Saints Of The Underground – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner (2008)

Saints Of The Undergrond – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner (2008, Warrior Records)

  1. Dead Man Shoes
  2. Tomorrow Never Comes
  3. All In How You Wear It
  4. Good Times
  5. Exit
  6. American Girl
  7. Signs Of Life
  8. Bruised
  9. Moonlight Mile
  10. Jimmy

Band Lineup:
Jani Lane – Lead Vocals
Bobby Blotzer – Drums
Keri Kelli – Guitars
Robbie Crane – Bass

Additional Musicians:
Chuck Wright – Bass
Rick Flores – Keyboards

Produced by: Bobby Blotzer, Keri Kelli, & Jani Lane

Total Time = 36:40

Saints Of The Underground MySpace page
Warrior Records

Sometime back in 2005, I read an article online that reported that this “supergroup” had begun preliminary work on a record. First thing I remember coming to mind was: “Is this a supergroup?”. You’ve got two big names in Warrant frontman Jani Lane and Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer but would the average Hard Rock fan even know who guitarist Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper’s band) and bassist Robbie Crane (ex-Vince Neil, current Ratt) are? Even if this was the late ’80s/early ’90s, I’m not sure this would be considered a “supergroup”. Immeadiate comparisons to the ill-fated 1992 Contraband project come to mind, especially since Blotzer was involved in that one too. The other thought was when would Jani Lane’s personal demons force the project to implode and be abandoned? I’ll admit that when I put this CD in the stereo I really wasn’t expecting all that much. Turns out that this project is pretty good.

Opening track ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ is a solid Hard Rock tune with a great gritty vocal by Jani Lane and a melodic hook that really gets the album off to a rockin’ start. The song goes back to Bobby Blotzer’s 2002 project, Twenty 4 Seven, with John Corabi & Robert Marcello. ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ keeps up the pace with another solid vocal by Jani and some cool guitar from Keri Kelli. I’ve never really heard much work from Kelli but what I’ve heard two songs in was pretty good and he also shines on ‘All In How You Wear It’. The opening riff from Kelli sounds very Guns ‘N Roses and it gives the song a sleazy feel when added to Lane’s dirty vocals. It’s easy to notice that Mr. Lane’s voice seems to have gotten lower as he’s aged, making him sound stronger and harder than his glory days in Warrant.

‘Good Times’ is the second song taken from Blotzer’s Twenty 4 Seven project and continues with the melodic Hard Rock while ‘Exit’ is a little lighter and more Pop-oriented. I’m not sure why the band decided to cover Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’…..lack of original material maybe? It’s a good straight on version of the song but, with two Blotzer songs already recycled, wouldn’t original material be better served? One thing I noticed is that the drumming is a little heavier by Blotzer here than on the original but the song as a whole is still spot on. ‘Signs of Life’ continues the pure Hard Rock with a heavy mid-paced groove that, along with Lane’s vocal, sounds similar to Warrant circa the DOG EAT DOG/ULTRAPHOBIC/BELLY TO BELLY (1992/95/96) era.

‘Bruised’ is probably the heaviest song on the record with the Blotzer/Crane rhythm tandem in top form and Keri Kelli laying a solid guitar foundation for Lane to sing over. I still can’t get over Lane’s performance, absolutely much better than expected. Cover #2 (or #4 if you count the two Twenty 4 Seven songs) is of the Rolling Stones track ‘Moonlight Mile’. It’s decent, I like the acoustic guitar but I’ll stick with the original by Mick, Keith, & the boys. Last song is ‘Jimmy’, an interesting song that sounds like a Thin Lizzy tune. A little research finds that ‘Jimmy’ is a Lane penned number from back in the beginning days of Warrant and now it finally sees a proper release on the Saints album. This is probably my favorite of the album with it’s ’70s groove and the best melodic guitar of the record/

Bottom Line:
I’m pleasantly surprised. Like I mentioned earlier, I expected this to be a disjointed fiasco based on what was going on with Jani Lane’s addivtive life but this album has Lane and company fully focused on bringing some decent Hard Rock to the fans. Jani Lane puts in a really solid performance with his vocal work and Keri Kelli puts some solid leads and solos down. The Blotzer/Crane tandem is solid after 10 years together in Ratt so they keep everything together nicely. My only disappointment is the covers and retreads: I’d have rather had fresh material than two cover songs and the recycling of an old Warrant song and re-recording of two Bobby Blotzer songs (from another project) makes things a little disjointed. The music is fresh to most ears but diehard fans will recognize the songs and may ask if this was a real band collaboration or just a quick one-off for a check. Still a solid album and one of the good surprises this year.

Favorite songs: ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’, ‘Jimmy’, ‘Bruised’, ‘Good Times’, ‘All In How You Wear It’

 

CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up a third time!

All the CDs that I have bought online have finally arrived so I can finally put up a much delayed Hunt! One CD that I won on Ebay March 24th finally arrived just this week! I also went to the record store Tuesday for a couple of new releases that escaped me…..

Saints Of The Underground – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner (2008) – $10: I had to go buy this because I wanted to hear if this project would be like the Contraband supergroup back in 1991. I also wanted to hear if this was going to be a train wreck because Jani Lane’s reputation over the last few years has been less than stellar. I’ve given this album a few spins this week and so far it’s a decent listen. I’m hoping for a more critical review soon.

Asia – Phoenix (2008) – $13: After reading all the mixed reviews online, I decided to wait a week to buy it and come to my own conclusion. The local shop had at least 10 copies and Best Buy down the street was also well stocked, so the promotion has gone well for a week. People can actually get the album. I paid a few dollars more by purchasing at my local shop rather than Best Buy because I always support local record stores. Haven’t given this a spin but a review will happen when I do.

Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad (2008) – $10: I pre-ordered this CD through Amazon about 3 weeks ago and it came Wednesday, one day after release. When I went to the local record store, there were dozens of copies available with promotional posters all over the store. The promotional blitz is there, just like the new Asia, so the album is available. I’ve been spending a lot of time with this album and I like it…..that’s my quick review, a real review to follow soon.

Y&T – Musically Incorrect (1995) – $10.51: There is a current reissue just released by the band called INCORRECT SPECIES (2008) that is a special 2 disc set of this album and ENDANGERED SPECIES (1997). The label this was released on (DeRock) went out of business a long time ago so the reissue from the band is long overdue. I always prefer the original releases and I passed on this when it first came out. Haven’t seen it in the used bins lately so Ebay was the place. This transaction was a major saga: the seller was within 50 miles of me but there was some confusion with the payment instructions. A dispute was filed with Ebay by the seller but my check was deposited…..I could go on and on but the bottom line is that is took a month for me to get my CD from a seller that lives about an hour away!

Y&T – Endangered Species (1997) - $8: Another Ebay purchase to complete some of my Y&T collection. Like I mentioned above, the new reissue of this album with MUSICALLY INCORRECT (1995), titled INCORRECT SPECIES (2008), was a major reason I had to buy this right away. I prefer the original issue and I used to see this in bargain bins everywhere. Unfortunately, the supply has dried up even on Ebay. This auction came a week after four other auction for this CD completed all over $10. I ended up being the only bidder at $3 but the shipping was $5…..highway robbery! Still it cost less than buying it new when it came out and the CD was mint.

UFO – The Best OF UFO ’74-’83 (2008) – $11.26: Another UFO compilation? Yes but this time a lot of the versions of songs are the 7″ single edits rather than the proper album tracks. This was released last week but I passed on it at the record store, especially at the $15 sale price! So I bought this based on the remastering and the 7″ single versions AND that this CD is from a seller that I do a lot of business with on Ebay so I knew the CD would be mint when I got it.

Supergroup Metal Mixtape – 4/23/08

Saints Of The Underground (featuring Jani Lane, Bobby Blotzer, Keri Kelli, & Robbie Crane) released their debut album, LOVE THE SIN, HATE THE SINNER, this week and they are being hailed as a “supergroup”.

Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer was involved in a similar “supergroup” back in 1991 when he teamed with Michael Schenker, Share Pedersen (Vixen), Richard Black (Shark Island), and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns) for the Contraband project. This installment of Metal Mixtape will celebrate these two projects and all their members by playing one song involving each member…..Bobby Blotzer gets two because he was involved in both! Saints members 1st, Contraband members 2nd…..and, yes, I own all of these albums!

Warrant – ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ (1988): Probably the best Warrant song I’ve ever heard. I hate the band now but back in the mid-’80s they were everywhere and I liked the tunes. ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a great tune, better than ‘Cherry Pie’.

Ratt – ‘Slip Of The Lip’ (1986): I liked DANCING UNDERCOVER but it gets a bad rep for the first single ‘Dance’. This song has a sleazy groove to it and it should have been the first single.

Big Bang Babies – ‘Everybody Needs A Hero’ (1992): Glam, glam, glam! Keri Kelli played guitar in the Big Bang Babies way back when and this is the opening song of their self-titled album. I don’t think I’ve played this whole record in a long time…..maybe it will make the weekend’s playlist.

Vince Neil – ‘Sister Of Pain’ (1993): Robbie Crane played bass on Vince’s two solo albums when he left/was fired from Motley Crue. I liked this single better than ‘You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)’ and the album was the Motley Crue record we all missed out on.

Ratt – ‘Wanted Man’ (1984): Like I said, Blotzer gets two songs and this is the best song from OUT OF THE CELLAR.

MSG – ‘Samurai’ (1982): Michael Schenker is a guitar god despite his demons. His career has been noted more for his odd behaviors and addictions rather then his music. ‘Samurai’ is one smoking track off of ASSAULT ATTACK with Graham Bonnet on vocals.

Vixen – ‘Cryin’ (1988): Single #2 for Vixen off their first album, I like this one better than ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart’.

Shark Island – ‘Paris Calling’ (1989): I thought Shark Island was going to be huge back in the day and LAW OF THE ORDER has been one of those forgotten gems that I pull out once in awhile. ‘Paris Calling’ was the first single off this record.

L.A. Guns – ‘Sex Action’ (1988): Back in the day we used to play the first L.A. Guns album to death! ‘Sex Action’ was a favorite at the parking lot parties we used to have.

Current Playlist

Most of the CDs I’ve been listening to are up for review but I also decided to give a few oldies a spin…..

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007): I am kicking myself for not buying this when it came out in late 2007. If I did, this album would have easily made my Top 15 Albums of 2007. I think I have spun this CD more in the last two weeks than any album I’ve bought since the beginning of the year. It is going to be a staple on my playlist for more than a few weeks.

Testament – The Formation Of Damnation (2008): The label was nice enough to send me a copy to review but I would have been more than happy to buy my own copy. I’ve only had a few spins but I like what I hear so far.

Pharaoh – Be Gone (2008): I’ve been enjoying the latest Pharaoh album for a couple of weeks now and I should have a review soon. BE GONE is released in Europe later this week.

Asia – Phoenix (2008): Bought this today but I only had a quick listen in the car on the way home from the record store. Every year there are controversial albums, this year one of them is Asia’s PHOENIX. I have read a lot of reviews and it’s considered either a return to form or very boring and bland, there has been no middle ground.

Saints Of The Underground – Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner (2008): I heard about this “supergroup” toward the end of 2006 but I really didn’t think it would see the light of day. I picked this up with the Asia album and I gave it a spin while I walked the dog today. I’ll review this soon.

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985): My favorite W.A.S.P. album. I never get tired of it except for maybe ‘Blind In Texas’ because it’s always on VH-1 Classic. ‘Fistful Of Diamonds’ is a great song, so is ‘Widowmaker’…..classic W.A.S.P.!

KISS – Animalize (1984): KISS is my favorite band but I know the songs so well that I don’t bother to listen to them that often. For some reason, I had to hear ‘Get All You Can Take’ so I listened to the whole album rather than skip to the song. ANIMALIZE is a solid KISS record, probably their best until 1992′s REVENGE…..there’s more to the album than ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ but that is still a great tune.

Saxon – Denim And Leather (1981): “Denim and leather, brought us all together”…..no truer words are spoken! Pure NWOBHM and classic Saxon with tracks like ‘Play It Loud’, ‘Princess Of The Night’, the title cut and ‘Never Surrender’. The band still revolves five of the songs here in and out of their current setlist.