Ratt and Metallica

Their third albums, Dancing Undercover and Master of Puppets respectively (their 1986 albums), are comparable in terms of being favourably influenced by non-metal music. Dancing Undercover is also comparable to St. Anger in that it was the second and final album to have no ballads (their first albums have no ballads). Robbin Crosby once claimed that Ratt’s self-titled début EP was the real Ratt before they got too posh and polished (the irony being that it was produced by the same guy who wrote Walk like an Egyptian for The Bangles and the theme song for the 21 Jump Street TV series). I can imagine a Metallica fan saying that Kill ’em All showcases the real Metallica before they got too progressive, poetic and passionate (Ratt’s singer described his own vagrant lifestyle as consisting of paychecks, parties and pussies).

Ironically, Kill `em All is their lightest album because the quicker nature of the riffing meant that the guitars had a higher-than-usual tuning so that the music was coherent. It’s their cleanest-sounding record (ditto for Ratt’s powerfully pop Detonator). It’s the only album where you can fully appreciate Cliff Burton as a bassist. Rob’s role in Ratt was comparable to Cliff’s role in Metallica. Bobby Blotzer claimed that Rob was a genius who was the backbone of Ratt’s success. Stephen Pearcy claimed that Rob made Ratt retain their metal identity. As for other comparisons, the rhythm guitarists of both bands wore shirts based on A Clockwork Orange. Both also had less flashy guitar solos.

Elsewhere, James Hetfield and Robbin Crosby were described with royal titles for a reason which wasn’t to do with music. Rob was nicknamed King because his height reflected his maturity, whereas Lonn Friend (a journalist) had described James as a prince in a land of few gentlemen because he played with Lonn’s daughter during the making of the fifth album. Lonn went out of his way to say that James is a kind soul with magnificent character. Lars Ulrich claimed that James is a lot gentler and sweeter in private. Rob once claimed that dogs are better than humans whereas James believes that animals don’t betray their own kind like humans do.

Reach for the Sky was to Ratt what …and Justice for All was to Metallica. Both albums, their fourth, started production with famous producers by the name of Mike, and were released in 1988 (their darkest year of debauchery). Ratt’s producer was Mike Stone, who produced Whitesnake’s blues metal `87 LP (a very big hit) whereas Metallica worked with Mike Clink, who produced the bluesy Appetite for Destruction (also `87) for Guns ‘n’ Roses. Both producers were more suited to the opposite band (Clink for clean-cut rock and Stone for hard-hitting rock). Unfortunately for both bands, the two Mikes weren’t really what they anticipated, resulting in both bands returning to their tried-and-true producers who were seen as the answers to their problems. For Ratt, it was Beau Hill. For Metallica, it was Flemming Rasmussen.

The situations were so difficult that their former producers underwent salvage missions. However, this did not stop the two bands from capitalizing on the commercial appeal of mentioning the bigger names who stepped out of the limelight.  Ironically, both LPs would mark the final time that they would work with their time-tested producers. The amount of material that was written for these `88 offerings was at an all-time high as well. The artwork of both albums (whilst conceptually diametrical) were their most ambitiously reified. They feature epic portrayals of classical-styled female figures (with the lightest skin tones). Their stage shows were certainly larger than before with large recreations of the album covers in different forms. For Ratt, it was displayed on curtains. For Metallica, it was depicted as a statue – sort of like Spinal Tap.

Actually, both bands are the ultimate embodiment of Spinal Tap. With Metallica, their black album is comparable to the cover of the latter’s Smell the Glove. As for Ratt, they are the best example of a metal band who is more of a household name in Japan than they are in America. The fifth albums of Ratt and Metallica are comparable in that they are referred to as their sell-out albums. Both bands sold out in not just being more radio-friendly but in their choice of who was to produce. Ratt being produced by Desmond Child (Detonator) is comparable to Metallica being produced by Bob Rock (Metallica). It’s the Bon Jovi connection!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vI0GjIl.jpg

The making of The Unforgiven for A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica makes me wonder what Juan Croucier filmed in regards to the making of Givin’ Yourself Away. Warren DeMartini’s middle solo is just as soulful as Kirk’s solo. Givin’ Yourself Away is the most supreme example of a song having intro, bridge, versus, chorus and outro solos. In general, I would love to see what home movie footage that Juan has of Ratt (especially the making of the Detonator album). Metallica having a making-of documentary for a home video release is comparable to Ratt, whose video came out first but had considerably way less material although still comparable in that both albums resulted in music videos which were more expensive than what they had shot previously.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Yn4K522.jpg

Both bands are so equally excellent that their first five albums are memorable from start to finish. Every song is a classic (not confusing the meaning of classic with legendary like other people do). People might detest how I attest Ratt to be a metal band that’s worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Metallica, but duly note that a lot of Ratt’s songs were written in minor key. Also, Ratt were self-aware enough to not have songs with rock in the titles.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s