Friday, June 1, 2012

Apocalyptic Love - Slash

Slash is an "old-school" guitarist. He's firmly entrenched in that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset about rock and roll. There's nothing overly complex or revelatory about what he does, but he does it better than almost anybody making records right now.

It's easy to see the schism that happened between Axl Rose and Slash, just by looking at the output generated with the projects they fully control. Rose produces Chinese Democracy, which basically thrives on just how much can be crammed into a single song. Sounds layered over and over, effects, processing. Whereas Slash, beit with Slash's Snakepit, Velvet revolver, or his "solo" projects, aims straight ahead.

Apocalyptic Love is exactly in this category. Slash has assembled a really crack band (credited as Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators on the cover), and having a set team helps this album top the first Slash solo album of a couple years ago. It's a collection of songs that are more solid than not, and, in Kennedy, I think Slash has found his best creative partner since Axl Rose.

In truth, I feel like Apocalyptic Love is almost a better showcase for Kennedy than Slash himself. Myles takes the reins as a true frontman here. It's to Slash's credit that he seems content, even if his name is at the top of the totem pole, to be the guitarist, and get down to business.

Which isn't to say it was love at first listen with this album. I have to admit, I was a little worried as I listened through the first two tracks Apocalyptic Love and One Last Thrill. Why not being offensively bad, or even poor, they weren't the kind of "grabber" tracks you'd usually want to lead off an album. They passed pleasantly without much impact.

However, once the third song, Standing in the Sun, kicked in with a rumbling guitar and bass riff, I perked up. This song starts a very strong group of four tracks, continuing with the first single You're a Lie, and into No More Heroes and Halo. The last two songs, in particular, worked for me. Halo features a rapid-fire vocal from Kennedy that is just stellar.

We Will Roam and Anastasia are not as strong, but they lead into Not For Me, a truly epic addiction track. The whole band are at their best here, with Slash bringing the type of tasteful, blues-based, emotional guitar work for which he's known, and that fits perfectly with the vocal. Bad Rain, which follows, may be my favorite track.

It's simply a rock-solid rock and roll album, with very little filler. I'll even encourage you to make sure to get the two bonus tracks, including Carolina, which is a talk-box tour-de-force for Slash, and funky as hell. It's so damn good you'll wonder why it's a bonus track, and not on the album. proper.

Very much recommended if you're a fan, or just looking for a good, old fashioned rock record.

Favorite Tracks
  • Standing in the Sun
  • You're a Lie
  • No More Heroes
  • Halo
  • Not For Me
  • Bad Rain
  • Carolina (Bonus Track)

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