Chinese Democracy review by Guns N' Roses

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  • Released: Nov 23, 2008
  • Sound: 2
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 5 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.2 (847 votes)
Guns N' Roses: Chinese Democracy
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Sound — 2
People have said this album took 17 years to make which is false!. Once the original Guns N Roses lineup broke up there was a new direction taken by Axl Rose due to the fact Axl could not find players weather by bad luck or prefference to fill the void of the loss Slash, Duff, Matt and firing of Gilby Clark and Izzy Stradlins departure which seems to ruin this record at every turn to be a true "Guns N' Roses" Record. So all things considered, this specific album was about 10 years in the making from conception to release but in reality if you want to convince yourself this is a real Guns N Roses Record you were probably waiting 17 years however you choose to look at it but the fact remains this was the Album Axl was making since 1997 all previous works with the original were shelved/scrapped. The sound is where this album fails! Axl Rose hired and interviewed many many Guitarists during the writing process of this album and the fact that there wasn't a consistant lineup during the writing process really hurt the cohesivness of the sound this album lacks. Also the fact that many of the guitarists who wrote meterial for this record in the end did not make it on the record to perform their riffs and their solos. Ron Thal is a great technical guitarist who has a lot of chops as a guitarist but unfortunatly he just really does not cut the mustard as far as riff and solo creation on this album! As far as I'm concerned Ron was misused and in no way a fit for this band given the music at hand. Buckethead on the other hand was good fit for the band and would have been a decent lead player but like Ron he also suffers from being able to produce a rhythm that's catchy or any memorable leads like his predecessor Slash. So with that said it's very unfortunate that Buckethead left the band as he was the only bright spot of this album next to Axl's timless vocals. Most of the songs are a mess and have much clutter and it really takes away from the music itself and makes it hard to listen and absorb the first few times through and even if you make it that far you'll still be scratching your head wondering what you've just heard because of how muddy the sound is. One thing that ruins this record is what appears to be the same Guitar "Tapping" runs used in different keys on all of the songs. This was a band that used to be Hard Rock/Blues guitar playing and based off of simple arrangements to achieve the basic sound of the band and all of the balls that came from that sound of past records is now gone and replaced with solos and rhythms that do not speak to the inner soul of most Guns N' Roses fans and what they expect.

Lyrics — 9
The Lyrics are typical Axl Rose... Very blunt and to the point. 15 years after Axl Rose's last recorded Vocal effort on an album (The Spaghetti Incident) Axl Rose delivers his signature voice and shows he still has the talent and the attitude to make a Guns N Roses Record but sadly this effort falls flat on it's face due to the background music which takes away the fact your listening to Axl Rose and supposedly a "Guns N Roses" record. My Opinion of the Vocal blending with the background music is that of a very textured and layered mess except on the song "There Was A Time" in which it is probably the best song on the album due to there being some consistency of a theme and catchy chorus. The whole theme of this record seems to be Axl being great but the backing music and "Hired Guns" in general just not providing the support Axl needed for this album to be great.

Overall Impression — 4
In all fairness to Axl Rose and this album, It simply was never going to live up to the hype created after many years and false starts and release dates. What I hate about this album is probably what most Guns N Roses fans in general hate about it and is probably why this record is dropping off the charts like it is, which is what I feel is due to... #1. Not "Guns N Roses" as hard core fans know it. #2. No Cohesion in the Lyrics and music #3. No Cohesion in Guitarists and Song content in general. #4. it's Just Axl Rose and hired hands who don't have the first clue what Guns N Roses brand of Rock N Roll is about. #5. lack of any memorable meterial. Bright spots of the CD include... Axl Rose's vocals and writing and openess to new and complex sounds. He really shows he still has it and should for many years to come! The song "There Was A Time" which has elements of the old GNR that Axl's hired Guns attempted to rip from Slash and the rest of the old band along with Bucketheads touch on the outro which was done tastefull to the Guns N Roses memory but sadly there wasn't enough of it to salvage the album for most Guns fans. In short if you are looking to listen to a Guns N Roses record then listen to Velvet Revolver or 1985-1995 Guns N Roses. If you are looking to hear an Axl Rose solo effort then be my guest and take a listen. I believe after all the effort put into this album it is at least worth a listen but at the end of the day there is nothing that's going to ever make you want to put it back into your CD player. With that said download "There Was A Time" on itunes or your favorite peer to peer program and forget about the rest of the album.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Axl_Explosion
    I'm sure it's been covered before, but am I the only person who seems to notice the GIANT contradiction to all the "oh, it sounds nothing like old GN'R," which is that...well...neither did the UYI albums. If you go from Appetite to UYI, it's a TOTALLY different direction...yet nobody seems to want to bash those albums. No, it's all these hive-minded idiots who see people bashing Axl Rose because he won't change the name of the band that he came up with...yeah, him and Tracii Guns came up with it...before Slash and Duff and Adler were even a thought. Nobody bashes Megadeth for swapping members or Dave Mustaine for refusing to play a show where a band he didn't agree with, because apparently he's Christian now, was playing. Yet, Axl Rose refuses to change the name of his band and all of a sudden, he's the anti-christ. Nobody seems to bash Metallica for not quitting after, RIP, Cliff Burton died and they replaced him, and then replaced Jason Newsted later on. The truth is the TRUE Guns fans can look past the fact that there are some new faces, but the man who made it all happen is still alive, and still kicking ass. AXL wrote Welcome to the Jungle about his experiences, AXL wrote Sweet Child of Mine for his girlfriend, AXL wrote Don't Cry, Axl is the only member who has been Guns N' Roses since they were ****ing Guns N' Roses, not LA Guns and Hollywood Rose and Road Crew (where Slash and Duff came from, for all the uneducated idiots who think they know everything). So why don't you people pull your head out of the Axl-hater in front of you's ass and make give this great album the chance it deserves, and then you'll realize that it is a great album, right up to par with Appetite and UYI, and it is just another side of Axl Rose's musical abilities, with just as strong of a band behind him as the original Guns was.
    dgme92
    harpcicle wrote: dgme92 is such a fanboy review. total rubbish. and as for the cd itself, this isn't G'nR so no comment
    I'm sorry burst your bubble, but reviews are based entirely on opinion. You don't like my review, but I'm sure some do. Get over it, I love the album, I rated it highly. Move on with your life.
    alex g 38
    tim western wrote: Shackler's Revenge and If the World were 2 of my favourite tracks :S And this album is fantastic.
    I agree, well at least with if the world, but not with shacklers revenge. i think If the World is an awesome track, sure it's diferent, but thats what makes it so good. in my opinion anyway
    JamesxHetfield
    Im sick of people shitting on Guns. Im a diehard fan of them, and love the original line up. Axl couldn't have done a better record. No one should have even thought that it was going to sound like classic Guns. There are different members who dont write the same as the old Guns did. You have to listen to it for Axl, not the other elements that made up there sound before (Axl killer vox, Izzy grat rhythms, Slash's amazing leads, Duff sweet bass, and the awesome beats Matt and Steven came up with) This is Axl's thing and Axl's band now. Its not going to be the same. And i really enjoyed it. I loved every track with the exception of Shackler's Revenge. So everyone would stop bitching. and calling someone a fanboy for rating the album good is retarded. Harpcicle can suck my cock, by the way
    themtalisgood
    Theres no doubt that it is Axl Roses falt that GNR are a dying band. But I understand, he had a very ordanay childhood and I guess that had an effect on the relationship of the band. But i heard that Axl is paying the drummer less money because he thinks drums arnt as important. Chinese Democracy is ok, at least they maintained the feel of classic Guns N Roses, And saying that this album was too dfferent dosnt make sence. All the GNR Albums are different. Good luck to them history is against them.
    fretman5000
    I personally think this album is shit compared to original GN'R. Its just not the same and guns will never sound how they did ever again. Theyve lost me as a fan.