Review Summary: For fans of Alter Bridge and Velvet Revolver.
Former Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver guitarist Saul Hudson aka Slash returns with a sequel to his eponymous solo debut. Unlike his previous album, which featured a number of guest musicians, Apocalyptic Love features one band of backing musicians. On vocals and rhythm guitar, Myles Kennedy; on bass and backing vocals Todd Kerns; and pounding the skins is Brent Fitz. Overall, I found most of the songs to be enjoyable, but entire album was too bland and stereotypical to touch his previous work with Guns, or even the best moments of Velvet Revolver.
I liked that Myles used the full range and power of his voice. At times they would alternately croon, soar and scream – sometimes all in the space of one song. His voice is admittedly a bit like carrot cake – you love it or hate it. I, however, found his performance enjoyable. His rhythm guitar was also superb, though he is still not an adequate substitute for Izzy Stradlin. The rhythm section of Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz, aka “the Conspirators” rarely stand out, but I suppose that this is appropriate given that this is Slash’s album. Overall, they do a more than competent job here.
Slash himself is the same as he ever was. He is no Jimi Hendrix, but he is an exceptionally talented player with the same bluesy, soulful solos that he always has. He’s on the top of his game here. My one disappointment was that he did not have even one solo track – after all this is supposed to be his album. He and Myles actually share the spotlight pretty evenly here. Which is why I don’t think that this should be thought of as a solo album – think of it not as Slash featuring a backing band that includes Myles Kennedy, but Slash and Myles Kennedy featuring some backing musicians.
The songs are generally of the same heavy, very modern quality, thanks mostly to the influence of Myles. Slash may be an icon for people who grew up in the eighties, but there is a definite post grunge influence that can be felt on this album. Several guitar solos are thrown into each song to highlight Slash’s skill as a guitar virtuoso. The songwriting is mostly competent, though it follows a typical formula that prevents very much spontaneous energy. Also, the lyrics are clichéd, though there are no major stinkers here (only time will tell if we can stand the test of time, correct Sammy?) . In short, there are no surprises here. If you’ve heard Slash before, this is nothing new, just more of the same comfort food.
Hard and Fast
Track by track:
Apocalyptic Love – very heavy, with a 90s vibe. 3/5
One Last Thrill – sounds very similar to Hard and Fast. However, I dislike some of the vocals, and the chorus bores me. 3/5
Standing in the Sun – another heavy track. Too long and boring for my tastes. 2/5
You’re a Lie – you’ve all heard this one. Typical. Radio friendly hard rock. 3/5
No More Heroes – more radio rock. Slash’s lead guitar carries this entire thing. 2.5/5
Halo – this one sounds a little tighter than some of the other songs. Not long enoguh become stale, which is the problem with some of the other tracks. 3.5/5
We Will Roam – smells like another radio single. 3/5
Anastasia - begins with a classical intro, before launching in to a bluesy power ballad that at times reminds one of Use Your Illusion era Guns N’ Roses – with a more modern sound. It’s not quite on par with Estranged or November Rain, but is certainly better than the half assed ballads that were on the self titled debut. Definitely a highlight of the album. 4/5
Not For Me – a slow, weary and heavy track. I personally could not get into it. 2.5/5
Bad Rain - a dark, heavy song that is fairly typical of the album. Nothing particularly exciting hear, aside from a typically kickass guitar solo. 3/5
Hard and Fast – the title says it all. This one may strike some as filler, but I feel a bit of the reckless energy of the Appetite for Destruction days here. Slash lets it all out in this one, and it’s my favourite song here. 4/5
Far and Away – begins with an acoustic intro and features some crooning by Myles Kennedy. Think of “Back to the Moment” from the second Snakepit album. Equally clichéd, but also equally soulfully and instrumentally awesome. This is the most moving guitar solo that I have heard from Slash in a while. 4/5
Shots Fired – meh. It picks up toward the end though. 3/5
Carolina – this one has an Aerosmith vibe to it, mostly due to the heavy use of a talk box by Slash. This is a bonus track that should not have been left off of the main album. 3.5/5
Crazy life – this should not have been a bonus track. The cowbell turns this one into one of the better tracks on the album. 3.5/5