More of a fender bender than the disastrous musical pile-up it could have been.
Adam Kennedy 2010-05-18
The average Guns N’ Roses devotee has gone through untold frustration in the 15 years since the celebrated Los Angeles rockers lost most their original members, ostensibly becoming The Axl Rose Show. Sadly, talismanic top hat-donning guitarist Slash’s first fully solitary expedition is only borderline cause for compensatory cheer.
With solo false start Slash’s Snakepit and surprisingly satisfying supergroup Velvet Revolver, the Stoke-on-Trent-born six-stringer regularly kept sight of the importance of world-beating songs and a cohesive band.
On this self-titled opus, however, a multi-million dollar array of guest vocalists not only lends the collective chemistry of a speed dating night, but also seemingly dazzled all involved into forgetting to pen many memorable tunes.
Ozzy Osbourne is the first notable contributor, weighing in with questionable wisdom – “You cannot crucify the dead” – on Crucify the Dead. Rousing in isolation, it nevertheless smacks of a bug-eyed album off-cut from the Black Sabbath overlord’s 1980s solo days.
The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie guests on Beautiful Dangerous, suggesting her talents are somewhat wasted on pop-rap fluff. Its caterwauling choruses, in fact, almost evokes Rose at screeching best, a feat Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale later partially repeats on By the Sword.
In truth, though, both Beautiful Dangerous and the subsequent Promise, led by a blues-bleeding contribution from Soundgarden/Audioslave crooner Chris Cornell, are merely passable power ballads. Maddeningly tame, neither replicates the whiskey-soaked sleaze and instantly classic riffs that have earned Slash his deservedly legendary status.
Thank goodness, then, for three reliable road warriors, who ride in on a much-needed rescue mission. First, Motörhead’s king hedonist Lemmy growls through Doctor Alibi with enjoyable menace. And Iggy Pop is reliably bonkers on We’re All Gonna Die, perhaps the best match on display for Slash's trademark Les Paul flourishes.
Watch This – tellingly, an instrumental – is better still, Foo Fighters/Nirvana nice guy Dave Grohl helping to bring the rock with a meaty crunch that temporarily distracts from the shortfalls of Slash’s solo vision. Not quite enough to entirely salvage the car crash around them, admittedly, but sufficient to turn a disastrous musical pile-up into more of a fender bender.