Time Coast Communications, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Back in 1984, I was discovering heavy metal music thanks to MTV and groups like Twisted Sister and AC/DC. It was a wonderful time to be discovering new groups like Magellan sailing the open seas; my buddy and I were soon banging our heads to new groups almost every day.

One of the bands I got into around this time was Ratt, thanks to the video for their song "Round And Round". Within short time, I had dropped eight bucks and bought their album Out Of The Cellar, and was perfectly happy with it... until I discovered it wasn't their first album! Horrors!

It would be some time before I got around to buying my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ratt, their six-song EP that helped them land a contract with Atlantic Records. This mini-album (which apparently is hard to find these days) shows off a group that has not yet developed the confidence and sound that would propel them to stardom, but they're close.

For starters, a poor mix doesn't help matters much. Often, the guitars of Robbin Crosby and Warren DiMartini are buried in the mix, and Juan Croucier's bass takes the forefront. This ends up hurting tracks like "Sweet Cheater" and "You Think You're Tough," tracks that could have used the extra muscle to convince me right out of the box that these guys had muscle. If there is a God in heaven, he'll make sure that Liam Sternberg never tries to produce a metal band again.

But even with a better mix, vocalist Stephen Pearcy hadn't quite developed the powerful sneering vocals that would become his trademark. He's not lightweight on tracks like "U Got It," but he just doesn't have the oomph behind them that would be better developed on Out Of The Cellar. That sneer is there, by the way, on the original version of "Back For More".

Of the six tracks here, only "Back For More" is worth serious attention, and that's mainly out of curiosity to hear how the track originally sounded before becoming a hit off of Out Of The Cellar. (So far, I believe this is the only track that Ratt ever re-recorded for one of their major label releases. Corrections to this would be appreciated from the audience.) Other tracks like "Tell The World" don't paint a convincing enough portrait for Ratt, and as for the cover of "Walkin' The Dog"... well, frankly, I can't stand that song ever since hearing a terribly butchered version when I was a kid on The Mickey Mouse Club album. If I never hear that friggin' song again, I will die a happy man.

Ratt is the kind of album that the diehard fan either owns or is searching out to finish their collection. For the casual fan, this really isn't required owning or listening, since it's kind of an incomplete picture of who the band would become in one short year.

Rating: C

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© 1999 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 Time Coast Communications, and is used for informational purposes only.