't much to this song except for a pretty good balance of guitar work, as well as a video that featured a hot looking chick and Milton Berle (no, in this case, not one and the same). Now that I'm older and wiser, I can look back on this song objectively and declare, from a songwriting standpoint, it was a dud.

Regrettably, that's how the balance of Out Of The Cellar tends to shape up: a decent song paired up with something that doesn't hold a candle to the previous work. For every "Wanted Man" and "Lack Of Communication" (which holds more than a slight hint of what would come on songs like "Lay It Down" and "You're In Love" - cripes, it's nearly the same goddamn song each way), there's a "You're In Trouble," "In Your Direction" and "She Wants Money".

Sometimes, I get misty eyed about the old days, and I put on an album like Out Of The Cellar to bring me back to those times. But then again, this album reminds me, to paraphrase Loudon Wainwright III, why they're "good old days" - and that's because they're long past. Sadly, the bulk of this album is well past its prime.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.