|Warrant Born Again||MTM Music|
This is a tough one for Warrant. It has been several years since their last album, so the material has to impress. The band has a new lead singer, so he must also impress.|
The band has, during their lifespan, had a couple of very distinct styles, from the stadium rock of Cherry Pie to the more aggressive Dog Eat Dog and then the grunge flavored Ultraphobic.
Warrant's legion of fans all has their own favorites, so along with the other challenges, the guys are under pressure to deliver a record that will please the majority. I don't think they have pulled it off.
Born Again sees the band back in a more traditional melodic hard rock vein akin to the band's first two albums. But new singer Jamie St. James has an obvious influence over this album. While the sound of the band's first records may be rekindled, St. James brings the style and flair of his history with Black N Blue to the band and it is this aspect which is the main influence over the sound of the album. It is more Black N Blue than it is Warrant.
Personally, I don't see this as the problem and think the sound the guys have settled into does suit them and isn't out of character for how Warrant should or could sound like in 2006.
I actually think the album sounds great – the production courtesy of Pat Regan lives up to his consistently high standards and the honest, somewhat simplified rock n roll sound gives the record a nice edge.
What I do have an issue with is the songwriting. A great album must have a great sound, strong performances and knock out songs.
I don't think Born Again features enough knockouts. In fact I'd rate only 2 or 3 songs as truly great Warrant tracks and the rest I rate as just ok. Not bad, but certainly not strong enough to knock all fans off their feet after such a gap between albums.
Of those tracks that impress, Hell, CA is probably the best of all, with a typically strong harmonic display on a song that fits the persona of the band and also features a good hook.
Other highlights include Dirty Jack, which is a strong hard edged rocker, but has more AC/DC in it than traditional Warrant.
Rollercoaster has a certain attitude and a strong hard rocking guitar sound; Down In Diamonds has a strong chorus and Velvet Noose is, like Hell CA; driven by strong harmonies.
Of all the songs, the closing number Good Times probably rocks harder than any and could be an example of what the album needed more of. Elsewhere the songs just don't fire my imagination and lack some decent hooks to drive repeat plays.
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