Detonator was a very good album that was put out after the record company (Atlantic) had written the band off. It still went platinum and has five of it’s 11 tracks on Ratt’s Greatest Hits album. I really enjoy the attitude that comes across from singer Stephen Pearcy and guitarist Warren DeMartini, especially on Shame, Shame, Shame and Hard Time. Lovin’ You Is A Dirty Job is a classic Ratt tune that I still love to crank up when I am listening to the CD. There are no weak spots on this disc. It is a must have for anyone who considers themselves a hard rock fan.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
It worked for Aerosmith so Ratt takes the Chevrolet into the garage for an overhaul overseen by top-flight mechanics like songwriters for hire Desmond Child and Diane Warren, DeMartini and Crosby’s nimble high tech riffs curbed in favour of The Song. Power chords are tripled and quadrupled to faciliate maximum thickness, a thickness akin to molasses draped in a layer of winter fat covered with a bear skin rug, all led by the hailing battlecry of Bobby Blotzer’s slicing snare drum strike. With the only thing connecting Detonator to Ratt of old being the Pearcy snarl, this radical metamorphasis alienated a devotee or two. But don’t think that this rodent was going soft. Detonator has this band operating at full-on ferocity, the entire operation shaking like a [very angry] rattlesnake dripping metal-melting acid venom.’Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job’ conquers nations with a massive Cecil B. DeMille epic chorus wielding a hook that pierces and rips like razor sharp great white shark fishing line.’One Step Away’ is an unashamed tablet of optimistic happy rock with angel choir backup vox and suspended fourth guitar lines invoking nostalgia for the possiblity of lost love reclaimed.A circular, throbbing, unrelenting rhythm swirls throughout ‘Hard Time’.And ‘Heads I Win Tails You Lose’ brings in guest heavyweight Jon Bon Jovi for a chorus counter vocal that only serves to compliment Pearcy’s range.’All Or Nothing’ grooves with a ‘Way Cool Junior’ slink that pulls you in and holds you under till it’s good and ready to let you go. It’s capped with a female backup part emerging in the final chorus that hits the high notes necessary for this killer song to find its zenith.’Givin’ Yourself Away’ finds Pearcy stretching into areas we haven’t heard before, starting the song off in a low register with solid control and moving forward into a loping chorus that runs forward with confident strides, keyboards and guitar lines supporting him all the way.Album closer ‘Top Secret’ is where Ratt gets down to business with high octane diesel fuel furor driven by Blotzer’s unceasingly firm white knuckle grip on the wheel of this all-American hard rock vehicle.Forget all you remember about ‘Out Of The Cellar’, and immerse yourself in the final evolutionary stage of Ratt’s tenure with the major labels.
Originally put out in 1990,as this was Ratt’s fifth album.Not as good as,say their previous efforts like ‘Out Of The Cellar’ or ‘Dancing Undercover’,but still decent ’80’s metal.Tracks that sort of stand out are “Shame,Shame,Shame”,”Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job”,”Heads I Win,Tails You Lose”,the catchy “All Or Nothing” and “Giving Yourself Away”.Almost sorry to have to admit,that THESE days Ratt is a band that more or less is washed-up.Ever since guitarist Robbin Crosby(R.I.P.)had exited the group after the release of this lp,it was strictly down hill from there.It was nice to have Ratt around on the arena rock touring circuit,from like 1984-89.Their current line-up is nothing to write home about.
When Detonator was released, I had kinda gave up on Ratt. I didn’t jump the Grunge bandwagon, I just noticed that for the last two studio albums, their songs had lost meaning and there was nothing that stuck out. The first three albums are excellent, but Reach and this one are just kinda there.
I will say however that the production is beyond excellent. It’s by far their best sounding release to date, and the songs do sound like Ratt without a doubt, but it’s TOO polished….WAY too polished. The “punch” that Ratt ws well known for is gone, the groove is gone, basically everything Ratt stood for is gone on Detonator. Teaming Ratt with Desmond Child on the songwriting may not have been a bad idea really, but all in all, they do not mix too well. Desmond did great with Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Kiss and many others from that generation, but this is a situation where too much of a good thing can be bad. I am not knocking Desmond, he is talented with his songwriting and collaberating, but not for Ratt.
Another thing that Ratt was well known for was the DiMartini/Crosby dual guitar attack. With Detonator, It’s mostly DiMartini…and there is something lacking. Crosby did play rhythm on the album, but according to sources (including Robbin himself) he didn’t have much to do with the arrangeing or writing at all. By the time Detonator was made, his relationship with the rest of the band (as well as the entire band with each other) were almost null. Therefore it really wasen’t much of a “team” effort.
There are a few songs that do shine. Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job is probably the finest moment on the album. Hard Time is a good example of classic Ratt groove, without the punch due to over production…also, this being vocalist Stephen Pearcy’s rawest vocals..and one of his best. One Step Away is a fun pop song with an excellent arrangement…only trouble is the producers (or Child, or both) obvious attempt at convincing Pearcy to imitate Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose begins as a typical Ratt guitar riff and demonstrates the tightness between Warren and Robbin…however, DiMartini’s “overplaying” becomes irritating as well as the very cheezy, goofy lyrics that are evident. Top Secret is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album with a more hard edged simplistic, rawer riff resembling the Ratt EP from their early days. However, DiMartini’s solo on Top Secret sounds almost out of place, which makes me wonder how it would have sounded with Crosby taking the lead on that track. Top Secret shows a side of Ratt that quite possibly, had they taken that route for the next release, may have salvaged their career, and their relationships between them as well. Ironically, Crosby wanted to persue that route…go back to basics, like the EP which, with the metal scene taking a nose dive within the following year, would have been an excellent choice. But, management, genre, drugs and egos prevented them from doing so.
Overall, we have an album that is produced, engineered and arranged in excellent form, but the magic is gone. The “new” track on the Ratt n Roll complation, Nobody Rides For Free only justifies my perception furthur. It’s a real shame for such an excellent band like Ratt to go out on a note like this.
Detonator is a case of overindulgence and while there are a few shining moments in a near perfectly produced album, there is not “one” solo or one song that truly stands above the rest…I sure can’t say the same for the first three releases.
I would have never thought that Ratt could put out another flawless release like “Dancing Undercover”. I had almost completely written them off. I purchaced “81-91″ and heard the song “One Step Away”, after hearing that song, I immediately when out and bought “Detonator”. One of the smartest musical purchaces I’ve ever made……This CD is simply amazing. I think this could be the most powerful Ratt release to date. The production is incredible, and the sound is just pure Ratt&Roll at it’s very best. They could not have done a better job. Everyone is in full swing on “Detonator” and the songs are all classics IMO.Fans of old school Ratt, will love this in a big way. From start to finish, “Detonator” will hold it’s place in Ratt History as one, if not their very best release ever….RATT & ROLL FOREVER!!!