Warrant - Then And Now
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (48'02)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Marty
When you hear the term" hair metal" a band like Warrant immediately comes to mind. No one single band ever personified that label more than these guys did in the late 80's (just take a look at band photos from that era). Their career took off with their debut release Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (or DRFSR to the fans) which went double platinum as did the follow-up Cherry Pie in 1990. Their third album, Dog Eat Dog, released in 1992 went gold but the grunge era was in full swing and it seemed that it was going to swallow up Warrant much like it did for bands like Tesla, Dokken and to some extent Queensryche. These bands left a bad taste in the mouths of grunge fans and even of major label record executives who lept off the metal wave of the 80's and onto the grunge wave of the 90's. Even with a major decline in sales and popularity, the band labored on with 1995's Ultraphobic and Belly To Belly in 1996. Like Dokken did on such albums as Dysfunctional and Shadowlife, they experimented with more modern grunge influenced music which made their music a bit more interesting but still failed to catch on. Five years passed without much activity from the band before coming back with Under The Influence in 2001, their first album in 6 years and consisted of mostly cover tunes with a couple of new tracks. Ongoing troubles with lead vocalist Jani Lane lead to his departure just a few months back and he was replaced by former Black 'N Blue front man Jamie St. James. They are currently in the studio recording new material. This new release, Then and Now is a collection of tracks from the albums Ultraphobic, Belly To Belly and Warrant 86-97 Live which were all released through CMC International which is now owned by Sanctuary Records.

No Warrant best of package would be complete without such tracks as DRFSR, Downboys, Heaven and Cherry Pie (there are several of them already) but the difference here is that these are live versions recorded at various times with varying sound quality and are marred by sloppy performances. The band's current label, doesn't own the rights to the first three albums and therefore only live versions of tracks from those albums appear on this release. I was never a big fan but I could live with hearing them on the radio so much in the 80's if the trickle down effect helped a lot of other band gets airplay (it did). The live versions of those four aforementioned tracks simply don't live up to the original studio versions.

What about the rest of the album? Well we get a couple of grungy Alice In Chains styled tracks with Family Picnic, Feels Good and AYM that have some good melodies, solid heavy backbeats but are overall just average songs. Indian Giver get an honorable mention as it sees the band exploring the political arena with some Eastern flavors like a sitar guitar for the intro and an abstract heaviness throughout. Stronger Now is a simple song with just 2 acoustic guitars and vocals and has a bit of a folky feel to it. The one real highlight is the live track Machine Gun from the late 80's era. It's probably the only track with any decent energy.

With several other greatest hits collections and best of's already on the market highlighting the classic late 80's era of the band, why do we need this one? I guess with the new label inheriting their releases through CMC International, they felt the need to repackage some of their newer material and release it. I really don't like best of albums that mix in live tracks with studio tracks especially (as is the case here) if the sound quality is vastly different. Any fan of the band would be much better off with one of their other repackaged hits as the collection of newer tracks from the 90's era of the band are very average sounding and sees the band trying to NOT sound like Warrant. They had their moments of glory in the late 80's and early 90's and after that they simply didn't put out anything that was of consistent quality. Media reports that I've read see the band as being very eager and energetic to get some new material out with the new line-up. Let's see if this version of the band can prolong the band's longevity and release something decent. I think with the original line-up, it was all over many years ago.

Killing Songs :
Machine Gun
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Warrant that we have reviewed:
Warrant - Born Again reviewed by Mike and quoted 75 / 100
Warrant - Under The Influence reviewed by Paul and quoted no quote
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