Slash : Apocalyptic Love
Slash's self-titled debut solo album from a few years ago (not counting his Slash's Snakepit releases, of course) was a cracker, with vocal performances from guests including Ozzy, Fergie, Lemmy, Dave Grohl, M. Shadows, The Cult's Ian Astbury, Andrew Stockdale, Chris Cornell and more. One of the standout vocalists on the set was Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, who did such a killer job that he was enlisted for the subsequent world tour, which included several swings by Australia. Kennedy is the sole vocalist on Apocalyptic Love with backing provided from Slash's band, The Conspirators. Even the cover hints that this is no more Slash II.
So how does the new set stack up to its predecessor? Well for starters, it's a much more unified experience. That's to be expected as Slash featured so many guest musicians, both vocally and instrumentally. However just as the sheer eclecticism of contributors worked in the previous album's favour, the steady lineup and consistent sonic setting works just fine for this one. It feels like this is what Slash should be doing. The last one set him up as a viable solo artist outside of Guns N' Roses or Velvet Revolver and this one lets him just get on with the important business of being Slash. The material ranges from up-tempo, wah-wah driven rockers like the album-opener (and title track) to the neoclassical-tinged material like Anastasia. Anastasia even sees Slash unleash his hitherto unrecorded Yngwie Malmsteen chops! Who knew, huh? With the exception of Far And Away and Not For Me the material is generally fast-paced and hard-rockin', and nothing ever crosses over into 'power ballad' territory. This is the Slash of You Could Be Mine rather than November Rain. Some of the material has FM Rock Radio Hit written all over it such as Bad Rain and You're A Lie, while others hint at almost Sabbath-like darkness. Kennedy's voice is an acquired taste but he handles the material with ease, whether hitting the high notes Axl-style or employing moodier textures. Throughout Apocalyptic Love Slash plays like a man possessed. Those who always considered him to be the bluesy antithesis to his more shredding contemporaries might even be surprised at just how nimble his playing truly is.
BY PETER HODGSON
Best Track: You're A Lie
If You Like This, You'll Like These: BUCKCHERRY, GUNS N' ROSES, ELECTRIC MARY
In A Word: Rockworthy