About 25 years ago Guns n’ Roses swaggered on to the scene like uninvited guests at the hair metal party. They spilt Jack Daniels on the carpet, shot up in the corner and then went and played the sleaziest, meanest rock ‘n’ roll anyone had ever heard.
Inevitably, G n’ R imploded but still, while most members have disappeared into the musical abyss and Axl Rose pisses off audiences around the world with a band of hired guns, Slash stands tall like a monument to pure, depraved hedonism.
Despite spending most of his career practically wearing a cigarette and having taken enough drugs to make Pete Doherty's eyes pop clean out of his head, Slash is on top form. Two years ago he released his first solo album with the help of an eclectic range of A-list collaborators to rave reviews, his concerts sell out which ever country he’s in, his playing is the tightest it’s ever been and, damn it, at 46 he still looks good.
Now, and before this supposed review turns into a loveletter, he’s released his second solo album and it’s time to take a look at it.
First thing to say is it’s not really a solo album. The last album was akin to Santana’s Supernatural or Tom Jones’ Reload – it was a celebration of him. As such, it was diverse and wide-ranging but he was the only constant. From the off on Apocalyptic Love, Slash gives credit to The Conspirators, a constant backing band headed up by Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy.
It gives the album a more consistent theme and from the moment the overdriven, bluesy riff of title-track Apocalyptic Love kicks in it’s clear this is a rock and roll album.
Through the first few tracks Slash’s early influences, particularly Aerosmith, are clear. Halo, with the subtle octave effect on its main riff, is the first nod to more modern influences like Avenged Sevenfold.
The whole thing is a toe-tapping festival of riffs and the cat in the hat’s trademark singalong solos, except nowadays his playing is quicker and more lavish. Slash is at his best on the album’s stand out track – Anastasia. It opens with some Spanish guitar and, even when the Marshalls get turned up to 11, the classical scales remain and lead into a frantic solo complete with some full-on shredding.
It would be unfair to do this review without mentioning singer Myles Kennedy. His voice has charisma and the way he screeches isn't dissimilar to Bruce Dickinson or, dare I say it, Axl Rose.
Apocalyptic Love is an excellent album. You can imagine it being played in a sleazy LA strip joint – and that’s a compliment. It’s not as accessible as his last and it’s not got as many stand-out songs but Slash’s fans-and in case you hadn’t guessed, I am one- will drink it up like so much Jack Daniels.
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