Review Summary: A Solo Triumph With Impeccable Co-Pilots From The GN'R Legend
It’s all enough to make you wonder how good Axl Rose really was. OK, just kidding, but there’s enough here to suggest that anyone sitting opposite the top-hated riff lord could sound godlike, and – although the thread running through these 13 sterling tracks is Slash’s inimitable relationship with his fretboard – every single one has an identity and so-cool-it-hurts vibrancy, all its own.
Really, could The Cult’s Ian Astbury sound anything less than completely heroic with a thrilling, trimmed-to-the-bone rocker like opening salvo “Ghost”? And could anyone backing Ozzy Osbourne for the understated, melancholic sizzle follow-up “Crucify The Dead” really dare attempt to overpower the Prince Of Darkness?
M Shadows’ jackhammer “Nothing To Say” is a snarling howitzer-paced belter rocketing downstroked riffs and wrathful ire that only bodes brilliantly for his upcoming tribute to The Rev with Avenged Sevenfold.
Lemmy Kilmister’s “Doctor Alibi” is a barn-storming “F*** you” off a ditty with a hilariously autobiographical “Doctor…don’t you know that I feel alright doing what I do/I ain’t gonna tow the line until I’m turning blue” chorus that’s the funny flipside to the forlorn balladry of Myles Kennedy’s Jeff Buckley loving “Starlight”.
It’s a credit to Slash’s musicianship that his playing never overshadows whoever is behind the mic; rather he makes them sound good, as if he’s amplified their abilities, a point hammered home by the swaggering, strip-club destined infectiousness of “Beautiful Dangerous” with Fergie. It’s one part The Who’s “Who Are You” two parts Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” and completely badass. Sure, she sings for Black Eyed Peas, but it’s really through the lens of Slash’s playing that her credentials shine through, as they do for a tag-team with Cypress Hill for an explosive reinterpretation of “Paradise City” (only available on the standalone Fan Pack edition). It’s gloriously slick and testament to both Slash’s magnetism and incredibly diverse abilities as a player.
The star-studded proceedings, take a candlelit moment with Chris Cornell’s “Promise” which, evidently, is merely sonic tenderizer before the colossal weight of “By The Sword” with Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale. With an acoustic intro and a slow building chorus big enough to register an 11 on the Zeppelin scale, it’s here that his collaborative curiosity cabinet morphs into something landmark and anthemic.
The process of ceremonies would not be complete without Slash taking centre stage though which he does for the instrumental “Watch This” alongside none other than four-stringing comrade Duff McKagan and Dave Grohl behind the drum kit. A storming jam-sesh packed with “Use Your Illusion riffage”. Its sheer rocking joy caught on disc until a solo wailing and stately enough to make David Gilmour blush kicks in.
This album isn’t just about flying the flag but taking the battle to charts that are overrun by banality, soullessness and criminally misrepresentative of just how huge this rock and metal thing really is.
It’s a release the world needs to hear; a one-off intersection of unsurpassed talents and a snapshot of the state of rock’ n ‘ roll in 2010. By the sound of this gem, it’s in very good hands indeed.