Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Slash Returns To Rock And Roll Roots On Apocalyptic Love

There are many iconic musicians who can get by with using only one name. You have Sting, Bono, Cher and Prince. There’s also an iconic guitarist that needs to be added to that list. He’s almost as iconic for his black top hat and flowing dark hair as he is for his legendary riffs in Guns and Roses.

Saul Hudson, known to his fans as Slash, released his first solo album back in 2010 and it was received well by critics and fans alike. He had numerous guest vocalists on it including Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and the one and only Myles Kennedy. Slash took Miles out on the road with him to promote the album and the two formed a musical bond that was itching to get into the studio and start recording.

Apocalyptic Love is the product of that musical kinmanship between Slash and Myles. This album is so much different than his first solo album and I mean that in the best way. It’s stronger lyrically because of the excellent songwriting skills that Myles brings to the table. Also, the fact that Myles is the lone vocalist on this album allows the connection between the singer and lyrics to be presented in a stronger, more emotional delivery.

The album kicks off with the title track and the riff that’s layed down is a strong indicator that this is going to be more of a rock and roll freight train than Slash’s last effort. Myles kicks in with his insane vocal prowess and the bar is immediately raised from the last solo effort by Slash.

It doesn’t take long before you realize that Slash is playing with a renewed sense of urgency. Don’t get me wrong, he has always been an amazing guitar player, but Myles seems to have awoken a sleeping beast. It’s been quite a few years since Slash has played with this much passion and intensity.

Speaking of beasts, “Anastasia” is exactly that. What starts off as a beautiful acoustic piece, suddenly changes gears as Slash plugs in his electric and starts wailing away on it. This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things he has created in his illustrious career. The vocal performance by Myles is so passionate and convincing and the harmonies on the chorus just take the song to another level. As far as solos go, it may be the best solo Slash has recorded since the Use Your Illusion sessions.

 If you’re looking for a powerful ballad, then look no further. “Far and Away” is just what the rock and blues doctor ordered. It’s a beautiful composition and Myles is just amazing. It has a bit of a bluesy flavor to it and Slash slows down the shredding to deliver a slower, yet just as powerful solo. Raise your lighters high in the air on this one; it will light up an entire arena.

Now, I know some of you out there just can’t get enough of the old Guns and Roses classics. Well, fret not metal heads because there are a few tracks on here that just may take you back in time to their heyday. I dare you to play “One Last Thrill” and “Shots Fired” and tell me that they don’t have that classic G-n-R flavor to them.

It’s really hard to find any major faults with this release. Slash and Myles have definitely raised the bar on this new release. The bond that developed between the two of them while out on tour is one of enormous magnitude. I can’t take anything away from the rest of the band either. The combination of Todd Kerns on bass and Brent Fitz on drums help to round out this lethal lineup.

I can’t wait to hear this material performed live. I hope that Slash will do a tour and not just play festivals. A headline tour of his own would allow for a longer set-list and more time to highlight this amazing piece of art. We’re almost mid-way through 2012 and Apocalyptic Love is one of the most solid releases to come out this year.    

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