Archive for May 12, 2010

Slash – s/t (2010, EMI)

  1. Ghost (featuring Ian Astbury)
  2. Crucify The Dead (featuring Ozzy Osbourne)
  3. Beautiful Dangerous (featuring Fergie)
  4. Back From Cali (featuring Myles Kennedy)
  5. Promise (featuring Chris Cornell)
  6. By the Sword (featuring Andrew Stockdale from Wolfmother)
  7. Gotten (featuring Adam Levine)
  8. Doctor Alibi (featuring Lemmy Kilmister)
  9. Watch This Dave (featuring Dave Grohl & Duff McKagan)
  10. I Hold On (featuring Kid Rock)
  11. Nothing To Say (featuring M Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold)
  12. Starlight (featuring Myles Kennedy)
  13. Saint Is A Sinner Too (featuring Rocco DeLuca)
  14. We’re All Gonna Die (featuring Iggy Pop)

Musicians:
Slash – Guitars
Josh Freese – Drums & Percussion on track #13
Chris Chaney – Bass
Leonard Castro – Percussion
Dave Grohl – Drums (track #9)
Duff McKagan – Bass (track #9)
Steve Ferrone – Drums (track #12)
Lemmy Kilmister – Distorted Bass (track #8)
Izzy Stradlin – Rhythm Guitar (track #1)
Eric Valentine – Piano/Keyboards (track #1 & #10)

Producer: Eric Valentine

Country: USA

Total Time = 60:29

Slash
Slash MySpace page

Slash is a guitar icon, there is no denying that. Back in 1987 when Guns ‘N Roses was conquering the Hard Rock world with APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION, Slash became a household name. He had signature riffs and solos in that dangerous sleaze the Gunners called a record but he also had the look: denim and leather, long hair hiding his face and a Ritchie Blackmore styled top-hat that has become as identifiable as the main riff of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. He took Hard Rock guitar and made it dirty and dangerous again at a time when the latest guitar wizards were trying to outdo each other by over-indulging in the works of the great Eddie Van Halen. It’s been hard to escape Slash over the last 23 years…..he’s had success with GNR, Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and various session work but now we get the first ever Slash solo album, SLASH.

When I first heard of this albums release, I was psyched because I thought it was going to be a Slash’s Snakepit album. I was a big fan of the Snakepit (I thought those two records were great) so I figured the natural progression was to revisit his mid-90s solo vehicle. I guess a lot of people thought this would be a Snakepit record because Slash himself announced that this was going to be a true solo album with a ton of guest stars. In my opinion, this can be hit or miss but there has been recent successes that prove Slash could create a similar situation. Carlos Santana was able to achive mega multi-platinum success with SUPERNATURAL (1999) and SHAMAN (2002), Tony Iommi released a self-titled solo album in 2000 to critical acclaim and former Nirvana/Foo Fighters mainman Dave Grohl surprised everyone with his Probot side project…..if these guys can do it then why not Slash? Without hesitation, I bought the record. I already knew that there were some guest stars like Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) and Adam Levine (Maroon 5) that I knew would suck but there were some Metal guest stars that made it worthwhile in Ozzy and Lemmy and Rock stars like Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Ian Astbury (The Cult).

Opening the record is ‘Ghost’ with Ian Astbury and it has a cool riff but it sounds like danceable Cult meets The Doors. Astbury has been moonlighting with the reunited Doors as a replacement for the late Jim Morrison and you can hear his Morrison impression all over this song. Next up is Ozzy singing ‘Crucify the Dead’. I thought this would be a heavy track, something metallic and there certainly was some potential but it’s a disappointment for me. Ozzy sounds good but the song is a mid-tempo/ballady style song and it could have been so much more when you have the Prince of Darkness at your disposal. ‘Beautiful Dangerous’ is Pop diva Fergie’s chance to do her best Alanis Morrisette impression and it actually works a little but you can just tell she can’t sing, I mean really sing. ‘Back From Cali’ features Myles Kennedy, who is singing for Slash’s live band and is best known for his time in the Creed off-shoot Alter Bridge and, most importantly, as Thor “God of Thunder” in the Mark Wahlberg movie ROCK STAR. I’ve never heard Myles sing in Alter Bridge but I thought he did a good job on ‘Stand Up’ from the ROCK STAR movie so I figured that there could be an uptempo Hard Rock  song in the making. I was wrong…..more heavy mid-tempo stuff that sounds like the current state of modern Rock. I had hope for the Chris Cornell track ‘Promise’ but it’s more of the same mid-tempo stuff that Ozzy and Myles have already done. Cornell is a versatile vocalist like Kennedy but I prefer his more aggressive style and this song is geared toward mainstream acceptance instead of hard rockin’.

(I’m only 5 songs in and I already want to stop listening…..very disappointed so far!)

Moving forward…..Andrew Stockdale from Wolfmother comes in to sing on the acoustic driven, southern styled, mid-tempo ballad ‘By The Sword’. I’m not really sure who Stockdale or Wolfmother is but I have heard the names and I guess they are popular, I thought this was the guy from The White Stripes and he kind of sounds like him with all the effects on his voice. ‘Gotten’ announces Slash’s joining the lightweight Pop Rock band Maroon 5 by coming up with another slow ballad featuring Adam Levine. The solos and underlying guitarwork is calm, cool and smooth but I’m looking for something gritty and dirty with a touch of GnR sleaze…..at least give me a little Velvet Revolver here! If this is the first single on the album, Slash is going to get an easy Gold record and chart success but his album will have to be filed with the Maroon 5 CDs! Could it get any worse? At least we have Lemmy to jumpstart the album off life support with the ‘Doctor Alibi’. This is the best song on the album for me and could easily fit onto a Motorhead record as one of Lemmy’s more toned down songs. Slash is joined by fellow GnR alum, and Velvet Revolver bandmate, Duff McKagan and Foo Fighters mainman Dave Grohl (who I respect a lot as a creative musician) for the heavy instrumental ‘Watch This Dave’. There is some excellent Hard Rock guitar here and the three guys sound really tight, too bad they didn’t get some lyrics and put somone (Grohl perhaps?) on the mic. I can’t believe I’m going to say that an insturmental is one of the best tracks…..but I am.

So there is light in the middle of the record but Kid Rock is up next and I’m not a big fan of his Rap-Rock hybrid but he does a good job on ‘I Hold On’ with his southern Skynyrd vocal. There’s something about Kid Rock that I like when he actually sings and has a decent Rock arrangement around him, ‘I Hold On’ has a heavy main riff but it slows down to a southern drawl. Of all the mid-tempo/slow songs, I like this one best so we’ll call this another good song making it three in a row. ‘Nothing To Say’ features Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows on vocals and I really wasn’t sure what to make of this pairing right away because I’ve never heard anything from Avenged Sevenfold. The song opens with a thick Black Sabbath opening riff and moves into fast machine gun style riffing that reminds me of the energy of that first GnR record and maybe a bit of Dave grohl’s Foo Fighters when they rock. If Avenged Sevenfold sounds anything like this song then I will definitely check the band out…..for Slash, this is the second best song on the album making it a solid four in a row!

Myles Kennedy comes back for his second song, ‘Starlight’, another mid-tempo/ballad paced song that is really generic until the chorus where there is a little energy. Singer/songwriter Rocco DeLuca adds his vocal to ‘Saint Is A Sinner Too’ and it’s similar to the Adam Levine and Chris Cornell tracks in the slow ballad pacing and the Pop friendly vocal. I guess this would be good on DeLuca’s solo albums but I just expect a lot more from a Slash record. The album thankfully ends with the Slash and Iggy Pop collaboration ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ that has an opening riff that makes the song sound promising in a garage rock sort of way. Then Iggy opens his mouth and sings the first line: “Gee I really like your tits, I’ll say anything that fits.” Anything promising with this song died when I heard this opening line and there is no recovering. It’s one thing to be a 60+ rocker and sing a song with that type of lyric that you wrote when you were in your early 20s (Gene Simmons anyone?) but to write a fresh song at age 63 with that line…..I don’t care if your a Rock/Punk/Alternative icon, it’s ridiculous. I give Gene the business when he does it and he’s in my favorite band!

Bottom Line:
Very disappointed. Probably the most disappointing album so far this year! I’m not going to say that the album sucks because I understand what Slash is trying to do and there are a few good songs here. Slash is a Rock icon, debate his talents all you want but he is unique in his playing and style to get put with Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen as far as a recognizable Rock guitarists. I can’t blame the guy for wanting to branch out and explore new styles, work with new people and try new things. Slash is a musician and a good musician isn’t afraid to experiment but, when the new album is marketed to a certain type of fan, the experiment fails. If I walked into a room full of Rock fans and said I heard the new Slash solo album, the obvious question would be “Does it Rock?”. That’s because Slash is Rock, he is identified as a Hard Rock guitar player, part of one of the biggest Hard Rock bands to have ever taken the stage. The album is advertised in Hard Rock/Heavy Metal magazines and websites, the marketing is geared toward the Hard Rock/Metal fan. Look at the album cover…..looks like a rocking album to me. Looks can be deceiving and this record is just that. The point is that this album barely rocks. I like 5 out of 14 songs here and the Ozzy track didn’t make it but the instrumental did! I’ve played this CD a lot just so I could make sure that I wasn’t being too critical and missing something…..I didn’t miss anything at all. I will file this album away and probably never listen to it again.

Favorite Songs:
‘Ghost’, ‘Doctor Alibi’, ‘Watch This Dave’, ‘I Hold On’, ‘Nothing To Say’