I think out of the original Guns N’ Roses members he has proven the most interesting. To put it in context – whilst Axl spent 13 years recording a mediocre album, Duff went to University graduating with a degree in Finance, and now runs his own Finance Company offering advice for musicians. He also writes financial columns for Playboy. During all of this he reunited with some of his Gn’R bandmates and recorded and toured two Velvet Revolver albums, and recorded and toured two of his own ‘…Loaded’ band albums.
Now he’s back with album number 3 from Duff McKagan’s Loaded; The Taking. First out are “Lords of Abbadon” and “Executioner’s Song” kick starting the mood with straight-forward punk rockers complete with sing-a-long group choruses.
However it is with track three, “Dead Skin” where things really move up a gear. Not that the first two tracks aren’t melodic, but “Dead Skin” is bordering on anthemic. It is great little number and Duff’s vocals are excellent.
This anthemic sound and quality vocals continue with the extremely catchy “We Win” and “Easier Lying”. In truth the rest of the album is anthemic, slower and less ‘punk’ than how it started. It is clear as early as the halfway mark that The Taking is a top-drawer rock album. It is on this album where Duff really steps out from the shadows of his more famous ex-band members.
It should be said that the music is not genre-defining, going anywhere new, or laced with huge guitar solos / set pieces but is everything you would expect from someone with such a huge and impressive legacy. The musicianship is excellent and the sum of its parts takes the album above simply ‘standard fare’. The Taking is consistent and strong throughout, begging for a repeat play.
Stand out track for me is the fantastic “Indian Summer” which has everything you would want from a modern classic. Duff and his band are currently touring Europe and I for one will definitely be catching them at this year’s Download Festival here in the UK hoping for “Indian Summer” to make the set list!
The Taking is definitely worth picking up and giving a spin – you will be impressed.
Buy from Amazon: The Taking