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Warrant - 1996 Belly To Belly Volume 1

ARTIST: Warrant
ALBUM: Belly To Belly Volume 1
SERIAL: 0607686200-2
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Jani Lane - vocals * Erik Turner - guitar * Rick Steier - guitar * Jerry Dixon - bass * Bobby Borg - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 In The End (There's Nothing) * 02 Feels Good * 03 Letter To A Friend * 04 A.Y.M. * 05 Indian Giver * 06 Falling Down * 07 Interlude #1 * 08 Solid * 09 All $ U * 10 Coffee House * 11 Interlude #2 * 12 Vertigo * 13 Room With A View * 14 Nobody Else


One of the highest profile victims of the hard rock implosion of the early 90's was undoubtedly Warrant. It's a topic which has been explored in the 'Dog Eat Dog' review, yet what of the albums that followed? The band seemingly capitulated around 1993 and like so many of their one time compatriots appeared defeated by the grunge onslaught. But as the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them, and when Warrant reappeared in 1995 with 'Ultraphobic' they were the victim of rock music's own version of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers.' The album was a faceless grunge effort which paid homage to Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden, the remnants of Warrant's past totally wiped out. Listen to the title track if in doubt, the riff blatantly ripping off Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' A year later the reconstituted lineup returned for one more attempt at grunge bliss with the oddly titled 'Belly to Belly, Volume 1.' It's even more embarrassing than its predecessor, a once good band relegated to being flat out copyists of a genre which was terrible then and now.

The Songs
There's far too many tracks to digest here and realistically you wouldn't want to. 'In the End ('There's Nothing')' manages to combine The Beatles, Soundgarden and The Screaming Trees to nauseating effect, with that sub-psychedelic sound so many bands had a fetish with (see Dokken 'Shadowlife'). The cliched megaphone vocal effect is heard during Nirvana rip off 'Feels Good' and the boredom of lumbering tracks like 'Letter To A Friend' and 'Falling Down' don't sound unlike the tepid modern rock we continue to hear today. The downtuned riffing of 'Coffee House' again takes Soundgarden comparisons to the brink and 'Solid' is perhaps the worst offender of their grunge mannerisms, the band not even a fraction of their former selves. When you get to closing track and the near reggae of 'Nobody Else' it's almost unlistenable. In fact it is. The whole album is a disaster musically, so devoid of originality, heaviness and melody that it could be conceived as tragic. Anyone who can survive the likes of 'All 4 U' and 'Indian Giver' would have to be iron clad fans of this band. It's a musical abomination.

In Summary
I understand the necessity for Warrant to try and earn a buck during the twilight of their relevance, but they took it too far here. They were already considered a joke by the pathetic journalists of the day, so their obvious conversion to grunge didn't help matters. I remember when this was released and how quickly it sank and with it the band once again. Even worse was the band relabelling themselves 'Warrant 96' as they desperately sought to rid themselves of their past. They couldn't of course and a farcical set of lineup changes plagued the band all the way until Lane left once and for all in 2008 before his untimely death. [word count 486]

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#1 | Eric on January 24 2016 21:24:33
God, the cover artwork is dreadful. I never liked Warrant and always thought them to be 2nd or even 3rd tier. That said, they put out some damn fine singles and 'Cherry Pie' is pop metal genius.

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