Released on December 13, 2019 (Sleaszy Rider Records)
If Sleaze Roxx was to come up with a “Most Improved Award” every year, the winner in 2019 would have been Nasty Ratz and specifically frontman Jake Widow. Why you may ask? Well, there’s a huge leap in a positive way from Nasty Ratz‘s debut album First Bite to their sophomore effort Second Chance? and Widow‘s singing has really improved! Back in the fall of 2015, I reviewed Nasty Ratz‘s debut album First Bite and opined that Widow‘s vocals were a “love it or hate it” type of thing and that his singing was the weal point on the record. About two years later, Widow was the lone man standing as three quarters of Nasty Ratz left him to start a new band called Double Raw with a new singer. Given what I had previously indicated in my review for First Bite, I could only cringe at thinking that perhaps my review was a contributing factor to what occurred.
As it turns out, things turned out quite well for Widow and pretty poorly for his three former bandmates whose band Double Raw apparently disbanded without even releasing an album and accordingly, never really got off the ground. Widow took some singing lessons, found some new bandmates — lead guitarist Jordy Riot, bassist Xriss String and drummer Randy Dee — and together, they have released an excellent sophomore album. I kind of already knew that Nasty Ratz would be coming up with a better record than First Bite simply on the strength of the songs “Price of Love” and “Poetic Justice” for which the band released videos more than three and two years ago respectively.
Funny enough, Second Chance? really reminds me of Crashdïet‘s fantastic album Rust with the big choruses, the more modern sounds and the overall feel. Obviously, that is a great thing since Rust was one of last year’s best albums and was even voted as the top album of 2019 by the Sleaze Roxx readers. Opening track “The Waste” is a perfect example of the Crashdïet influences. Given that at least some of Nasty Ratz‘s songs such as “Against The World”, “Price of Love” and “Poetic Justice” likely predate Crashdïet‘s songs on Rust, it might not be fair to say that the Czech rockers Nasty Ratz were influenced by the Swedish rockers’ latest album Rust.
As I listen to Second Chance? for the umpteenth time, I have to say how impressed I am with Widow‘s singing. His vocal delivery has gone from being the weak point on First Bite to sometimes being the highlight of the songs such as on “Against The World.” Although Widow‘s singing has no doubt really improved, he still does stretch himself a little too thin on a track such as “Right Now” by going for notes that he seemingly can’t reach during parts of the song. Luckily, this issue is only prevalent on this one track. I am also not that keen on his singing at the beginning of the semi-ballad “The Last Kiss.” I do like how the song builds up though and turns into something completely different with “Paradise City” like soloing at the end.
But enough about Widow‘s singing, what really makes the songs so good is the music behind the songs. Jordy Riot‘s guitar playing is solid and he delivers some memorable solos on such tracks as “Against The World” and “Right Now.” There really aren’t any weak tracks on Second Chance? as Nasty Ratz (and particularly Widow) took advantage of the more than four years between albums to really refine their sound and come up with something special. Probably my favorite song on Second Chance? is the duet between Widow and female lead vocalist Rendy Schnabelová on “Pop Sh*t” which is a poppier upbeat track with some almost punk feelings to it. If the band is going to release a video for another song off Second Chance?, I think “Pop Sh*t” should get the nod. “Street Kids” is another great track that will have you singing along and that has a cool groove to it each time after the chorus section.
If Sleaze Roxx had a Top 15 rather than a Top 10 Albums of the Year list, Nasty Ratz‘s Second Chance? would have definitely made the Top 15 for 2019. If you like Crashdïet, picking up Nasty Ratz‘s Second Chance? is a no brainer. Perhaps the biggest compliment that I can give to Nasty Ratz is that when they released First Bite, I viewed them as a band trying but not making the cut to be part of The New Wave of Hair Metal (I concede that the term was seemingly coined a few years after First Bite‘s release) but my perception has now changed with Second Chance? and I view them now as one of the leaders in that category.
01. The Waste
02. Against The World
03. Let’s Drive
04. Right Now
05. The Last Kiss
06. Watch Your Back
07. Pop Sh*t
08. Street Kids
09. Price of Love
10. Poetic Justice
Jake Widow – lead vocals,
Jordy Riot – lead guitar, vocals,
Xriss String– bass guitar, vocals,
Randy Dee – drums, vocals
Rendy Schnabelová – vocals
Produced by Ron Janecek (1 to 8)
Produced by Beau Hill (9)
Produced by Egor Erushin (10)
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2020
Nasty Ratz‘s “Watch Your Back” video:
On 17th November our fans decided between “catchy old-school” and “heavy new wave”. First option won by far so we decided to make another video for the singl…
Nasty Ratz‘s “Against The World” video:
Official music video for “AGAINST THE WORLD” by NASTY RATZ Music by: Nasty Ratz Mix & Master: Rony Janecek (John Wolfhooker) 〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️…
Nasty Ratz‘s “Poetic Justice” video:
Official music video for “Poetic Justice” by NASTY RATZ Music by: Nasty Ratz Produced by: Egor Erushin Co-produced by: Serpenth 〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️〰…