Warren DeMartini-Lead Guitar & Vocals
Robbie Crane-Bass & Vocals
Carlos Cavazo-Lead Guitar & Vocals
As the story goes, Ratt helped pioneer Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip sound and scene. The band has returned sounding fired up and better than ever. Ratt’s first studio album in 11 years, Infestation, is a return to their heavy, riff driven roots. The band has reinvented their sound by rediscovering their strengths, shuttling listeners to a time when metal ruled the earth and real musicians wore eyeliner like a badge of honor.
“We wanted this to be like something that we would have written right after [1984’s] Out of the Cellar, says vocalist Stephen Pearcy. “We definitely went back to basics with the mindset of a band with a lot of excitement and some great songs to get out.”
Right out of the box, Infestation ignites like gasoline to an open flame, bursting with an energy and attitude absent from metal for years, unheard, perhaps, since before the dawn of DVDs, grunge and Facebook. Album opener “Eat Me Up Alive” slaps you in the face with attitude and a timeless riff that has been a staple in Ratt’s music and has set them apart from the pack. From the strip pole gyrations of “Look Out Below” to the keg party anthem “Take a Big Bite,” Infestation rages with a life and energy that Ratt is famous for.
Yet Infestation is more than a party album. While the music is a glorious celebration throughout, some of the lyrics are serious and sobering, weighing the benefits of monogamy versus the thrill of rampant hedonism without being preachy or judgmental.
Ratt flew to a remote area of Virginia Beach in spring 2009 to work on new songs. They stayed in a four bedroom house there and wrote on their own schedule, banging out riff after riff and molding them into tunes quickly and with great enthusiasm.
“We wanted go off the beaten path on this one and set up somewhere we could eat, sleep and create the album in the same place,” DeMartini says. “It was great fun; we had the camaraderie of a road trip together with the environment to really stay focused.”
While DeMartini, Cavazo, Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer finessed the music, Pearcy stayed in his room and worked on his lyrics.
“It was great that we had those writing sessions together,” Pearcy adds. “Some of my parts were written right then and there in the studio in preproduction. That hadn’t happened since ‘83 and ‘84. One of these songs, “Garden of Eden,” was just a riff idea, but then in preproduction Warren just started playing this riff and I went, ‘What is that? I like it. Keep that. Work on that.’ And we worked it out that day.”
“It was great for Carlos and me as well because Elvis was a guitarist in a band before he was a producer, and he’s real into tones,” DeMartini says. “He was coming from the same place guitar-wise as us, which isn’t always the case.”
The cumulative playing, recording and circumstantial synergy shines throughout Infestation. The first single “Best of Me” is a feast of foot-to-the floor dynamics that features gritty vocals that uncurl like a coiled snake into a glorious chorus, and guitar lines as memorable as a dirty limerick. “Garden of Eden” builds from a bluesy intro into a pounding gallop, and shifts into a surging stop-start sky-puncher at the midpoint. But maybe it’s a line in the mid-paced “As Good as it Gets” that most accurately sums up the approach, attitude and conviction of Infestation: “You get just what you came for.”
“Infestation is like it was in the beginning in approach,” Pearcy says. “And here we are 25 years later, keeping Ratt N’ Roll alive.”