Appetite for Destruction review by Guns N' Roses

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  • Released: Oct 27, 1987
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (451 votes)
Guns N' Roses: Appetite for Destruction

Sound — 10
Guns N' Roses' sound at this point with the original line-up of Axl, Izzy, Slash, Duff and Steven was and still is unlike any other band's. Whilst they hailed from LA, the home of dated, over the top glam rock at the time, GN'R were doing something very different, despite being sometimes considered part of the glam scene. "Appetite" has a raw, scratchy, loose sound to it. Izzy's sparse and funky rhythm guitar is panned to the left, whilst Slash's slithering, intricate les paul is panned to the right. Both guitars play almost completely different things to the other, creating a raw, sloppy, but perfectly executed lead/rhythm guitar duo, similar to that of Joe Perry/Brad Whitford and Thin Lizzy's sound. Duff's trebly thudding bass fits perfectly with Steven Adler's splashy, high energy drumming, creating an unusually swinging and groovy rhythm section. Meanwhile, Axl's manically screeches and soars over the music, perfectly complimenting the band's sound. It perfectly captures the band, and I feel is one of the best produced rock albums of all time. Guns at this point had all the musicianship and swagger of Zeppelin, AC/DC and Aerosmith, but the attitude of the Sex Pistols. In my eyes, this was the only truly good Guns N' Roses album, and also one of the best albums ever made.

Lyrics — 10
Axl's lyrics on the album are brilliant, especially considering his age and the fact it's a debut album. Highlights include "Paradise City", the timeless chorus and the lyrically genius verses, the poetic "Sweet Child O' Mine", and the anthemic "Welcome To The Jungle". However, my favourite lyrics mainly come from songs such as "It's So Easy", just because they perfectly reflect GN'R's attitude. "Mr. Brownstone" (primarily penned by Izzy) is also fantastically well written. The only songs I question for their lyrics are "Think About You" (seems like needless mush) and, whilst being a cool song, "Anything Goes", because it seems to lack the depth of the others.

Overall Impression — 10
01. "Welcome To The Jungle" - Starts with the piercing stutter of Slash's guitar. After the build up of the helter skelter riff and Axl's howl, the song burst's into the main riff and is off. The song has quite a complex, but perfectly flowing arrangement, with a rumbling, ominous breakdown and a brutal end. 02. "It's So Easy" - The song on the album which is the most badass. The intro consists of some lonely bass hammer-ons from Duff, before cranking into a relentless song about the perks of being a rockstar in Hollywood. Axl's low, swaggering growl over the scratchy, bludgeoning chord progressions eventually morphs into his usual pained screech, as the song ends with a cool descending riff. Menacing, but very cool. 03. "Nightrain" - A great song. Starts with some signature Adler cowbell/open high hat combo and a catchy little guitar melody. A very happy rock song to begin with. Eventually it becomes a bluesy, swaggering stomp, before exploding into a 3 chord catchy chorus, in which Axl screams about the joys of the band's favourite cheap wine. The song fades out with Slash playing a typically careless, but still fantastic solo. 04. "Out Ta' Get Me" - Starts off with a typical GN'R riff, which is the main basis of the song. Axl's lyrics are great, because you can sense his anger and hatred. This is GN'R showing they're Sex Pistols-esque punky side, with Duff and Steven relentlessly swinging throughout. 05. "Mr. Brownstone" - A percussive intro of tom-toms and muted guitar scratching before tearing into a bluesy riff, courtesy of Izzy. The song is funky and groovy throughout, with Axl calmly crooning about "mr. Brownstone" (heroin of course). A very Aerosmith-y song, with funky riffs throughout. 06. "Paradise City" - Perfectly represents GN'R. It starts with Slash's jangling guitar and Steven's memorable drum intro. The song's chorus is in the same vein as "SCOM", catchy, optimistic and anthemic, whilst the verses feature one of the dirtiest rock n' roll riffs ever, combined with Axl rapping about the struggles of city life. After a few verses and chorus' and a nice little bridge, with a massive Adler fill, the band launches into an uncontrollable coda, featuring Slash shredding up a bluesy storm, Axl wailing frantically and the rhythm section of Izzy, Duff and Steven thrashing through a whirlwind of 3 chords. Sick! 07. "My Michelle" - Heavy as hell, and justifying why GN'R were sometimes considered Metal. An intro and riff that would put Black Sabbath to shame, Axl tells the story (in no uncertain terms) of a girl who's out of control. The verses are incredibly cool and heavy, but as soon as I heard the chorus, the sudden change of key and mood... I thought it was weird... Catchy, and it does fit.. But still a little weird. 08. "Think About You" - Rarely listen to this song. Not sure why it was included on the album. Boring chord progressions at 100 miles an hour with lackluster lyrics about a girl. Even Adler's cowbell wasn't enough to save it. The only song on the album I don't like. 09. "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Just when you think it might have started to lose it's way, the album comes back with "SCOM", an amazing song, both in musicality, arrangements, lyrics, and just the fact it's damn good. I can kind of see why Slash had a problem with it to begin with. Until the solo, it doesn't seem like the bada-s GN'R we've heard up 'til now. It's overplayed and sadly nowadays falls in the same category as "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" and "Sweet Home Alabama", the whole Classic Rock ballad thing, but despite any of that, it's an amazing, timeless song. 10. "You're Crazy" - another "Out Ta' Get Me". I feel it's sometimes overlooked, and people often favour the version on "Lies", but I actually love this song. It's frantic rock n' roll with a badass grooving chorus, and cool interplay between the guitars. It's a mesh of riffs, screaming vocals and relentless rhythm. In my eyes, perfect GN'R? It also nicely returns to the misogyny of "It's So Easy", after 2 tracks of mushy love. 11. "Anything Goes" - This song is about rubbery, sleazy 80's pre-Aids scare sex, and that's exactly what it sounds like, with the weirding building intro, the sleazy, riffs and squeaking percussive instruments in the background, and the bass bouncing throughout. The lyrics lack depth, but it's still cool. I love the incorporation of Slash's Talkbox at the end. A fun song! 12. "Rocket Queen" - The band end on a true high. Not considered a classic among lesser fans, who love GN'R for "SCOM" and "Paradise City", but it's definitely up there with the hits in my eyes. In the first half, we witness another badass riff, over Adler's bouncy disco beat, with Axl venomously warning people of himself (or someone called Barbi Von Grief I think). Izzy plays Rolling Stones-esque blues licks over Slash's distorted power chords, with Duff and Steven chugging away in the middle, classic GN'R sound. The chorus is catchy and the sliding guitar and genuine sex noises in the bridge make for a cool listen. What's most notable is the second half. With a build-up, it turns into a melodic, slamming rock ballad. It's cool, and not as slushy as "SCOM" or "Think About You". It's a good way to end the album. No one could argue with GN'R being sensitive, because at the same time, they were the most dangerous band in the world at the time. A timeless album from Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven, and could never be recreated (unless there was a reunion). It dwarfs everything each member of the band does now. Velvet Revolver, NEW GN'R, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Izzy and The Ju Ju Hounds, and Adler's Appetite... They're all well and good, but I think they all no, nothing will compare to what they each did with "Appetite". Yes, if this album got stolen, I'd buy it again.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My favorites: Welcome to the Jungle, Rocket Queen, Mr. Brownstone and It's So Easy. Welcome to the Jungle and Rocket Queen are also very cool songs to play on guitar. I like to play them every day.
    audiopainpdd wrote: ok gnr is not heavy metal. they r rock n roll. and axl does not have a heavy metal voice. he has a rock voice. thats y he fits the band. and metallica is not something to recommend to someone who loves this music. GNR is my 2nd fav. band and i hate metallica. lars ulrichs drum beats on the earlier songs couldnt be any worse then they r. kirk hammett has a wanna be eddie van halen sound like almost everyone except he plays with a heavier sound. thats y slash is so special as a guitarist cuz he is not like evreyone else with his style. and think about you is not a mushy song. its a good song. anything goes is the mushy song of that album which wasnt even supposed to be on that album. it was supposed to be replaced by you could be mine
    I would say that the style is hard rock/heavy metal/glam metal (which pretty much means hard rock). And I can't hear any EVH in Kirk's playing. I agree with you when you talk about Slash. I like his funky bluesy groovy rockin' style. Chill style, not some shredding. And I would say that if you like Metallica you may like this. They are both classic rock bands. It's everybody's own opinion which songs or bands they like and hate.