Sound — 9
In Slash's debut solo album, he goes all out, using his vast knowledge and musical range to create an album that serves as both a reminder that he is one of the best musicians out in the world today and also shows that he is much more than the rocker that we've associated him to be. Slash is known for his hard riffs and fast but precision solos from his days in Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, but he apparently has been saving some of his writings for this album in particular because it is some of the best guitar work he has ever recorded and rivals that of his recordings in Guns N' Roses. This is an album that ranges from the hard and heavy songs such as Doctor Alibi with Lemme Kilmeister from Motorhead to the very melodic and beautiful recordings such as Gotten with Adam Levine. While others may complain that type of structure where different singers from different genres can ruin an album, it makes this one very unique as it pulls energy off from every song that keeps it from falling into boredom. One of the strongest songs on the record I Hold On with Kid Rock makes this case true. It also showcases Slash's ability to play guitar at many level as he shows that he still produces great guitar riffs such as in Crucify The Dead with Ozzy Osbourne, but also plays precision melody guitar such as in By The Sword with Andrew Stockdale from Wolfmother, even including aspects of thrash and heavy metal in Nothing To Say featuring M Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold. The main pull from this album however is the fact that he uses a singer for each different song from established rockers such as Chris Cornell for Promise to surprising selections such as Fergie for Beautiful Dangerous which is actually one of the better songs on the album. Slash wrote his music for each song for a particular singer in mind with the exception of the instrumental Watch This which features ex-Guns N' Roses and current Velvet Revolver bandmate Duff McKagan and Dave Grohl on drums. This was a very risky move to the fans who have adored Slash for years but he knew who was right for the job and chose wisely as each one performed their singing to excellence, bringing their own style and adding it to each song making it unique. Regardless of who is singing or how the guitar is being played, it still has that signature Slash sound to it but he is also able not to out perform his selection of singers which creates a great balance between those two aspects. The drums are not as showcased as one would believe from a rock album, nor is the bass other than in Promise but provide a good feel to the album. This is however Slash's album, so lead and rhythm guitar are going to be more prominent. Even so, the album sounds great throughout and has a nice balance as well. It's not an album that you can single out particular songs to listen to individually as each one is great but if you were to listen to a few then the best ones in my opinion are listen below. Crucify The Dead with Ozzy Osbourne Beautiful Dangerous with Fergie Promise with Chris Cornell Doctor Alibi with Lemme Kilmeister I Hold On with Kid Rock Nothing To Say with M Shadows
Lyrics — 9
Obviously Slash isn't a singer so he did not develop the lyrics but rather let the vocalist who would sing on their particular song write the lyrics themselves. A very wise move on his part. It's hard to determine what song or rather who the best is lyrically as each recording has individual aspects of each ones personality. Each one can make a case for that, whether it be the established rock singers Ozzy Osbourne or Lemme Kilmeister to the more melodic singers such as Chris Cornell or Adam Levine. The only way that you can truly appreciate the lyrical structure is to understand who the singers are and who they have sung for or about. Basically, the lyrics are varied for each vocalist but they bring their A' game and showcase their own talents to make each song worthy to listen to, both instrumentally and lyrically to understand each songs meaning.
Overall Impression — 9
For years we portrayed Slash as the hard rocker in the top hat, the man we all wanted to be. With the release of his solo album, he know not only shows us that he still rocks twenty plus years after the release of Appetite For Destruction but has also become of the best guitarist to grace the music world. He has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, something some frown upon but others see as a way to show how far his musical tastes go and his first solo album shows that he can work with a wide range of artists and can write music that is appealing to both the rock and roll fan and the pop fan, even if fans of Slash don't like it. The fact here is that you have to be diverse in what you listen to and that is what Slash has seemed to go with here. Regardless of what his intentions were, he has made a great album for himself and his fans and hopefully it will not be the last. I may be a bit biased seeing as Slash is one of my main influences since I play guitar so don't take my review completely serious but try and understand my view on it. That is beside the point though. Whether or not Velvet Revolver returns, I'm sure that we will see another solo album from Slash in the near future and another reason to love his music.