Ratt and Metallica

If Metallica could be compared to Ratt, it would be that Kill ’em All is like Out of the Cellar because there are no ballads. Dancing Undercover is comparable to Master of Puppets in terms of being influenced by non-metal music. It’s also comparable to St. Anger in that it was the only other album to have no ballads. Robbin once said the self-titled début EP of Ratt was the real Ratt before they got too polished (the irony being that it was produced by the same guy who wrote Walk like an Egyptian for The Bangles and the 21 Jump Street theme).

I can imagine a Metallica fan saying that Kill ’em All showcases the real Metallica before they got too progressive and passionate. It’s the only album where you can fully appreciate Cliff as a bassist. Ironically, Kill ’em All is their most polished album because the incredibly quick nature of the guitaring meant that the guitars had to have a higher-than-usual tuning so that the music was coherent. It’s their cleanest-sounding record (ditto for Ratt’s powerfully pop Detonator).

Robbin Crosby’s role in Ratt was comparable to Cliff’s role in Metallica. Bobby Blotzer claimed that Robbin was a genius who was the backbone of Ratt’s success. Stephen Pearcy claimed that Robbin made Ratt retain their metal identity. As for other comparisons, both rhythm guitarists wore shirts based on A Clockwork Orange. Elsewhere, James and Robbin were described with royal titles for a reason which wasn’t to do with music. Robbin was nicknamed King because his height reflected his maturity, whereas Lonn Friend (a journalist) described James as a kind soul with magnificent character who is a prince in a land of few gentlemen (James played with his daughter during the making of the black album).

Reach for the Sky was to Ratt what and Justice for All was to Metallica (their fourth album). Both albums originally started production with famous producers by the name of Mike and both albums were released in 1988. Ratt’s producer was Mike Stone, who produced the blues metal self-titled ’87 LP of Whitesnake (which was a very big hit) whereas Metallica worked with Mike Clink, who produced G’N’R’s bluesy Appetite for Destruction (also ’87). 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 difficult enough that, when their former producers were hired, they underwent salvage missions.

However, this did not stop the two metal bands from capitalizing on the commercial appeal of mentioning these big names of whom they collaborated with. Ironically, both LPs would mark the final time that they would work with their time-tested producers.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. The amount of material that was written for Ratt’s and Metallica’s ’88 offerings was at an all-time high as well. Both producers were more suited to the opposite band (Clink for clean-cut rock and Stone for hard-hitting rock).

The artwork of both albums (whilst conceptually being diametrical) were their most ambitiously conceived. They feature an epic portrayal of a classical-style female figure (with a non-human skin tone) within a context that represents the themes of the albums. 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.

Both bands are similar to the ultimate embodiment of Spın̈al Tap. With Metallica, their black album is comparable to 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 making of Metallica’s The Unforgiven makes me wonder what Juan Croucier (of Ratt fame) filmed in regards to the making of Givin’ Yourself Away (which Desmond Child worked on as co-producer as well as a co-writer).

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 an intro, outro and bridge solos. In general, I would love to see what home movie footage that Juan has of Ratt (especially the making of the Detonator album). Both bands are so equally good that their first 5 albums contain memorable songs from start to finish.


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