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Saints of the Underground - "Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner" (CD)

Saints of the Underground - "Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner" CD cover image

"Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner" track listing:

1. Dead Man Shoes (2:43)
2. Tomorrow Never Comes (3:15)
3. All In How You Wear It (4:24)
4. Good Times (3:57)
5. Exit (2:44)
6. American Girl (3:45)
7. Signs Of Life (2:58)
8. Bruised (3:39)
9. Moonlight Mile (5:13)
10. Jimmy (3:56)

Reviewed by on January 25, 2009

"Saints of the Underground’s first album may not be a choice for hardcore metal fans, but for those with a fondness for 80’s inspired hard rock and glam metal, it’s a wise purchase."

What happens when members of Ratt, Warrant, and Alice Cooper’s band get together? They combine forces and release an album entitled “Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner.” This unlikely venture called Saints of the Underground is composed of former Warrant vocalist Jani Lane, Ratt bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Bobby Blotzer, and Alice Cooper’s newest guitarist Keri Kelli.

After playing cover tunes together for fun, the group decided to release an album that showcases a couple covers, a few early pieces written by Lane, and a handful of new tracks composed by Lane and Kelli. The result is a well-performed mix of pop and hard rock that shows off each member’s individual talents.

Though Alice Cooper fans may find the resulting “Love The Sin, Hate The Sinner” too light for their tastes, Warrant and early Ratt fans should be pleased with the end product. The new songs are primarily pop tunes with some hard rock instrumentals added to give the songs depth. A perfect example of this is the opening track, “Dead Man Shoes,” which sounds nearly identical to Warrant, with the exception of Kelli’s impressive guitar riff. In fact, Warrant fans will recognize the catchy, bluesy tune “Jimmy” because it was a song the band played live, though never put on an album.

“Good Times” and “Exit” also are pop tunes with a decidedly 80’s sound, though the addition of an acoustic guitar in “Good Times” is a nice touch. “Bruised” offers an early 80’s monster rock ballad sound that brings to mind groups like Europe and White Lion. The one fault with “Bruised” is that because it is played primarily in minor chords, there’s a tendency for the vocals to sound flat.

“Signs Of Life” is perhaps the only track that Alice Cooper fans will embrace. The combination of heavy instrumentals and sleaze rock style mixed with a full, throaty bass make this a highlight. The other high points in the album are the covers of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and the Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile.”

While basically sticking to the original Asian sing song quality of the classic ballad “Moonlight Mile,” Saints of the Underground has managed to cut out the twang in the vocals, and the resulting execution sounds like an early Poison monster ballad. “American Girl” is almost unrecognizable as a Petty song. The steady drumbeat and heavier sound offered by Saints of the Underground make this dated track more modern, and is a big improvement over the original.

The glaringly black moment comes in the chorus of “Tomorrow Never Comes.” The band makes a huge faux pas by repeating the descant from “Pumpin, Blowin,” from the early 80’s satire musical “The Pirate Movie.” Those who are familiar with this farcical comedy will be so distracted by the similarity that they may overlook the rest of an otherwise quality melodic hard rock piece.

“All In How You Wear It” also has diminishing traits in the form of lyrics that verge on ridiculous. It becomes blatantly obvious that more focus was put on rhyming than coming up with smart lyrics. Still, the combination of Mick Mars’ styled southern rock guitar and a killer bass riff make this one grow on you, in spite of its lyrics.

Saints of the Underground’s first album may not be a choice for hardcore metal fans, but for those with a fondness for 80’s inspired hard rock and glam metal, it’s a wise purchase. Warrant fans who favor Jani Lane’s vocals will feel right at home with this album, and many will find themselves impressed by the talents of the upstart Alice Cooper guitarist Keri Kelli.

Highs: Guitar riffs in “Dead Man Shoes” and “Jimmy,” and an inspiring cover of “Moonlight Mile.”

Lows: “The Pirate Movie” inspired chorus in “Tomorrow Never Comes.”

Bottom line: An album geared toward fans of Warrant and other glam metal and hard rock bands.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)