Review Summary: Slash N' Burn
According to Axl Rose, one of the main reasons that Slash left Guns N’ Roses was due to the fact that he resented having to adapt and evolve his style. Of course, there is always more than one side to any story, but the passing years have conspired to prove this version of events to be correct.
Upon his departure from the warring factions of Guns, he immediately established Slash’s Snakepit; a thinly-veiled solo vehicle that produced interesting but unmemorable hard rock schlock. Velvet Revolver, established in 2002, were little more than an unimaginative re-tread of two or three different bands. His debut solo album-proper, 2010’s Slash
, was nothing but an exercise in big name cameos that had all the substance of low-quality candyfloss.
Slash is now at the stage of his career wherein he is firmly entrenched in the category of International Heritage. He could put the words of Mein Kampf to music and still be granted some leeway, such is the adoration some people hold for him. Indeed, the man born Saul Hudson might have been better transcribing Hitler’s literary madness into music form as that would have been halfway exciting and fresh. As it stands, Apocalyptic Love
is conspicuous by its complete anonymity and dogged by the tepid boredom that leaks from each song like a faulty gas pipe. Deciding to dispense with the cameo carousel, he has formed a de-facto group with former Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy and a drummer and bass player collectively known as The Conspirators. One would be forgiven for thinking that the establishment of a more permanent band structure would lend itself to a more stable and creative environment. Alas, the opposite has happened. Each of the album’s thirteen tracks passes by without any fuss or fight; every song blending into one long blob of grey matter that leaves such little impression in spite of repeated listens. It’s commendable in itself that an album is able to achieve this effect.
Myles Kennedy, cited by some as the new Axl to Slash’s…well, Slash, is certainly a vocalist of some repute. At his best he can reach the high notes that others cannot or will not go for. At his worst though, and he flits between bad impressions of Andrew Stockdale on a sugar high or Chris Cornell on a tranquilizer binge. Case in point: “We Will Roam” is the most obvious Cornell sound-a-like track. It is also boring and dull, suffering immensely from a lack of musical deviation and change of pace. Instead it seems satisfied with its workmanlike plod. Elsewhere, “Far And Away”, the obligatory ‘lighters held aloft’ ballad, is reminiscent of something even Audioslave would have deemed too generic to release.
Each and every song on Apocalyptic Love
adheres to a very similar formula. Quieter verses punctuated with a rousing chorus with an ambiguous yet well-meaning message, a solo that goes on longer than it should followed by a final chorus with an outro solo. Even the song titles are imbued with very little in the way of inspiration. “Bad Rain”? “Hard And Fast”? The only one with any real promise is “No More Heroes”, and that’s because for one fleeting moment you think it might be a cover of The Stranglers’ classic of the same name (Hint: it’s not).
Inevitably, it is only the last track, “Shots Fired”, that shows any real semblance of grit. By this stage it’s far too little and far too late. In reality, Slash only needs set filler for his gigs until he gets to what people really want to hear: Guns N’ Roses songs. In that sense, mission accomplished!