Ratt ‘Collage’ was the first album the band put out in 6 years and a lot of people thought it was a new studio album. Thus, they were suckered into buying it. This is an album of unreleased stuff from various points in their career, some of it from the original sessions and the other songs are rerecorded with the new bass player (at the time), Robbie Crane, on the bass.
It is really no wonder these songs never came out, they show a lot of potential and even have a good production but they totally lack melody and hooks. I know this sounds negative but none of the songs are remotely catchy. “Steel River” is an unmemorable song that really sounds like a different band. “Dr. Rock” has to be one of the worst songs Ratt has ever put on a record, it sounds like a bad, bad cover of a bad, bad Kiss b-side. Fitting considering that “Dr. Rock” was written when the original lineup of the band (PRE-record deal) was in high school and known as MICKEY RATT.
Things get slightly better with the next two tracks, which are among the best on the record, “Diamond time again” and “Ratt Madness.” Both of these are aggressive and classic Ratt. Ironically, “Ratt Madness” is one of the shortest songs on the disc, clocking in around the 3-minute mark as it seems to be missing a verse. “Hold tight” and “I want it all” are very generic and not even worth mentioning.
“Mother Blues” is a softer acoustic song and another of the limited highlights. The song was actually recorded for the band that Stephen Pearcy formed after he first quit Ratt, called Arcade. The song is rerecorded for ‘Collage.’ The next song is intriguing, if not overly memorable. A song from the ‘Detonator’ cd, called “Top secret” is on here in its original and rawer demo version. Remember, the ‘Detonator’ version of this song was slicker and more polished, it’s good to see what it was like before it was finished up for that album.
“Take it anyway” is a pedestrain rock song and another very short track, about the same length as “Ratt madness” and like “Ratt madness” this song is fast-paced and has a pseudo-punk vibe to it. The album is closed with an extended dance/club remix of a song from ‘Detonator’, “Loving you’s a dirty job” which is another highlight if you are into that sort of thing.
There really isn’t much stellar musicianship on this album, which is a surprise as Ratt was known for having a tight rhythm section, even though Steve Pearcy puts through a good vocal performance. These songs could have used some more work, especially considering a few were in fact reworked/fixed-up with an altered lineup during the recording in 1996-1997. I get chills thinking of what some of the original sessions of these songs sounded like.
This album is strictly for the Ratt diehard or to complete a collection, certainly not a good introduction to the band, it doesn’t do them much justice. However, it is good of DeRock Records and the band to put this out for the diehard Ratt fans as these songs do have a right to be heard. That still doesn’t mean you have to like it. I am a fan of Ratt, owning every album all the way back to the self-titled debut EP. However, this is easily their most disappointing release.