Release Date: Apr 6, 2010
Record label: Dik Hayd
The man responsible for some of rock’s most iconic riffery... It isn’t your everyday Staffordshire-born lad that gets a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, unless you’re Slash, that is. This first true-solo effort sees the man responsible for some of rock’s most iconic riffery joining forces with the friends he met on the way (including The Cult’s Ian Astbury, Lemmy and Iggy Pop) and is a rocking riot from the off! ‘Crucify The Dead’ sees Ozzy’s distinct vocal complemented by Slash’s unique style while the gentle ‘Promise’ ft Chris Cornell and the hefty Duff Makagan / Dave Grohl-led instrumental, ‘Watch This’, are must-hears.
Officially this is Slash's first solo record, but it's not significantly different from any of the other supergroups he's led since leaving Guns N' Roses. The main distinction is that this one has way more big-name guests, and each song caters to the vocalist rather than to Slash's guitar heroics. As such, this is a much more sonically varied album than you'd expect, while still fitting in with his trademark bluesy hard rock riffs and wails.
After two quasi-solo albums with Slash's Snakepit, the former Guns N' Roses guitarist – top hat and shades still in place – finally releases one under his own name. It's just as much a collaborative effort, though, with household-name guests handling vocals on every song and, occasionally, stealing the show: Doctor Alibi, a duel with Lemmy, who sounds as if he's just woken up on a park bench, is definitively won by Lemmy, while Iggy Pop is hilariously bored on We're All Gonna Die; elsewhere, a bawling Fergie sounds a million miles from her Black Eyed Pea self on Beautiful Dangerous. Slash, meanwhile, expertly grinds out the riffs, but rarely goes that extra mile in terms of fireworks, the exception being the flashy and furious Nothing to Say.
I can’t help but like Slash. Wielding a Gibson guitar as his trademark top hat and shades sat atop his curly locks, the guitarist held his own in high-profile hard rock bands against tempestuous (Guns ‘N Roses’ Axl Rose) or erratic (Velvet Revolver’s Scott Weiland) frontmen to consistently come off as the coolest person on stage. In his latter-day, vice-free interviews, Slash certainly seems like a cool, laid-back kind of guy, a rarity given the company he usually keeps.
Like Jeff Beck before him, Slash is a superstar guitarist who can’t sing a lick -- a situation that poses a considerable problem when it comes time to record a solo album, which apparently is whenever his band collapses under the preening ego of a lead singer. When combing through the wreckage of GNR he decided to form a band whose singer almost seemed like an afterthought, but he took a different route after the meltdown of Velvet Revolver, choosing to follow Santana’s Supernatural blueprint, hauling in a different singer for each track. Of course, Supernatural was designed with the intention of having Santana cross over to a new audience, but Slash, with the exception of Fergie howling “Beautiful Dangerous,” was made with his old fans in mind, bringing in gnarled old rockers like Ozzy, Lemmy, and Iggy to carry the brunt of the work, slipping in a few new faces -- like Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, Rocco DeLuca (the first signing to Kiefer Sutherland’s label), and Myles Kennedy, chosen to front Slash’s supporting tour for the record -- along the way.
To what extent is a reputation untouchable? Guns N' Roses released Appetite For Destruction in 1987; 22 years on the band are all double the age they were upon releasing their seminal work, and treading on former glories to say the least. Of course, much is said about Axl Rose and, with his diva behaviour, Madame Tussauds face and ill-advised retention of the GNR name, they have good reason. But what of Slash? Somehow a man from Stoke who has worn a top hat for the best part of his adult life has managed to escape ridicule, even going so far as to be revered as an unimpeachable icon of cool, in a sort of MTV-ish way.
More of a fender bender than the disastrous musical pile-up it could have been. Adam Kennedy 2010 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.