World On Fire review by Slash

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  • Released: Sep 15, 2014
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.6 (70 votes)
Slash: World On Fire
5

Sound — 9
Slash is possibly the most well known guitarist in the world. Despite the endless debates on whether the man in the top hat deserves that title, it is undeniable that he is as recognizable a public figure as anyone in KISS or Nickelback or any of the "commercial" rock bands. Many guitarists know Slash as the guy who has endless amounts of signature gear. With multiple signature Gibson guitars, signature Seymour-Duncan pickups, signature MXR/Dunlop pedals, a signature Marshall amp, and more, it's hard to go to a guitar shop and not see his signature signal chain somewhere.

As a musician, many know him as the man behind the legendary (and oftentimes overplayed) guitar solos in Guns N' Roses songs "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "November Rain" (my personal favorite is the solo in "Nightrain"). Since his time as the lead axeman of Guns N' Roses he has found fame in two more bands: Velvet Revolver (a GNR minus Axl Rose reunion) and his current, solo band, officially called Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. Note I will refer to the whole band hereafter as the Conspirators.

"World on Fire" is the Conspirators' second album with their current lineup of Slash, Myles Kennedy, Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz. Compared to their first album, "Apocalyptic Love," this album is a logical, but not radical, step forward. For one thing, the album is over seventy minutes long, which is twenty minutes longer than "Apocalyptic Love" and unheard of for a hard rock album in general.

Overall, "World on Fire" is better than "Apocalyptic Love," just not in easily expressible terms. Comparing "World on Fire" to "Apocalyptic Love" is like comparing two AC/DC albums - "Highway to Hell" is better than "Powerage," it's just hard to show how.

In terms of musical creativity, "World on Fire" is much the same as "Apocalyptic Love" except that Slash overdubbed guitars on this album. In "30 Years to Life," the overdubs allow for some great harmonies. Not as prominent elsewhere, the overdubs are nevertheless used masterfully to add color to the songs when necessary. There are none that feel out of place.

In terms of form, the songs are relatively the same as those on "Apocalyptic Love" (well, the acoustic/clean songs are refreshing). The riffs and guitar solos are much in the same style as those from "Apocalyptic Love" as well. The real growth derives from the increasing synergy the Conspirators have attained as a band. For one, I can actually hear Todd Kerns' bass on this album; he meant it to be heard. Brent Fitz, the drummer, more so than Kerns, opened up with this album. Although he says in interviews that he tries to be a modest drummer, he certainly seems to know which creative liberties to take and when to take them. No, there are no grandiose drum solos or anything that one would find out of place, but there is just a certain level of finesse, a certain feel that makes his drumming close to perfect. It just clicks.

That pretty much sums up this album: it just clicks. The more I listen to the songs, the more I want to replay them. At first, it seems like the songs are one relatively consistent barrage of hard rock, but over time, their differences, their details grow on me. More so than "Apocalyptic Love," I can't get the songs out of my head. I have had "30 Years to Life" in my head for the past few days so much that I've actually learned how to play it. "Avalon" has been starting to grow on me. One thing that is definite is that the album does not wear on the listener; there are seventeen songs of substance all worth listening through. Heck, I'm even getting some DragonForce vibes from the main riff in "Automatic Overdrive." While I guess there is no standout, altogether unique track, like "Anastasia" from "Apocalyptic Love," "World on Fire" is just a better album.

Aside from just the effects of the Conspirators getting tighter over time, the biggest factor in the success of this album is Elvis Baskette's production. "Apocalyptic Love" sounded cold, biting, and harsh from a production standpoint. While "World on Fire" is no silky smooth magic carpet ride, it is much better. Maybe it's just because Slash allowed for layered guitars on this album, but the songs are so much more sonically complex (from a production standpoint, not a musical one) than those on "Apocalyptic Love." At the very least, the song intros are starting to get interesting with more texture noises that dissipate after a short time. Baskette's use of effects is spot on as well; the phaser at the start of "Stone Blind" and the flanger in "Iris of the Storm" are stirring examples.

Lyrics — 8
I've thought for a couple of years now that Myles Kennedy has the best modern voice in hard rock. He hits all his notes with ease, in the studio, and, most importantly, live in concert. On "World on Fire," he never lets up. However, except for a slight increase in his use of long notes that modulate pitch ("wohhhh ohh ohhhh" type melodies and the sort), he hasn't changed at all from the last Conspirators album (or the last Alter Bridge album for that matter). Kennedy's vocals are the only facet of the Conspirators that has not exhibited growth from the first album to the second.

Lyrically, Kennedy baffles me as he always does; his lyrics border on some of incredible substance yet a whole song never fully connects as well as it should or could. Moreover, on this album his lyrical tone rarely connects with the vibe of the song. For example, "30 Years to Life" is a harrowing tale, but it doesn't seem fit for the thrilling, up beat rocker that the melody of the song suggests it is.

Regardless of my criticisms, Kennedy's performance, in the grand scheme of things is far above average. There is just less growth than I expected from such a great talent as him.

Overall Impression — 9
In summary, "World on Fire" is an excellent album, a surefire candidate for album of the year given the notoriety of its conceivers. It evinces why the Conspirators is one of the best hard rock bands of today and why Slash is still considered by many to be on top of the guitar world. This album can seem repetitive at first, but it is a grower. Personally, "30 Years to Life" made me keep coming back until I began to see the value in all sixteen other tracks.

The flag of rock and roll still flies high, though some struggle to see it. I have always been quick to chastise those few.

But right now, I can, if only barely, understand their blindness: there is a top hat triumphantly sitting at the peak of the pole. The question is can anyone knock it off its perch?

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TremontiAddict
    I like the guitar tones on the album overall. Some good riffs in songs like Wicked Stone, Beneath the Savage Sun, and 30 Years to Life. Battleground is a really good ballad imo, and it has some solid lyrics from Myles. I found myself enjoying a lot of the choruses throughout the album...a lot of very catchy melodies. I normally think 17 songs is way too many for one album, but none of the tracks really jump out as being so bad or bland that they need kicked off the disc. I'd give it a solid 8/10.
    D4CE
    Slash's best solo album yet. The album is a bit too long, but I've got no idea what songs I'd take off the album..
    Thomasg2488
    Here's something interesting for you guys to watch for the album
    Miriam22
    Kvelertak & Gojira?! Myles is full of surprises. What more lies beneath that tamed appearance? (On the music Slash & Myles are currently listening to.)
    TreyR
    Love that fact how Myles turns everybody he works with into Gojira fan
    _tim*
    To me, it's better than Apocalyptic Love: -The guitar sound better. The rythm tone is much better in my opinion, it may be a recording/mixing issue. -Slash is creative. In nearly any lead part of "Apocalyptic Love", you can almost guess the next guitar lick, in this record, he finally came with some different ideas, different licks, and I love them. Riffs are better too. Except for Anastasia which is a Masterpiece IMO, the riffs in Apocalyptic Love are kind of boring.
    Slash-Hudson
    The apocalyptic love riff is also killer! On World on Fire Slash recorded the whole rythm section with many different guitars and amps! :
    Karabiner07
    The ones in AL were boring?! Bad Rain, Apocalyptic Love, Standing in the Sun, You're a Lie, Not for Me, Anastasia, Crazy Life?! The album had nothing to do with his previous one, it was plain hard rock. On the other hand, World on Fire seemed more like Apocalyptic Love, I was expecting something different since he had been hyping everyone on YouTube with his vids. I can count like five good songs from the 17 list.
    jjcory3
    Blows me away that people dislike Myles Kennedy. Lyrically, he's one of the best on the planet (see Alter Bridge's "Blackbird," "Words Darker Than Their Wings," "Lover," and many more). Vocally, he very well may be THE best (see 3:o5 - 3:23 of this video Alter Bridge - Mud Bone live from Amsterdam
    , or the note towards the end of The Mayfield Four's "Summergirl"). As far as this album goes, I think it's their best yet. Although there might not be that signature Anastasia-esque song, I don't think there's a bad song on this album.
    Thomasg2488
    Wonder how many people are going to keep saying Slash does the same thing over and over again now. Listening to this album, there's no doubt that you can hear the differences and the changes he's made to his style and that he's evolved as a guitarist again while still keeping that same tone that we all love. My favorite songs of the album so far... World On Fire Shadow Life 30 Years To Life Wicked Stone Bent To Fly Too Far Gone The Dissident Stone Blind But let's be honest, they're all good songs that deserve some playing on the stage. I love GN'R to death, but all I want to hear live are Nightrain, Sweet Child O' Mine and Paradise City with the occasional Welcome to the Jungle and Slither. I want to hear more of the solo songs from Slash now, he deserves to do that and not just play the same songs we've heard a million times before. Classic or not, I like hearing new music from my favorite guitarist.
    Guytarist38
    I really agree with you. I love the whole album. Even if its different from GNR's songs it still.. Slash. The guitar playing is really cool, the sound is really awesome, and i kinda enjoy Myle's voice, it really matches with the choirs. The whole thing is less original and creative than Slash's work with Axl Rose, but this album is really nice
    jannick
    6/10. Sounds, to me, like a "filler" album. Nothing really stands out. I loved 'Slash' and 'Apocalyptic Love'. But this one let me down a bit. It's tight, it's rockin' and all. But it's just too far from the quality i'd expect, after the previous two albums.
    FlyingPirahna
    Doesn't help that it's so damn long, either. A little bit of trimming might've made it stronger.
    Karabiner07
    Same reaction here. Slash 8.5/10 Apocalyptic Love 7/10 World on Fire 6/10 To me this album doesn't have any unique tunes, the one that stood out for me was Wicked Stone but only for that jazzy section. The rest of the tunes are: start with a riff, either change it after an introduction is made or repeat the hell out of it, and then add Myles' vocals on top, whose melodies were pretty similar all in all. Don't get me wrong, I still liked it, but for an album which was "the best of Slash" according to the man himself, had 17 songs and had been hyped on every social media it was kind of disappointing.
    skik08
    Wicked stone sounds like an old gnr track. The unholy is epic! Definitely an awesome album.
    MrWeatherHead
    I absolutely love this album and every review I read has different favourite songs from the reviewer which is a sign of a great whole rounded album. My personal top 5 are: Shadow Life Too Far Gone Beneath The Savage Son The Dissident The Unholy
    kymgibbs56
    Fucken love it from start to finish best thing slash has released since gnr My Top 5 Wicked stone The Unholy Battleground Beneath The Savage sun 30 Years To Life
    Slash-Hudson
    just take out the "lalalalala" part then its perfect!
    dorpzot
    Great review! It's better than Apocalyptic Love but it's hard to tell why, you're right.
    davidtomas.lope
    Masterpiece
    manicmuso
    This album isn't bad but it is just "more of the same". Sure, there are good riffs and stuff but he's already done this a thousand times. It would be great to see him do something a bit different for once. I'm not saying he should go do a reggae album but it'd be nice to hear a Slash record and think "wow, I wasn't expecting that". Too many cliches, and many of them created by Slash himself. Lovely man but please, please, please do something unpredictable and prove to us that you're not just a caricature or self-parody!!!
    vipre77
    I think you misunderstand Slash and his fans. His fans don't want something different. They want Slash. That said, Slash has some "different" stuff before, such as playing on "Black or White" by Michael Jackson. If that's not "different" from his usual stuff, I don't know what is. Slash is similar to KISS here... Fans have an expectation of the kind of music they play. If they change things up too much, it turns people off. Ask Metallica about how that's been working out for them on their last few albums. Still selling millions, I'm sure, but nothing like the sales they had in their prime. Metallica has lost a lot of fans since mellowing out a bit since the black album. They are no longer the speed/thrash metal band they used to be that helped define the genre in the early 80's. They've moved on and so have many of their old fans. Bands like KISS and Slash recognize what sells and stick with what works and what their fans want. At least until it doesn't work anymore, but they haven't found that point yet, so if it ain't broke...
    manicmuso
    You are bang on with this, but I don't think Slash makes records thinking "will my fans like this?" or "will this sell well?". Obviously Gene Simmons is only concerned with the money side of making music but I don't think Slash is like that. He just does what he does, he's a laid back and likable man. And I totally agree with you about his fans who seem to subscribe more to Slash as an iconic figure than a human being, and thus it must make it extremely difficult for Slash to do anything different, if indeed he wanted to. It's food for thought at any rate.
    markyj666
    Slash plays rock n roll. The whole idea of having to be different all the time gets on my nerves, let the poppy/rappy one-hit-wonders be different and let us worry about sweet rock riffs and actual musical talent.
    manicmuso
    I totally respect where you're coming from but rock n roll's about more than riffs and solos, to me anyway. I listened to the album and it's good but there's nothing here he hasn't already done better. If all you want is the Slash of 1987, then you're in heaven because that's all he's ever really done, but if like me you want to see him prove to people that he is still a relevant guitar player who isn't just riding on the coattails of his former glory, you may find this album annoyingly predictable and cliched. If you're the former, you probably see Slash as an icon, whereas if you're the latter, it wouldn't be unfair to say he's become a caricature of himself.
    Slash-Hudson
    Why not listen to the first Slash Solo Album??? Beautiful Dangerous, Nothing To Say, A Saint is a sinner too
    kymgibbs56
    love it from start to finish best thing slash has released since gnr Wicked stone The Unholy Battleground Beneath The Savage sun Near as much as the Axlite giving the negative feed back
    greif hammer
    Despite my initial opinions of the album being bloated, I've been listening to it a lot lately. It definitely sounds a "band" instead of a project. Some of the songs are weaker than others, but they're all still good tunes and none deserve to be unreleased. I think if they'd trimmed it down and made some of the songs bonus tracks they'd have a much more solid album.....something like this: 1. World on Fire 2. Shadow Life 3. 30 Years to Life 4. Bent to Fly 5. Wicked Stone 6. Stone Blind 7. Beneath the Savage Sun 8. Battleground 9. Iris of the Storm 10. Avalon 11. The Unholy ----- Bonus Tracks 1. Automatic Overdrive 2. Withered Delilah 3. Too Far Gone 4. Dirty Girl 5. Safari Inn 6. The Dissident I rearranged the order of songs as well, but I think something like that would have made it a very classic album in Slash's career.
    markyj666
    I personally don't like bonus tracks as they are usually a way of making more money e.g. an album is brought out then re released with extra tracks, I think it devalues the album when done that way. I like what Slash has done by just putting all songs available to everyone in every country. Just my opinion. Great solos on this album, Slash's guitar sounds awesome, as does Myles' voice and the rhythm section. Sweet!
    davidtomas.lope
    As I said some days ago, this album is a hard-rock masterpiece to me so glad to see Slash happy with his band and makin' the music he really wants to do and that we rockers love so much All the tracks are really great songs. My favorites so far are: Automatic Overdrive Wicked Stone Bent to fly Beneath the savage sun Battleground The Dissident The Unholy but every track on this album is caviar! If there were more bands and artist like Slash, Myles and the Conspirators we could really kick in the ass to Mr. Simmons and his statement about the health of rock.
    Dam_That_River
    To anyone who hasn't heard this yet, go listen to Wicked Stone those riffs are straight up Appetite for destruction era it's insanely good! great album really loved it wasn't so keen on Apocalyptic Love but this album everyone shines, wouldn't mind it though if Slash put some more guests on the songs like on his debut album
    Miriam22
    At the end of the interview posted above on 9/20/14, Slash & Myles were asked what music they’re currently listening to, and they answered, Kvelertak & Gojira, which are death/black metal bands. Pretty heavy stuff; especially for Myles and his tamed performances. Might be interesting to see what influence these types of bands would bring about on the next recording. But back to the Conspirator’s World On Fire album. I'm not going to compare it to Apocalyptic Love, because I love that album especially the live versions. On first listen of World on Fire, I caught on to a few songs; Avalon, Battleground, love Stone Blind. After a few more listens, the whole album started to grow on me. I love it and hope to hear more from this line-up.
    Eissari
    That singer got really annoying voice..
    ryanssmith
    my roomate's aunt makes $65 every hour on the computer . She has been laid off for 6 months but last month her pay check was $21378 just working on the computer for a few hours. look here..... http://www.paygazette.com
    biff022
    God awful. Slash needs to go away. Take the shitty singer from the new Creed with him...