Sound — 9
By now, everyone knows who Slash is. Over the past 20 years, the image of Slash wearing that top hat, long black hair adorning his face, with eyes obscured by black sunglasses, playing a Gibson Les Paul, has become synonymous with rock music itself. In fact, it might be the defining image of rock today. After his GNR-meets-Scott Weiland supergroup Velvet Revolver sacked Weiland in 2008, the group attempted to find a new singer. After a couple of years searching, Slash decided to embark on a solo career to keep himself busy. His first solo disc, 2010's self-titled album, featured a diverse roster of singers including Fergie, Adam Levine, Lemmy, M. Shadows, and Ozzy Osbourne. However, one singer made such a lasting impression on Slash that he decided to work with that singer again. That singer of course, is Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. The pair collaborated on "Back From Cali" & "Starlight" on Slash's solo disc, and eventually Kennedy agreed to tour as Slash's singer. Kennedy and Slash developed such a good relationship on tour, that Slash asked Myles Kennedy to sing all the vocals on his next solo album. Slash also brought in bassist/vocalist Todd "Damnit" Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz from his touring band to play on his new album "Apocalyptic Love". Slash then formed his new group, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Second guitarist Frank Sidoris joined after "Apocalyptic Love" was recorded) "Apocalyptic Love" was released on May 22. The record itself is one of the best Slash has ever produced, whether solo or as a member of a group. If you listen carefully, you could notice that "One Last Thrill" sounds like a re-write of "Dr. Alibi" from Slash's first solo disc, or that "Anastasia" contains a riff that's slightly similar to "Paradise City" or that "No More Heroes" bears a tiny resemblance to "Sweet Child O' Mine". The point is, it really doesn't matter. After the career Slash has put together, he should be allowed to rip himself off from time to time. Even with these little quirks, "Apocalyptic Love" still rips modern rock a new one. It's clear that Slash is having lots of fun with Kennedy & The Conspirators, as his soloing is some of the most inspired he has ever played. The rhythms feel more loose and free, the riffs reach back to 1988, and the album has an overall feel of swagger. And unlike most rock albums, you can actually hear the bass. Slash may be re-hashing a little bit, but he also breaks new ground. On album highlight "Anastasia", Slash plays an intro heavily inspired from the live interpretation of the "Godfather Theme" that he does. After that sweet intro though, the song suddenly changes into a swaggering masterpiece. "Far & Away" throws in strings to give it an orchestral feel. Overall, the music on "Apocalyptic Love" kicks a-s, and is made to be played back at ear-splitting volumes.
Lyrics — 9
You may have noticed that I haven't commented on Myles Kennedy's vocals yet. That's because I was trying to think of proper words to describe his performance on "Apocalyptic Love". Before I go any further, I'll admit that I pretty much worship Myles Kennedy, so I'm a bit biased. If you've heard him sing for Alter Bridge, you'll know what to expect. If you haven't heard him sing before, I'll attempt to describe it for you. Myles Kennedy possesses a four-range octave that next to nobody in rock music has right now. His voice sounds like nobody else out there. It's amazing. The main difference from Alter Bridge is that on "Apocalyptic Love", Myles sings in a higher octave for most of the album. His voice fits rock n' roll perfectly. As for the lyrics he belts out, they're not always spectacular, but they're mostly pretty good. Unlike Alter Bridge, where the lyrics are generally darker and more abstract, the lyrics on "Apocalyptic Love" are straight-foward and easy to dechiper. They cover usual rock'n'roll themes like drugs, sex, love, the end of the world, inspirational, blah-blah-blah.
Overall Impression — 9
In short, "Apocalyptic Love" is the best rock album released so far in 2012, and I highly doubt there will be a better one released in 2012. Slash has struck gold with his new band, and at this point I really don't care if Velvet Revolver ever finds a new singer. Myles Kennedy fits Slash perfectly. This record is awesome rock n' roll meant to be played as loud as possible. P.S. I saw these guys live a couple of weeks ago. They kick a-s live, you should really go see them.