I am a Guns N’ Roses fan. Not the version which Axl Rose currently parades around the Globe, but the band who were the original line-up. You know, the one that released Appetite for Destruction and Lies. So many stunning tracks, so many memorable guitar licks. Since Guitarist Slash left that version of Gn’R, the sum of his output, first with Snakepit and then Velvet Revolver hasn’t equalled the heights of his previous work. Last year when I read he was releasing a solo album I had low hopes for it. However, debut solo album Slash, is a little piece of genius and became my favourite album of 2010.
The album has almost as many different vocalists as it has songs, from rock stalwarts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Astbury, and Chris Cornell to seemingly left-field choices like Fergie. On first listen it sounds very piecemeal, almost like a compilation album. This can be viewed upon as a negative, but quickly that passes and what you’re left with is a new warmth and edge given to each song that the different vocalist brings. Generally, the album has the rock edge and sound you would expect from an album by Slash, but remember he worked with Lenny Kravitz and Michael Jackson in the past and more recently Rihanna, so there are some surprises in here too. No greater evident than on “Beautiful Dangerous” the Fergie-led track, which in truth is one of the best on the album.
Slash’s guitar playing throughout the album is immaculate. His signature licks run through it, and whilst there is no obvious “Sweet Child O’Mine”-type guitar-piece there are plenty fantastic riffs from start to finish. There is also something better, and often overlooked when guitarists make solo albums; a collection of great songs you want to listen to again and again. Standout tracks in particular include the aforementioned “Beautiful Dangerous”, “Doctor Alibi” (with Lemmy on vocals), “Starlight” and “By The Sword”.
As a Guns N’ Roses fan it does make me stop and ask just what a 2010 Guns N’ Roses album could have sounded like had his talent remained within the fold of the good ship Axl. Ironically it doesn’t matter, Slash’s solo album is far superior to that of anything either Axl or Slash has released since 1993, and at least now it is clear one of them has become extremely comfortable with their legacy; and this album is all the better for it.