The worst thing about committing to writing one of these is that I actually have to listen to these albums and it was a real task this time. It's like volunteering to go into the sewer and then once you are there you realize just how much shit is around you. One album was every bit as bad as I remembered it being and the other was even worse. I swear the second album I am referring to felt like it went on three hours instead of the under 50 minutes that it really lasted. Anyways here are two crown princesses of rotten hard rock. It is..
Poison-Flesh and Blood (1990)
Warrant-Dog eat dog (1992)
This is Warrant's third trip here and they are currently 1-1. This is the beginning of my forth year of writing this column and it's most surprising that this Poison's first trip here. I mean Judas Priest have been here twice and even the mighty Iron Maiden have been here once, but one of the poofiest, lightest, sappiest hair bands of their time are now just getting here for the first time. Well they have waited long enough so let's tear into these heartless mounds of syrupy pulp and see what we have.
Vocals-Poison's Bret Michaels takes on Warrant's Jani Lane. If there was one bright spot to CC Deville era Poison it was Michael's voice and that definitely says something about this band as a unit. Michael's best days were on the debut and like the rest of the band he got worse as he went along. So by this album he was going through the motions to an extent, but he had a few moments where he steps up and does alright. If you look up bland in the dictionary there should be a picture of Jani Lane. I don't care if it's young skinny Jani Lani or old, fat bloated, drunken Jani Lane. Either way he still had the presence of a wet sponge and that's comes across on this recording. I hear his hollow voice come on and I immediately think "blech". That should say it all.
Point to Poison
Guitars-CC Deville is on for Poison and he goes against the Warrant pair of Joey Allen and Erik Turner. Now my usual comment would be to say that Deville might already be outmatched by it being a 2-1 scenario. Then again Deville's musical skills may be outmatched by a ten year old plucking on a rubber band, but it's the Warrant duo he has worry about this time. This whole Poison album is toned down from what wasn't a very solid foundation to begin with, but the whole guitar tone is barely present. Of course some solid riffing might help, but CC was always known for his hair and being an idiot more than his playing. This performance certainly re-enforces the above statement. The Warrant duo were riding two albums worth of grabage going into this album. While they do not end their streak of being incompetent they do get a solid "D" for effort. There are a few seconds here and there where they try to sound like a hard rock band. They don't succeed, but I hear the effort.
Point to Warrant
Rhythm section-Poison has Rikki Rocket on drums and Bobby Dall on bass going up against drummer Steven Sweet and bassist Dixon. As if the guitarists were not weak enough it's like rhythm sections for many of the hair bands of the days were all the same which is to say the drums are routine and boring while the bass is almost nonexistent. Both these sets certainly fit that mold. The rhythm sections for both bands just stand back and add nothing. The drums are soft and the bass might even be weaker for both bands. Neither set helped themselves, their band or their albumas. I guess they saved wear and tear on their instruments by doing next to nothing though.
Originality/production-By this point Poison were becoming more watered down than ever. I guess they still sounded like themselves for whatever that's worth, but they seemed to be laying back even more. Warrant never did much to create any sound that was worth hearing by anyone with any taste whatsoever. This time around they were trying to heavy up their sound and image. You can tell because they all wore black and put on their serious faces. Heck, I think some of them even crosses their arms or put their hands on their hips in the band picture to really show they meant business. The sound here is in places an attempt to be heavier and I guess get beyond where they were. I suspect the motivation had a lot to do with the fact grunge's increasing popularity so the band and their label likely thought tryiong to be heavier may help. It didn't. The production on Poison sounds like layers of gloss have been tossed on everything like too much bubble wrap trying to protect something fragile. The production on Warrant is adequate. They wanted this album to be more of a hard rock album so it's slightly crunchier. There isn't much there to push to the forefront, but the attempt is there and the production is consistant.
Who rocks more?
Maybe being able to rock is a relative term in that to rock you need to be able to play your instruments. That kind of lowers the chances that these bands could rock. Stinking less than the other band should win you a category if the stench is so bad to take. Thus I do something I have never done and award two ties in one match-up. I hate to, but after listening to these discs (twice no less) I feel it's the right thing to do.
So Warrant take it 2-1-2 in a match-up that ripped at my eardrums and sucked at my soul as I trudged through these two containers of mess. In my opinion both bands played parts in bringing about the end of hard rock becuase neither presented enough real talent to have any real staying power. However in some ways it may have been to have that time in the early 90's as to some extent it served as a musical enima that cleared out a lot of the shit. Unfortunately many fans of those bands now have more money so these hair bands keep coming back every summer to tour and get money from 35 plus year old people who wish it was still 1990.***Be back with another one next week and it may even be done with a guest co-writer.
Labels: Lesser of two evils, Poison, Warrant