Warrant: ‘Louder Harder Faster’

To be released on May 12 2017 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Review by Tyson Briden (April 2017):
It seems that 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for new hard rock music. So far this year, we have seen new releases from Night Ranger, Black Star Riders and Junkyard to name a few. Warrant’s Louder Harder Faster is one that I have really been looking forward to. I know I may annoy some of those traditional Warrant fans who just can’t accept Warrant with any singer other than Jani Lane. Trust me, I’ve read the posts and I am always vocal in my defense of this incarnation of Warrant. Unfortunately, Jani Lane is no longer with us and there is nothing we can do about it. His work will live on forever. From my perspective, Lane is one of the most prolific songwriters of the ’80s era. With that said, it would not be fair for Warrant to be expected to call it a day when there is still so much music left in them, as is evident on their newest release.

Personally I believe new vocalist Robert Mason was the best choice to replace Lane in Warrant. It was a continuation of greatness. For those who have witnessed Warrant live with Mason fronting the band, you will agree with me. I can honestly say that there are very few singers on this planet that can do no wrong in my eyes. Mason is of course one of them. His previous work with Lynch Mob, Cry of Love and Big Cock is fantastic. I also love the version of “Smoke On The Water” Mason did with Russ Parish on the Shrapnel Records Deep Purple tribute album. As well the amazing job he did on the Dokken classic “It’s Not Love” on the T&N album featuring George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown.

As I am about to review this release, I think about a conversation I had with a good friend just the other day. I mentioned that Warrant had a new album coming out. His response to me was astounding, “Oh yeah, who’s their singer?” I was taken back by this and I got slightly agitated at his statement. It was an honest question, but it redefined in my eyes the state of music in North America. Warrant are not the flavor of the week like they were back in 1990, so who cares right? My friend was unaware of anything to do with Warrant because he just doesn’t have the media to do so. Local radio stations don’t promote them, record stores… hmm well!!! As fans, we hunt this stuff out. We still love this music as we did 25 years ago. But we are the few because most don’t. If it’s in your face, then you’re more inclined to make the purchase. It is nice to see there are media outlets keeping this music relevant such as the one I write for. My hope is that someone who doesn’t generally listen to new Warrant, might see my review and decide “Hey, I should check this out!” I actually reached out to Warrant drummer Steven Sweet recently upon hearing this new album. I mentioned to him how much I loved it. Sweet was so appreciative of my words, and he mentioned the other members of Warrant will be as well. Sweet really couldn’t thank me enough. In today’s musical climate, bands like Warrant still do this out of love of creating new music. Albums don’t generate huge financial gains. And as you read my review, it will be very apparent that Warrant have put so much into this album. Blood, sweat and beers!!!

This album starts out exactly as it should. “Louder, Harder Faster” — A fantastic title in true Warrant fashion. An in your face rocker generated by a great guitar riff. Mason sounds on his game and the chorus hits with a big band gang vocal. I can’t help but notice the articulate bass playing of Jerry Dixon, the smooth rhythm guitar of Erik Turner, compounded with the great groove created by drummer Steven Sweet. It’s a formula for a great heavy rock n’ roll song. As the song draws to the end, guitarist Joey Allen plays some great licks beneath Mason’s smooth vocal line. Coming in at only two minutes and fifty seven seconds, this song oozes with pure intensity.

“Devil Dancer” is a dirty groove rocker. The guitar riff is so infectious. The drums play off this killer intro. Mason comes in singing his ass off. A lower register to start off as he builds the song. He then goes high taking the listener to the chorus. Brilliant singing. Mason has a way of keeping the listener’s attention. Throughout the guitar is playing fills using the wah pedal. The breakdown after the solo is heard with nice effects in the background. I can’t help but notice the production of Dokken/Foreigner bass player Jeff Pilson. All instruments are placed perfectly. Distinct in every possible way.

“Perfect” starts off nicely. To be honest, this intro has a Foreigner feel to it. It captures your attention instantly. The slight bending guitar leads are a nice touch. This song is very catchy. As I focus my attention to the verse, I am enjoying the chord changes. Mason’s vocal phrasing fit the part like a glove. The Foreigner like intro appears again minus the bending leads, as it is the basis of the chorus. The band plays it tight and articulately behind, giving Mason plenty of room to breath. A very well crafted piece of music. What I have noticed from this album and the previous release “Rockaholic” is that Warrant are so good at creating the perfect groove. Free and open, yet tight. Never out of place. It really helps the vocal along.

“Only Broken Heart” comes out all guns blazing. Mason changes it up a bit vocally, introducing the listeners to his Phil Lynott like vocal stylings. This is a welcome change to a Warrant album. It is executed so well. I immediately notice drummer Sweet’s predominant ride during the chorus. The guitars are crunchy, but not overpowering. After the second chorus, a great breakdown takes place. Warrant play it nice and open, then a buildup, leading into a great in your face solo by Allen. The band is heard in the background of the chorus, singing “When The Morning Comes Around.” I hear Pilson’s Dokken influence on that part. Reminds me of various background parts from Under Lock And Key and Back For The Attack, but still sounds like Warrant. If that makes sense…

“U In My Life” really shows the softer side of Warrant. Mason immediately comes in, singing over top of this great piano progression. Pretty much Mason, the piano and a little bit of percussion. At roughly the 1:50 mark, the song builds slowly. But not too much to ruin the beauty of the song. A melodic guitar solo is presented. The song continues at a steady pace, but never loses touch of the original idea. Very brilliantly done.

“Music Man” starts very slowly with a great acoustic progression with Mason singing over top. In amongst this great rhythm guitar, is the odd little fast acoustic lick. This really adds to the feel. It wouldn’t be a great Warrant album if there wasn’t a good story to be told. In the same vein as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Cherry Pie and “Dusty’s Revenge” from Rockaholic, “Music Man” pulls the listener in as the band gets Louder, Harder, Faster. Very swampy, country blues orientated. Fantastic. As I’m entranced in this new piece of musical ear candy, I can’t help but think about the four original members of Warrant. The reason I say this is because as I’m accessing what I’m hearing, I’m thinking to myself, with these four in the band, no matter who the singer is, I have loved every piece of music they have ever created. Whether it be DRFSR, Cherry Pie, Dog Eat Dog, Born Again, Rockaholic or Louder Harder Faster, these four have always created fantastic music together. The chemistry is undeniable.

Getting back on track, “Faded” starts off very melodically. An undeniable groove moves this song along. Mason is in top form once again. Great background vocals in somewhat of a ’60s Four Seasons type background. This part fits so perfectly in this well written composition. I am curious to hear this live. For those who know of Warrant’s secret vocal weapon in drummer Steven Sweet, it can definitely be attested that Warrant could easily pull these very complex vocal parts off.

As the album progresses, it’s getting even more Louder, Harder, Faster. “New Rebellion”, putting it bluntly, hits you right in the face. It’s an orgasm of the ears. A really slick guitar riff opens up the track, with a second guitar coming in with a Mr. Big/Paul Gilbert type lick that really impresses the hell out of me. This album is starting to show a different face and I’m lovin’ it. The bass of Dixon is precisely heavy, while the drums of Sweet are driving this song like a top fuel dragster going 335 mph with no sign of stopping. The song changes slightly midpoint, where Mason shows his versality vocally, singing in a low register, as the song takes a tempo detour, but soon gets back up to speed. I can’t help but just repeating this part because it is so far damn good.

“Big Sandy” is another cool rocker. Once again Mason’s vocals are different. This reaffirms to me why I admire this man’s voice so much. Mason sings to the song. The background vocals have a very cool alternative sound to them. Love the main vocal line “Big Sandy, Big Sandy, knew that your number would come in handy”. Great tongue in cheek lyrics that make me laugh when I hear them. Not because they’re lame, because of the humor that is associated with the lyrics in the song. Clapping is heard on the chorus and I am not sure this is something that I’ve ever heard on a Warrant record. It’s nice to hear Dixon get to do a great bass solo interlude in the middle of the song with Sweet playing along on that predominant ride cymbal. Then the phone rings, and Sandy picks up! The song ends with a great harmony vocal.

“Choose Your Fate” gives the album even more depth. Sometimes an album can be redundant after a while where each song blends into the next. Not here. Mason sings in on his own, after Turner and Allen provide a cool intro guitar line. This one is rocking with great chord changes. “Run if you’re ready to run, fight if you’re ready to fight” are great lyrics that really portray life. Allen’s guitar solo really fits the feel of the song. The song ends with the chorus line repeated as Mason sings underneath.

“Let It Go” has a very hard rock pop flavor to it. A great ending to such a fantastic album. The chorus makes you feel good. A positive outlook of change. Without giving it all away, it more or less says everything we as human beings say when it’s time to move on and start anew. The guitar is perfectly matched underneath the chorus with a smooth melodic line.

Louder, Harder, Faster… that is exactly what is given here. Sometimes people talk the talk, but never walk the walk. Warrant has walked the walk. They have definitely provided listeners with what I may call the album of the year. This has surpassed my expectations. Back in 2011, “Rockaholic” was my album of the year. As far as I’m concerned this one is even better than the last, which says a lot because I still listen to that album on a regular basis. My hats off to Robert Mason, Jerry Dixon, Erik Turner, Joey Allen and Steven Sweet, you never disappoint me. And an honorable mention to Jeff Pilson because the production is fantastic.

Review by wrestlingepicenter.com (May 2017):
Warrant have always been one of my favorite hard rock bands. While most think “Cherry Pie” when they think Warrant, in reality, it was their more tender songs that first first attracted me to their sound. “Sometimes She Cries,” “Thin Disguise” and “Heaven” are three very tender songs that have incredible lyrics. But, those were all Jani Lane songs. And, as we all know, and no one is winning to stop posting about whenever there is a Warrant story of any kind, Jani has passed away. He died in 2011.

Warrant with current singer Robert Mason has been a thing since 2008. The band has performed thousands of shows with Mason as singer and did a record in 2011 called Rockaholic. The album saw Warrant with a more party-rock edge with a little less of that whole heart felt song sound as mentioned before. It is still good. Just… different!

In 2017, Warrant released Louder Harder Faster with a more rounded sound than Rockaholic. In fact, Dokken/Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson was employed to produce the record and it appears to return the band to more of a classic Warrant sound. While that is not possible due to the stark differences in the approach of the late Jani Lane and Robert Mason, the result is a success. A Sleaze Roxx reader said the new Warrant album “sounds nothing like the original band but is still good.” That is a fair description. But, it sounds closer to classic Warrant than before! I’d argue that becomes more the case as the record progresses.

Track by track review:

1. “Louder Harder Faster” — The opening track has a very hard rock feel to it. This could have been the follow up track to Rockaholic‘s “Sex Ain’t Love”. It fits the new Warrant sound with a sound that almost makes one think of Motley Crue‘s “Live Wire.”

2. “Devil Dancer” — Robert Mason‘s vocals on this track remind you that he is from New Jersey as his lower range almost reminds you of Bon Jovi before Jon started singing exclusively through his nose. It has a very sleazy sound that really explores Mason‘s vocal range which is probably the best of the veteran bands. Warrant found a gem when they hired this guy!

3. “Perfect” — This one has you thinking “Hey, I heard this before.” It almost sounds like something Sammy Hagar would sing. A very ’70s hard rock song with lyrics of love. Very catchy. Though, a little less powerful than the first two cuts.

4. “Only Broken Heart” — A Thin Lizzy inspired rocker that is probably the best track to start promoting the record. A lovely tale of a girl who falls in love with a Sunset Strip rocker and then massacres him and his groupie friend when she finds out he wasn’t true blue. You know, a regular Romeo and Juliet tale. Great hooks, great vocals. It is perfect. No, it is “Only Broken Heart.” But, it is the perfect first single!

5. “U In My Life” — A song that makes you think of Buckcherry‘s “Sorry” in song style and delivery, even vocally. It is the first ballad on the record and is solid. It might grow on me in time but for now, it gets a thumbs up as I explore the harder material. Ironically, that is what I’m hungering for.

6. “Music Man” — Attention Jani Lane fans… This one is your Warrant classic sound. I mean… shit! This one could easily have been written and performed by Mr. Lane back in his golden age of creativity. But, with Mason‘s voice ripping on it, it is even better. This is, without question, my favorite song on the album bar none. From the slow start to the blazing bluesy guitars and vocals… This one hits the spot.

7. “Faded” — At this point, Warrant‘s Louder Harder Faster has hit the creative genius of the Cherry Pie record. This song has it all in a more slow tempo style.

8. “New Rebellion” — For the Robert Mason fans who loved his work with Lynch Mob, this one is for you. Probably my favorite hard rockin’ hit, this one has the same vibe as Rockaholic‘s “Last Straw” with an almost Def Leppard sounding backing chorus “HEY!”

9. “Big Sandy” — This one almost has a surfer style feel to it in some ways with a LA feel. For some reason, it reminds me of Stephen Pearcy‘s latest record Smash. Catchy.

10. “Choose Your Fate” — Attention all who lost their minds for The Winery Dogs or maybe even classic fans of Whitesnake. This is a bluesy hard rocker with pretty cool lyrics. Usually where a record takes a wrong turn, this kept the momentum going.

11. “Let It Go” — If you liked the “Born Again” album by this band, this song would probably have fit somewhere around “Angel” on that album. Stronger lyrics, certainly, but a like sound. A ’70s bluesy style in the vain of Thin Lizzy.

12. “I Think I’ll Sit Here and Drink” — A CD exclusive, this was recorded for bull riding. A cool cover of Merle Haggard‘s classic by the Down Boys. Glad it was included on the physical copy.

All in all, this album surpassed expectations. In fact, it even surpassed my younger favorite band of the 21st century Crazy Lixx‘s new album Ruff Justice, which was no easy task as that record has some awesome stuff on it too.

Bottom line? If you are eager for more hard rock that makes you feel that fire in the belly the way you once did but modern music does not give you, you need a little something Louder Harder Faster!”

Track List:
01. Louder Harder Faster
02. Devil Dancer
03. Perfect
04. Only Broken Heart
05. U In My Life
06. Music Man
07. Faded
08. New Rebellion
09. Big Sandy
10. Choose Your Fate
11. Let It Go
Bonus Track (CD only):
12. I Think I’ll Sit Here And Drink

Band Members:
Robert Mason – vocals
Erik Turner – guitar
Joey Allen – guitar
Jerry Dixon – bass
Steven Sweet – drums

Produced by Jeff Pilson

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Tyson Briden in April 2017 and by wrestlingepicenter.com in May 2017 for Sleaze Roxx

Warrant‘s “Devil Dancer” song:

Warrant – “Devil Dancer” (Official Audio)

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Warrant‘s “Perfect” song:

Warrant – “Perfect” (Official Audio)

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Warrant‘s “Only Broken Heart” song:

Warrant – “Only Broken Heart” (Official Audio)

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