SAINTS OF THE UNDERGROUND

"Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner" (Warrior Records; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

I donít like Warrant, I never have and I doubt that I ever will. Whew, I am glad to get that off my chest so I can start this review. 

Now I have listened to Warrant and I always thought Jani Lane was a particularly bland vocalist. Yet I never knew if he himself was bland or if it was just the material. Then, when I saw this ďsupergroupĒ of sorts coming out with a release, I decided to give it a shot. 

Joining the Warrant frontman are Ratt members drummer Bobby Blotzer, bassist Robbie Crane and Keri Kelli (of Alice Cooperís band and others). My thoughts before playing this were that Lane was either going to sink it with some lifeless vocals or he was going to rise to a level he had never previously achieved and carry this album with him. Actually itís not 100% either of those choices but, most surprisingly, this album leans toward that second category. 

Like a number of other 80s hard rock singers (Joe LeSte, Jamie St. James) Jani Laneís voice has gotten deeper with age. However, unlike those other guys, it seems to have helped Mr. Lane form some much needed grit in his vocal delivery instead of the syrupy approach he used far in the late 80s / early 90s. In addition to the tone of voice Jani also seems much more comfortable with the material than he did back when he going on about cherry pies and wherever it was that the Down Boys were going to. 

The music on "Love the Sin" is hard rock with some power pop and plain rock undertones and, on several tracks, they remind me of Cheap Trick. I think the fact that the two guys in the rhythm section have played together for about a decade is obvious in the sound and itís a major plus. I also was greatly relieved that they avoided the overdone, sickeningly repetitive choruses that so much defined Warrant. 

Now, the tracks arenít anything new by the stretch of anyoneís imagination, but they are decent and everyone involved sounds comfortable. My initial guess on this project was that it would be a real dud like Contraband (anyone remember them?); however, perhaps itís experience or perhaps itís the fact that they are doing songs they like instead of strictly trying to land a hit single. No matter what the motivation, this is a decent album. 

There are two cover as well: They deliver a solid version of Tom Petty's "American Girl," which is a fine fit for Jani's voice. They also cover the Stones' "Moonlight Mile," but they seem a little more hesitant to put their own brand on it and it's just all right as a result. 

Some of the best tracks were "Exit," "Dead Man's Shoes" and the very Thin Lizzy-esque "Jimmy."

This album doesn't change the history of those involved but, unlike a number of other 80s hard rockers, everyone involved here can claim to have been part of a pretty good album.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/saintsoftheunderground

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Nov 2017 10:28:13 -0500.