Monday, October 15, 2012

Slash (Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators) - Apocalyptic Love (Deluxe Edition)

Slash (Featuring Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators)
Apocalyptic Love (Deluxe Edition)
Dik Hayd Records/Sony Music Entertainment Australia

Few would dispute that Slash is a great guitarist and song writer. After all, he played a major role in shaping the original Guns N’ Roses’ classic hard rock sound. But being a guitar legend isn’t the be all/end all to making truly inspired music, with Slash’s post Guns N’ Roses career regarded as patchy at best. To put it in simple terms, his work with Slash’s Snakepit (1995’s ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere’ and 2000’s ‘Ain’t Life Grand’) were quite enjoyable and solid efforts, but his efforts with Velvet Revolver (2004’s ‘Contraband’ and 2007’s ‘Libertad’) and his last solo album (2010’s ‘Slash’) were downright forgettable.
It was quite obvious that vocalist/rhythm guitarist Myles Kennedy (Ex-The Mayfield Four/Alter Bridge) was the definite star on Slash’s last effort (Kennedy sang on two of the album’s tracks), and this was further reinforced when Slash took Kennedy out on the road in support of the album (Which was documented on 2010’s ‘Live In Manchester’ album and 2011’s live D.V.D. ‘Live In Stoke 24/7/11’).
Given the strength of Slash’s most recent live band, and Slash’s own past track record, I was really interested to see what magic Slash, Kennedy and his band The Conspirators (Comprising of bassist/backing vocals Todd Kerns and drummer/pianist Brent Fitz) could conjure up in the studio. And in short, ‘Apocalyptic Love’ is without a doubt Slash’s strongest solo effort to date.
The album opens up in classic rock fashion with the driving title track ‘Apocalyptic Love’. The funk edged riffing is classic Slash in sound, while Kennedy’s killer vocals and melodies give the song a dimension that has at times been lacking in Slash’s past efforts.
From here, the objective is simple – Dish out some classic riffs, make the songs rock and catchy enough to sing along to. And sure enough, Slash and his band deliver their promise on every track.
‘One Last Thrill’ is a great fast paced cut with Kennedy giving the track a bit of punk attitude with his snarled vocals, while tracks such as ‘You’re A Lie’, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘We Will Roam’, the slow blues-like groove of ‘Bad Rain’, the energetic ‘Shots Fired’ and speeding/high octane ‘Hard & Fast’ are all first class hard rockers.
But while there’s plenty of hard rock delivered throughout the album, Slash and Kennedy have managed to venture a little outside the predictable hard rock format, with Slash providing some inspiring extended acoustic and electric fretwork on ‘Anastasia’, while on the melancholy ‘Not For Me’ and ‘Far And Away’, the combined talents of Kennedy and Slash really produce some of the album’s truly exceptional and memorable efforts.
On the deluxe edition version of ‘Apocalyptic Love’, the album is bolstered by an additional two tracks and a D.V.D.
The first track ‘Carolina’ is a great tune that has a distinctly ‘70’s vibe with its funky guitar sounds and groove via a talk box, while the second track ‘Crazy Life’ is a anthem-like rocker, and a perfect track to close the album with.
The D.V.D. is a twenty-eight minute making of ‘Apocalyptic Love’, which gives fans an inside perspective on those within the band (All of whom are surprisingly ego free and easy going) and a brief rundown on the making of the album. The D.V.D. is hardly groundbreaking, but a cool bonus.
Slash’s legendary status as a guitarist has never been denied. But in terms of solo output, it’s clear that a great guitarist will never make up for a shortfall in quality song writing. But while Slash has failed to deliver a truly consistent album in the past, his latest effort alongside Kennedy has finally shown what can be done with the right co-conspirator.
Slash isn’t reinventing himself one bit on ‘Apocalyptic Love’, but he has at last made a consistent and truly enjoyable kick ass classic hard rock album. And really, that’s exactly what I was hoping for from Slash.

For more information on Slash, check out - http://www.slashonline.com/

© Justin Donnelly