Ho hum… if only for what could have been so much more!
Guitarist Slash (real name Saul Hudson) had a key role in one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll albums of all time – 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, by Guns ‘n’ Roses. Almost a quarter of a decade on and that album STILL stands as one of the best rock albums ever in my eyes. But seriously, talk about peak too early! The Illusion albums were chock full of filler as a double release and really could have been a solid single album. After that, G’n’R became a joke. Slash did Slash’s Snake Pit in the mid ‘90’s and eventually resurfaced again in Velvet Revolver. But not since those seminal Gunners releases has this guitar legend really delivered what he is capable of. So it’s with anticipation that I sit down with the artist’s first true solo effort and the multitude of guests that join him.
Things are off on the right foot with the Cult like Ghost which, by reference, you’d expect would have the one and only Ian Astbury on vocals. The surprise though is the appearance of one time fellow Gunners axeman Izzy Stradlin on the track as well and whilst I don’t like ruining the surprise, but if the rest of the album was like this, then it’d be a winner. Ozzy Osbourne teams up on Crucify the Dead, a mid paced number which really does sit on the fence between good and bad. The album’s biggest surprise though is clearly the infectious Beautiful Dangerous which sees Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie really cut loose and get in touch with her rock ‘n’ roll side. On a side note, I’d like to hear more of her singing like that because she totally delivers!
In a classic example of “peak to early”, that’s it from here on in. A few tracks are decent enough to catch your attention - Back From Cali and to a lesser extent Starlight (both of which feature ex-Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy), the gentle Gotten (featuring Maroon5 vocalist Adam Levine) and the rockin’ instrumental Watch This (featuring Foo Fighter Dave Grohl behind the drums and Gunners/Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan on bass) are clearly the best of the rest. But when put up against the dull likes of Promise (featuring Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell), By The Sword (with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale), I Hold On (with Kid Rock), Nothing To Say (with Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows) and Saint Is A Sinner Too (featuring Rocco Deluca), well, they don’t have to do much to beat off most of this filler. I haven’t even mentioned tracks with Lemmy (Motörhead) or the legendary Iggy Pop (The Stooges) because these icons are clearly not utilised to the best of their abilities.
What should have been so good has turned out to be another middle of the road affair from one of rock ‘n’ roll’s coolest guitarists. With a reasonable roster of guests like this combined with exactly what we know Slash is capable of, the end result is disappointing.
(Sony Music Australia)
More from Slash
- Apocalyptic Love [review]