01. Louder Harder Faster
02. Devil Dancer
04. Only Broken Heart
05. U In My Life
06. Music Man
08. New Rebellion
09. Big Sandy
10. Choose Your Fate
11. Let It Go
12. I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink (Merle Haggard cover)
I'm normally supportive of older bands who are way past their heyday and have had several line-up changes. That's life, that's Rock 'n' Roll, and the show must go on! There are conditions though. The band has to be good, and their music should be in a similar vein to what went before, otherwise it's a different band holding onto a brand. For example, Uriah Heep have one original member left, but their albums still sound like Uriah Heep. Sonic Syndicate however have one original member (again, the guitarist) but musically they are so far removed from what they put out under the band's name before, that they've received a brutal backlash from fans and they're generally considered to be Sonic Syndicate in name alone. There are countless bands in similar scenarios to fuel passionate discussion between music fans in every Rock bar across the planet.
Warrant still have two original members, bassist Jerry Dixon and rhythm guitarist Erik Turner, but I still struggle to identify this band as Warrant. I think the issue is that the original singer Jani Lane, who sadly passed away in 2011, was not only an easily identifiable vocalist, but he wrote all of the songs up to 1995's Ultraphobic album. That's everything released on a major label including all of the songs that sold by the million when they were in their prime, in other words all the material that 95% of their fan base care about. So with a different lead singer (Ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason) who doesn't sound like Jani at all, and a completely different song writing team, no wonder this doesn't sound much like a Warrant record to my ears. If anything, it sounds more like the Bite Down Hard era of Britny Fox, which to be fair is pretty cool.
So that's my rant over, and it's time to look at the record itself. I'm delighted to say that it's surprisingly good. I've been a little fed up of ex-major label bands who were big in the 80's putting out records that sound and look cheap, and failing to come anywhere close to the standard of their early material (Vain were guilty of this- see my review here), so I'm pleased to say that Louder Harder Faster sounds great, and the production meets the high standard I'd expect from an album bearing the Warrant name.
Robert Mason is in fine voice, and tears through this record like a singer half his age. His vocal chords are perfectly suited to this style of American Hard Rock. He even manages to give us his best Phil Lynott and Myles Kennedy impressions on the particularly impressive Only Broken Heart, which is possibly my favourite track here. Other winners include Music Man which makes me want to re-listen to Poison's Native Tongue album, and Faded which brings to mind the Paul Laine era of Danger Danger, in particular the Four The Hard Way record. Louder Harder Faster has that late 80's / early 90's sleaze and swagger down to a T, and even has the compulsory piano led ballad in the form of U In My Life.
So if you can get past the band name and association with the Warrant from days gone by, Louder Harder Faster is a pretty damn good Hard Rock album. If it's a bit of high quality nostalgia you're craving, this one will hit the spot time and time again.