World On FireFeatured review by: UG Team, on september 19, 2014 7 of 9 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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? // 9
World On Fire
lukcuturic97, on september 23, 2014 3 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: 1. "World on Fire" - Starts off on one of my favorite chords and flows into a pretty cool riff, like it's from "Appetite for Destruction." What goes for instrumentals, the song is pretty cool, nothing mind-blowing but certainly not bad at all. The lyrics are kind of a let-down, it's basically the same theme as "Apocalyptic Love." The solo is pretty rad. Just a solid rock song, nice to get into the mood of the album. Very catchy too.
2. "Shadow Life" - I like the clean intro and Myles' voice coming in. The lyrics are better than "World on Fire." But one thing that bothers me are the riffs. The riffs are all okay/good but they don't fit together, almost like they are in a different key, but they aren't. There is no mood in the song in my opinion, kind of strange.
3. "Automatic Overdrive" - When I first hear the title, I thought "Slash, why did you make a song about the first thing you do when you turn on your Marshall?", but then I listened to the lyrics, and they are NOT about amp-overdrive. The intro riff is nice. Although Slash noted it's "punky," to my ears "Automatic Overdrive" sounds more like a pop-rock song, something Paramore would write. But it would be Paramore at it's absolute best. Don't like the song very much, but it's catchy. Just a shame the solo is a tad generic.
4. "Wicked Stone" - This is where things get better. The songs starts off with a cool riff, that flows in with the bass which sounds really bada-s (good job, Todd!). Lyrics are nothing special, but damn, that outro! It's one of the best solos on the album. I just don't get the title. How can a stone be wicked? Oh well, it's a very cool song.
5. "30 Years to Life" - The best track on the entire record in my opinion. The use of slide guitar is so cool! And that riff after the intro, which kinda returns in the chorus. They lyrics are much better than most on the album and they have a very nice theme. And the solo is just cool.
6. "Bent to Fly" - Aaahhh, 12-string guitars! The intro is very nice and I love the riffs in the chorus. The vocal melodies are very nice too. Solo is amazing too. One of the best songs on the album.
7. "Stone Blind" - Another song about stones... It's kinda similar to "Shadow Life" with the intro, but it's much better than "Shadow Life." The riff after the clean intro sounds a little bit like GnR's "Coma." Lyrics are okay. I'm just not too fond of the chorus. But the first notes of the solo are pretty cool! One of the better songs on the album, it's pretty catchy too, but in a good way.
8. "Too Far Gone" - One of the coolest intros on the album and by far the best solo on the album in my opinion. The vocal melodies are very good too, just as the lyrics. Nothing more to say, great song.
9. "Beneath the Savage Sun" - What do you get when you mix Alter Bridge with Slash's Snakepit? This song! The intro was pretty nice, but the song is a bit weird and pretty boring. It's kind of a filler track.
10. "Withered Delilah" - Lovely, lovely intro that's very nicely transitioned into the main riff of the song. I just have no idea what this song's about, but the melodies are nice! Only letdown is the chorus, which is a bit poppy.
11. "Battleground" - Finally, a ballad! I love power ballads! Just a shame it's the only one on the album. Most impressive vocals on the album, very haunting. The intro guitar is a little bit bland, but the bass fills it nicely. It's clearly on a Les Paul's bridge humbucker, which in my opinion is not the ideal clean sound. Lyrics are great, the "second" part of the song is odd, but it fits well. Solo is outstanding too. If this song doesn't give you chills, you're totally heartless!
12. "Dirty Girl" - The worst song on the album. It's not just a bad song compared to the other songs on the album, but it's a bad song by itself. I don't like anything about it. Filler track. But hey, with 17 songs there's got to be SOMETHING that is not perfect.
13. "Iris of the Storm" - Better than the previous song, but not much better. Intro sounds a bit like "No More Heroes" from "Apocalyptic Love." Song isn't the best on the album, lyrics are meh, clean guitar is good. Cool chorus. But it's still a filler track. It has a very, very strange breakdown and a rather cool wah solo, I usually don't like wah but this is cool. And so is the outro.
14. "Avalon" - No matter how much I love this song, the guitar, lyrics, melodies, everything, I feel a lawsuit from Queen incoming, just because it's so similar to "Tie Your Mother Down." But it doesn't make it a bad song. I love this song.
15. "The Dissident" - Hilarious intro, but I don't get why it's on this song. This song is another filler track. Mixed feelings about it. Don't really like the melodies and riffs, nor the lyrics. But it's not a bad song.
16. "Safari Inn" - The instrumental track. If this is the music you hear when staying at a safari inn, then I'd stay there. Very cool chord progressions and riffs, the lead guitar tone is odd, it kinda sounds like a Mockingbird, but I like it! Killer track.
17. "The Unholy" - When I first heard the intro, I thought it was A7X's "St. James," but no. Although it has something in common with "St. James"; it's very weak for a closing track, which is a real letdown. Also some kind of filler track. Too bad.
One thing I love about this album are the riffs, tones, and tightness of the band. But the best thing on this album are the superb harmonies between Todd and Myles. Both did an amazing job. But so did Slash and Brent! Sound quality is great. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics vary from bad to okay to awesome. The best lyrics are on the songs "30 Years to Life" and "Battleground" in my opinion, the worst on "Dirty Girl" and "World on Fire" (the title track). But at leas they tried on them. Myles is known as a great songwriter and you can hear that on both Alter Bridge and Slash records, but in my opinion Alter Bridge lyrics are better than those on Conspirators albums. Myles' skills? He's one of the best (if not best) singers out there right now. He did an amazing job, especially on "Battleground." But I expected that. Todd Kerns also has a very good voice, glad they did the harmonies on this record. The lyric themes vary from personal situations, to viewing something through the eyes of a character. // 7
Overall Impression: Produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette and Myles on vocals, it's logical that it will have an Alter Bridge vibe to it, which is a very good thing. But, Baskette also produced some worse pop-punk albums, and that is sometimes heard too on some songs. Another comparable album is "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." This album has a very nice Snakepit-vibe to it, especially with guitar tones, instrumental track and sometimes the lyrics. I love "30 Years to Life," "Avalon," "Safari Inn," the guitar tones and playing, Myles' and Todd's voices, I hate the song "Dirty Girl." Overall, this is a very cool album, worth the listen and worth buying! // 8
World On Fire
Thomasg2488, on september 24, 2014 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Making his return back into the solo scene with more heavy riffs, wailing solos and just down right crunch, Slash returns for his third solo album, "World on Fire," and features once again Myles Kennedy on vocals, Todd Kerns on bass and Brent Fitz on drums aka The Conspirators. Now that these four have been together for the last four years from touring to releasing their successful and acclaimed album "Apocalyptic Love" in 2012, the gang is back together and they play tighter like a band that has no egos, no issues and have fun doing it. Slash seems to have finally found the jackpot, let's hope that it stays that way.
What this album does is build on the chemistry that was formed on "Apocalyptic Love" between the band and not only enhances the sound but plays like a band that knows what to expect of each other. Myles, Todd and Brent know that its Slash's sound that drives the album which after twenty-five years has become one of the standards with hard rock and heavy metal. To the same token, Slash has accepted the knowledge that those same guys have and listened to them to write these songs, especially Myles. Remember that when he's not with Slash, he's performing or recording with his main band in Alter Bridge and he's no slouch on guitar either but it's that and his vocal abilities and general music that allow him to work with Slash and combine what he knows with what Slash wants for his album. That's not a mark of disrespect to Todd or Brent either because they help drive the album with heavy and groove fueled bass and drum patterns.
If you listen to "Apocalyptic Love" and then "World on Fire," you'll notice that it seems like they've taken time to hone the craft and make an album that combines all of their talents and influences into one, making an album that has traces of palmed muted heavy metal riffs like you hear in the title track, "Shadow Life," and "Too Far Gone" to the more blues driven tracks such as "30 Years to Life," "Stone Blind," and "Bent to Fly." But what you hear from this album is a sweet mix of heavy riffs, beautiful melody, chorus lines that make you want to sing with Myles, Todd and Brent, hard rock chords and of course Slash's trademark solos.
Don't expect Slash to change what he's known for a quarter century and be glad he doesn't want to. He can, but he knows what he wants and what his fans want. It's hard rock just the way you want it. // 9
Lyrics: Myles Kennedy is amazing. There's a reason he was offered a chance to play with Led Zeppelin a few years ago, it's because he's just so talented. He's also very talented at singing about different things with in his lyrics. Rock N' Roll may be consistent in the world of sex, drugs, and booze but there are different ways to sing about them. Working with Slash now for another album has allowed that trust between the two for him to be able to write lyrics that actually expand some of the songs than what he wrote on "Apocalyptic Love" and while of course there a still those classic rock n' roll songs we know, there are some that change the work of the album for the better as well. I can't help feel that part of that has come from his success with Alter Bridge's last two albums which have also received acclaim.
And of course we can't forget his vocal range. He can go from a groove laden sound to a melodic chorus to an all out wailing attack. Listen to the title track and you'll get a good idea of what exactly he can do and does throughout this album. But it's the songs you may not expect that really show what he does that makes it amazing to listen to. "The Dissident" has him singing with a softness that is accompanied by a clean tone from Slash through it until they hit the chorus and you here him shift into high gear, actually hearing him go up and then back down again without missing a beat. Having all this backed up by the fanatic backing vocals of Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz makes this an album that you want to sing along with them because they're clear to hear and they have a groove them that make you appreciate the album. // 9
Overall Impression: Looking back at this review, you'll notice that up till this point that I haven't mentioned a single thing about Guns N' Roses or Velvet Revolver as is often the case with anything that involves Slash. And it's because now that he has released a third solo album, each filled plenty of songs that stand on their own he deserves to not be known as the ex-GN'R guitarist, but as Slash. He has an abundance of work and songs that are all great to listen to but this album takes him into what should be a new era.
Of course he'll still play tons of the old GN'R tunes, "Slither" from his Velvet Revolver days while they remain on hiatus and even a few songs from his Snakepit days. But I think that with the release of this album, the shift should be made to play more songs from his solo albums during tours and not just the classics. There are at least five songs from this album, five from "Apocalyptic Love," and his debut album that could be played live that fans could love just as much.
My personal wish is that hopefully Myles, Todd and Brent continue to work with him and make more great music together. It just seems like Slash has finally found the people he needs to be with in order to write and play the music that he wants to play. "World on Fire" shows that they have formed the bond of a band that is happy to play together and plays for the music and the sheer enjoyment of it and it's a rare thing to see something like this in today's day and age.
I'll be honest, listening to these albums makes me happier than listening to Guns N' Roses now. It sounds crazy but we have to remember that those songs were released over twenty-five years ago. Yes, they will ALWAYS be classics and you will always bang your head to them but music is about trying to create something new to listen to, to make new classic songs that will have the same appeal in that time. In an era where the music industry is in a terrible place, where the music released is just generic three minute crap that is forgotten a week later, hearing albums like this that could and should leave their mark in the world gives me hope. I personally will remember all these songs because it's just that good and I hope there will be more to come. // 9
World On Fire
Sandman4991, on september 23, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: "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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 8
World On Fire
Benjamin2112, on december 26, 2015 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album really exceeded my expectations when I bought it last year. I had read up on the hype for it in various interviews from Slash telling us that it would be a lot more heavier than his last album "Apocalyptic Love." "World on Fire" is quite a long record with its 17 tracks that can seem a bit lengthy but well worth the inclusion.
The title track starts off with a fast guitar riff that chugs throughout the whole song in bombastic pizzaz, while "Shadow Life" slows us down a tad but is still a good tune. "Automatic Overdrive" and "Wicked Stone" are definitely intricate with intriguing guitar, bass, and drum leads/parts. "30 Years to Life," "Battleground," and "Dirty Girl" didn't really appeal to me as much as the rest of the album and did feel like filler a bit.
"Bent to Fly" to "Withered Delilah" are really great tunes to give the album a backbone with strong material. The aforementioned two songs and in between them ("Stone Blind," "Too Far Gone," and "Beneath the Savage Sun") all made an impact on me for some of Slash's most fun work. That being said Todd and Brent provide a perfect rhythm section with their own more than satisfying answers to Slash on bass and drums respectively.
"Iris of the Storm," "The Dissident," "Safari Inn," and "The Unholy" are also very nice songs and continue the trend of a hard hitting record with catchy heavy riffs. "Safari Inn" is an instrumental song. "Avalon" happens to be my favorite of them all on the album, really spoke to me and rocked my socks completely off!
Michael "Elvis" Baskette (the producer of the album) did an amazing job and the mix is quite evenly distributed and you hear everyone properly. I wouldn't change it a bit. // 9
Lyrics: I think Myles did a great job writing lyrics for the album as they contain intellectual, fun, and rowdy atmospheres in every song. The lyrics and music go together perfectly and nothing is too loud in the mix either which is great for the listener.
"The Unholy" is about corrupt organized religion and the darker side behind it all. "Beneath the Savage Sun" sounds like it's about war and the useless need for it and damage it leaves behind. My favorite vocal parts have to be from: the bridge in "World on Fire" "close the door, turn the key, do you like what you see?, kill the lights, oh come to me..." The chorus in "Wicked Stone" "I'm getting off this wicked stone, cuz I can't stay and I can't deny that, all I want is lost, no I can't face another night on this wicked stone."
Myles has an undeniably amazing voice and it sounded great live when I saw him on this tour in Vancouver (Oct 2015) also. This album is just the tip of the iceberg for what he can do with his vocal range and the texture of his voice. // 8
Overall Impression: I would say this was one of Slash's better albums, I enjoyed "Apocalyptic Love" but a few of those songs on it seemed to drag on for me or got boring also IMO. I feel that if you would compare this to his previous work it would be reminiscent of: "Use Your Illusion I" for the length and number of tracks, "Contraband" for its slinky and smooth sound, and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" for its obscure edgy tones (bass wah..? in "Stone Blind").
The most impressive songs for me on the album were: "Automatic Overdrive," "Wicked Stone," "Stone Blind," "Beneath the Savage Sun," "Avalon," "The Dissident," "Bent to Fly," "Too Far Gone," and "Withered Delilah." The rest of the tunes were also really good though with the exception of "Battleground" which I couldn't get into.
I love how long it is and I praise the fact that they decided to give us a longer album. Quantity isn't quality but it is in this situation as the whole thing ties together nicely and the production on it was fantastic. I wouldn't say I hate anything about it, the album cover is quite wacky but that's a good thing! I would buy it again if it was lost or stolen but I wouldn't be angrily running out to the music store or anything. I have it on my computer and iPod so that's alright. // 9
, 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.