I got a little bright light of hope a few days ago and it came to me much LOUDER, much HARDER and much FASTER than it had in the past. When last “Under the Influence” I’d lost a little hope. Then I was promised it was “Born Again” and I was totally deflated. What the hell you ask?
Allow me, Warrant 2017…LOUDER, HARDER, FASTER? Uh, there is some truth in advertising right there my dear readers. I waited to make this my FIRST review because frankly, I’ve been a fan of Warrant since their daze on the Sunset Strip and even a bigger fan of the amazing JANI LANE. That being said, as I stated above I was very cautious when “Warrant” continued without Jani. While the first replacement singer and release were just too soon for me, I just couldn’t do it. It seemed somewhat of a ‘forced’ release’, although the intent was there. For me however it missed the mark completely. By the time “Rockaholic” dropped in 2011 it was another chance to catch up on one of my favorite bands, though there was some definite promise, again the chemistry that I and millions of others fell in love with the first time wasn’t quite ready for total consumption. This time however, the voice behind the mic sounded really damn good. They say the third time is the charm and with Robert Mason stepping in as the third vocalist (on record) it was about to get a bit charming. On “Rockaholic” you could hear the potential and with sometime they could toss a K.O. punch in the next round. Well, here we are 6 years later and if this isn’t a K.O. it’s definitely a knock DOWN punch. “LOUDER, HARDER, FASTER” delivers it up!
It’s great to hear the OG’s in Warrant made up of Jerry Dixon, Erik Turner, Joey Allen and Steven Sweet putting out some new and damn impressive stuff. Dropping TODAY (May 12th) from Frontier Records, “Louder, Harder, Faster” rockets right off the launch pad with Allen’s shredding opening riff right into the title track. Vocalist Robert Mason pops right off with some killer vocals. If you’re looking for the Warrant of past, you aren’t going to find the band resting on their laurels and just rehashing DRFSR, Cherry Pie or even those great later releases, not this go round. Yes, you can obviously hear some similar qualities in the musicianship and some of the lyrics and phrasing, but then again you have four fifths of the multi-million selling band on the album. Though they may always be compared to their hey-day of an era gone by, THIS is a milestone for Warrant.
You drop the needle or the laser on the disc and prepare for your face to get shredded and the first of many multi-eargasms. From the lead shred of Joey Allen and Mason’s screech, it just punches you in the face with the aptly titled, “Louder, Harder, Faster”. On first listen you’re gonna wanna air guitar it, but by the second listen, you WILL shred rip through the nitrogen/oxygen/argon/carbon dioxide that make up the “air” in that guitar of yours. The disc just doesn’t let up. With “Devil Dancer” you get some very nice vocals from Mason, but it’s the rest of the band that rips and shines on this track. You can actually FEEL the bass thumping from Dixon and as for the Allen/Turner combo? MORE PLEASE!! Wow the just crush with Steven Sweet slamming the backbeat.
I caught myself playing air guitar once again with, “Perfect”. Though this one has a bit of a throwback feel, it’s strong enough to stand without comparison, as does the whole album. This is the first of the mid-tempo rockers. The production on this particular song stands out in front of the pack; the musicianship and vocals just flows together, well…”Perfect”ly. So BRAVO, Jeff Pilson (ye of Dokken and Foreigner) who produced this album that makes this release sounding current and not lazily dated as could have easily happened.
Storytelling was always the late Jani Lane’s forte and the 4th song “Only Broken Heart” could have easily been in the Lane arsenal. I don’t say that to be disparaging to the whole, it’s actually a HUGE compliment to the band. The guitars and drums shine on this and Mason’s vocals sound like a mix of Triumph mixed with Night Ranger with just a touch of every great 70’s blues rock vocalist tossed in for good measure. “Only Broken Heart” is not only MY favorite tune on this release, but seems to be most of my employee’s as well. My office quickly filled up with curious ears and was requested to be re-played no less than 6 times repeatedly. THAT speaks volumes because these animals weren’t 80’s glam fans, let alone barely being BORN in the 80’s. They almost shit their pants upon being told they were actually enjoying “Warrant”. One even offensively stated to me, “You mean the “Heaven” band my Mom loves?” Yeah ya jaggoff; that SAME Warrant. You know the one that your mom got tongue punched in the tuna-box by during one of her “backstage” adventures.
“U in My Life” is a pleasant ballad and Mason shows he can croon with the best of them. The sound is quite touching and the lyrics very sweet. Past “Warrant” releases have had “that” ballad and “UiML” would be this one’s. Upon seeing the title, “Music Man” initially pierced my heart as I immediately thought this is where the train goes off the rails as a “Song and Dance Man” rip-off from Cherry Pie. WRONGO! It’s a nice bluesy rocker ala “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, but definitely not a rehash, not even close. This one will take you by surprise, a pleasant surprise I must say. Again on Track 7, “Faded” has that emotional riff and added with Mason’s vocals coming in sounding the best you’ve heard him to date. If you’re a fan of the old skool sound of yore, this one nails it, BUT without sounding dated. The band just jells on this track.
“New Rebellion” is kind of a cocky title and guess what? IT RIPS, SHREDS and any other clichéd thing you can think of! The screaming vocals, the guitars, the slamming drums, the killer bass….this IS a “new rebellion” and it’s Warrant moving forward, yes…louder, harder AND faster!!
So far, so good, right? Well there HAS to be something that brings this new revived hope to a screeching halt…yeah, not on Track 9, “Big Sandy.” You can feel the sex ooze from the speakers. And frankly the name Sandy rhymes with Candy and THAT can only be a good thing…it is.
“Choose Your Fate” is nothing but EPIC sounding. Mason again puts his stamp on this tune that just connects with your inner ear canals. My only problem with this track is the vocals didn’t need to be so layered and impeccably produced. It just sounds a little ‘too clean’ for an otherwise killer rock assault. If Robert Mason has shown anything on this release, it’s his ability to rock equally has hard as the duel guitar attack of Allen and Turner, the vocals hit just as hard as Steven Sweet slamming the drums and just a groove orientated as Jerry Dixon’s bass.
We finally close out with “Let it Go” and this song may just do that…Mason comes through as he has done on this whole disc with some excellent vocals. You can FEEL the emotion in everything he’s sung on this disc and you can FEEL the BAND as a whole just leave it all in the studio.
I am happy to report…WARRANT 2017 is BACK and they are DEFINITELY…”LOUDER, HARDER and FASTER”. This one gets a big fucking fat THUMBS UP times TWO! Grab “Louder, Harder, Faster’ NOW on Frontiers Records, I’m guaranteeing you are NOT gonna be sorry!
– by “SWEET” Lou Hetzer
ROBERT MASON – VOCALS
JOEY ALLEN – GUITARS
ERIK TURNER – GUITARS
JERRY DIXON – BASS GUITAR
STEVEN SWEET – DRUMS