Sound — 9
We all know and love Slash. This is the guy behind the riffs from "Paradise City" and "Welcome To The Jungle". This is the guy from the "November Rain" video soloing in the desert. He's become almost a trademark in and of himself with his long hair obscuring his face under his top hat. There are very few guitarists who can say they haven't played a few riffs, solos or licks made famous by Slash. From the streets of Los Angeles, Slash and his bandmates in Guns N Roses became celebrity bad boys and arena rock superstars basically overnight. At the time, they were just what rock music needed a solid kick in the butt. The music scene was becoming more and more polished with the artists at the time wearing makeup and having elaborate hairdos. Guns N Roses looked rough, and they were passionate and their songs rocked. From the very beginning Axl and Slash stood out as the dominant personalities in the band and it was only a matter of time till the band blew up, but while it lasted it was intense and vital. Of course, Guns N Roses did implode with all kinds of inner strife, drug binges, rehab, and out of control egos. Fast forward to the present and while Axl is continuing on with new members as Guns N Roses, we have Slash creating some pretty solid music which is pretty remarkable when you think that this guy's career should have peaked like 20 years ago. After the "demise" of Guns N Roses, Slash attempted a band called Slash's Snakepit which was met with mostly a negative reaction from fans and critics. After this, Slash regrouped and formed Velvet Revolver, which released its first album, "Contraband", in 2004. "Libertad" followed in 2007, but then there were issues again with an egoistical vocalist namely Scott Weiland. After this Velvet Revolver was kind of put on hold as they attempt to find a new vocalist. In the meantime, Slash began his solo career and released his first album, which was self-titled, in 2010. He had numerous guest vocalists everyone from Lemmy, Ozzy, Fergie and Myles Kennedy (among others). The album was a success and received generally favorable reviews. The first single from the album, "By The Sword", stomped ass with a steam punk meets Mad Max music video. Since then, Slash has been busy touring, writing and recording and his second release, "Apocalyptic Love", is finally releasing. This time around Slash is sticking to a single vocalist Myles Kennedy which gives "Apocalyptic Love" a much more cohesive feel than his previous release. Slash has said that "Apocalyptic Love" is much more of a collaboration with Myles Kennedy than another solo album. As to the sound of the album, what can I say? This is heavy blues based rock, which is what we've come to expect from Slash, with a few minor detours. The solos are awesome; his guitar tone is the epic Marshall crunch tone that no one can seem to reproduce. Most of the songs are very riff-oriented and you will find yourself tapping your foot or nodding your head to the music. While I don't think any of the songs are as memorable as the songs off of "Appetite For Destruction", I think a large part of this is just that the music climate/industry is so different now and the timing of the release of "Appetite For Destruction" was like the perfect storm. Don't take any statement I've made as detraction from "Apocalyptic Love", because this album is absolutely solid.
Lyrics — 9
Myles Kennedy initially worked with Slash on his self-titled album and then spent a lot of time on tour with Slash for that album, and when Slash sat down to record his second album he had worked up a good working relationship with Myles and so he provided all the vocals on this album, as well as playing rhythm guitar. Myles isn't your average rock vocalist as in his voice is unique and is recognizable. I mean, this is the guy who almost replaced Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin he can sing. Myles was in a few small bands but eventually was lead guitarist and vocalist for a band he formed with friends called The Mayfield Four, which released two albums. After that he sent in an audition tape for (or was asked to audition, accounts vary) Velvet Revolver but never showed up for the physical audition. After this he joined Alter Bridge where he really made his name. After almost becoming the new vocalist for Led Zeppelin and recording with Slash, that brings us up to present. His vocal delivery is passionate and precise he really is just an awesome blues rock vocalist and maybe the best to come out since the 70's. They lyrics on the album fit the music and genre, and I believe they were mostly if not completely written by Myles Kennedy. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the title track, "Apocalyptic Love": "I got a real bad feeling/ They'll be nothing to say/ Whole world's going crazy/ know the end is on the way/ but we've got one hot minute/ to do anything you like/ to do anything you like/ This is the last time oh oh/ don't care how we do it/ just as long as we can love under the same sky/ all we got is tonight/ I wanna feel you fallin' all up my thigh/ Apocalyptic love/ I wanna ride until we die/ until the last night's faded/ I just wanna see you smile/ I just wanna see you smile/ as I go downtown". Nothing more blues rock than that. Really, listening to the album and the previous lyrics being a random sample, I would say the lyrics from "Apocalyptic Love" are some of the most mediocre lyrics from the album. There are some really inspired lyrics in places and the vocal delivery is amazing throughout.
Overall Impression — 9
When the song "Anastasia" started for the first time I swear my ears perked up. When the acoustic intro was over and the little classical shred passage on electric guitar started I think my mouth was watering. Somehow I don't think I've heard neo-classical mixed with blues based rock since that Ralph Macchio movie "Crossroads" back in the day. Right now, my absolute favorite track on the album is "Anastasia". I'm also really digging "Halo" and "Not For Me". Of course, the single "You're A Lie" isn't bad either, but it isn't my favorite. I think with Slash's previous self-titled album he was maybe cleaning out some old ideas (which were still awesome) but with "Apocalyptic Love" we're getting much more current ideas from him. "Bad Rain" is also a solid track, and has possibly the most memorable solo on the album. There are 13 tracks on the album with a total run time of just over 54 minutes. There is a deluxe edition with two more tracks that bumps the album to just over an hour. I'm several listens in to the album at this point and the songs are only growing on me even more as I go. Slash is one of those musicians who don't ever seem to get the attention they deserve, regardless of the fact that his image is universally recognized. I'm really glad we got this second solo release from Slash and hope to see a third. They just seem to get better with each release so far. I grew up with Guns N Roses and it profoundly affected me when they broke up. Since then I've followed Slash pretty closely and in the past years have begun to become excited with what he is doing once again and I hope he keeps it up.