Sound — 8
"World on Fire" is the third solo album by Slash, and the second featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. It includes 17 songs, clocking just under 80 minutes. This time Slash recorded all the guitars himself, with Myles Kennedy doing only vocals. Todd Kerns played bass guitar and performed backing vocals and Brent Fitz took care of the drums. The album was produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette.
The album is generally Slash's trademark hard rock w/ strong blues influences. The sound quality is good. The riffs are sharp and heavy most of the time, however Slash also does great job playing slower, clean melodies. I would love to hear some acoustic songs here, but musically I have nothing to complain. Slash once again shows his skills soloing extensively throughout the album.
While most of the songs are rather heavy, there are also some lighter tracks with clean guitars and calm vocals in verses, however, these songs also feature heavy choruses, which I personally not necessarily like.
Now, I might sound over-critical, but I did not like the drumming in some fragments. This is just my personal opinion, which comes from listening to more prog music recently, but sometimes I would prefer Brent to use ride cymbal more frequently instead of crash. It makes less noise and creates nicer groove. As for the bass drum, sometimes less is more and I had the impression, that the drummer used it too much in some songs. Also sometimes the drum patterns sounded like there could be something more interesting in them. Like I said, it's just my opinion, and apart from that the drumming on the album is quite good.
There is one track, which deserves separate paragraph - number 16 on the album - "Safari Inn." Lasting three and a half minutes, it is a guitar-centered (well, that's not a surprise) instrumental, and my personal favourite. It features several nice riffs and a long, awesome guitar solo with a beautiful background in the first part (listen carefully :) ). It is not a song for everyone, but if you are a guitar player or just love guitar-centered instrumentals (and Slash) you will probably like it.
Lyrics — 9
I am not sure, but I presume most, if not all, of the lyrics were written by Myles Kennedy. There is not much to say about the lyrical side of the album. I could quote some fragments, but I don't see the point in that. They fit the music and genre, just regular hard rock - both stylistically and thematically.
The only thing I don't like about the lyrical side of the album is the "la la la..." from "Battleground." It just does not fit the style to me. A vocalise of some kind would be better. Otherwise great singing and nice lyrics, however nothing outstanding.
Let's move on to singing. Some hate Myles Kennedy as a singer. After listening to his work in Alter Bridge, and what he has done with Slash, I don't understand why. Kennedy is great singer, with a unique voice, which fits Slash's playing. As for this album, his vocals complement the music well. His singing is very expressive, especially in slower songs, which nicely matches the climate of the lyrics and music.
Overall Impression — 8
When I first heard that the new album is over 70 minutes long and features 17 songs, I was a bit worried that some songs would not keep the high level I expected. After I first listened to "World on Fire" my worries were dispelled. Over one hour passed in a blink of an eye, leaving generally good impression. Then I concentrated on each and every song and they all maintained similar level. And that's what some will find unfavorable (keep reading).
As I said before, all the songs on the album are well written, powerful and catchy pieces of hard rock. However, there isn't much freshness in them, and nothing really outstanding. After "Anastasia" from 2012's "Apocalyptic Love," which became everyone's undeniable favourite, most fans would look for something similar here. Well, you will not find this kind of song on "World on Fire," but maybe it's good after all? "Anastasia" overshadowed all the other songs on the previous album, making it impossible to assess them individually, each and every track being compared to the one just had to be worse. On "World on Fire" you are given 17(!) good songs to choose from and I am sure you will find something for you.
As for me, the album lacks a proper ballad with acoustic guitars and a nice, slow, melodic solo. A song which doesn't explode in the chorus after soft intro and verse. Slash's acoustic performances with Myles over the last two years made me expect something like that from them, and I am a little disappointed.
In my opinion the album is definitely worth buying for any GN'R, Slash, or just hard rock fan.