Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

August 2, 2011

Warrant ~ Ultraphobic

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Style: hard rock, hair metal, heavy metal
Label: CMC International
Year: 1995
Home: California

Members: Jani Lane ~ vocals

Rick Steier, Erik Turner ~ guitar
Dave White ~ keyboards
Jerry Dixon ~ bass
James Kottak ~ drums

Planned to be their comeback album arriving in 1995 it was the worst time for a comeback. Grunge had killed the hair metal 80's & in 1994 the unrivaled king of grunge Kurt Cobain died. The world was still reeling & finding itself musicially all over again & though hair metal has returned it took 20 years not 5 to make that happen. But, in their favor Ultraphobic is much harder than anything they had created before & remains their hardest outing & is nearly unrecognizable from the glam rock "Cherry Pie" era. All the 80's cliches have been set aside & the band has moved from hard rock to heavy metal ... successfully. A comparison of song titles from releases says a lot. Ultraphobic includes the heavy sounding: "Undertow", "Followed", "Sum Of One", "Chameleon", "Crawlspace", while Cherry Pie includes the cliched: "Bed Of Roses", "Sure Feels Good To Me", "Love In Stereo", "Song & Dance Man" "You're The Only Hell Your Mama Ever Raised." Though, it should be mentioned that though but five years bridge releases this really wasn't the same band. A lot had changed for them as they'd hit highs & low plus numerous line-up changes. They'd been through too much to keep writing sappy love songs & Ultraphobic reflects that in incredibly personal & sometimes bitter lyrics, like "I'm still bleeding from a wasted youth ... don't touch me" in the highlight "Family Picnic". In many ways the album also has far more personality than the by the mold glam rock of earlier days where they played the same riffs every band played. By 1995 Metallica, Alice In Chains, Smashing Pumpkins & Soundgarden were paving the way in the mainstream for metal & copying them was out of the question for Warrant ... though fans of Soundgarden will probably enjoy this & fans of the current Styper, which says more about the sound of the album than any other description ... so Warrant had to find themselves & reinvent themselves like never before. The fans might not have come out in hoards but the result is nothing to cringe at or hesitantly approach. Peers Firehouse took their music in the same direction when styles changed & found the same type of musical success but also found themselves playing extended tours in Japan but not elsewhere. Not long after this Warrant would lose its sexy & iconic frontman Jani Lane along with seeing more line-up changes than albums & continue a struggle to the present day ... though for their credit they never broke up like many bands. But, though this wasn't their last album if it had been a swan song they would have gone out on a high of highs. Released today Ultraphobic would be indeed welcomed. It's interesting to note that at the same time the label CMC was promoting similiar bands such as Widowmaker featuring another struggling star looking for a comeback in Dee Snider rocking out also harder than ever with future Megadeth guitarist Al Pitrelli.

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