Is A Sinner Too
All Gonna Die
Dik Hayd Records
April 6, 2010
we go again. Let's try this one more time.
Since leaving Guns 'N' Roses centuries ago, the Guns guitarist has
been active as a solo artist and as part of the short-lived band
project Velvet Revolver. He's also landed himself a few guest spots
here and there, but nothing has ever really clicked. His previous
solo efforts are somewhat weak, and the Velvet Revolver stuff sounded
like another G'N' R attempt. So what's to be expected this time
around? Hold on to your silver conch infested top hats, folks.
Slash made a few phone calls and sent a few more emails preparing
for this disc. And, I would say he got an inbox full of responses
and a few more voicemails. Some of the friends that lend the guitarist
a hand are Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Ozzy Osbourne, Adam Levine
(Maroon 5), and Black Eyed Peas funk diva, Fergie. Yeah, I know
try and stay with me.
When I hear of so many different singers on an album, I almost expect
continuity and flow to be sacrificed. Many albums that have a ton
of guests seem to become very choppy and sporadic. The songs often
lack a cohesive feel, and song placement can often feel awkward.
So, when I heard of all these different singers, especially coming
from a wide variety of musical styles, I was a bit fearful. Now
that I've listened to Slash, I fear not for the guitar god known
as Slash has finally arrived.
I don't know how he's done it, but he has. This set of excellent
songs has great flow and it paces itself beautifully. And, even
with 12 very different singers, these songs cruise like a fully
loaded locomotive - every track hitched to the one in front of it
and staying on track.
From this point on, the only way to tell you about this one is to
review it track-by-track
"Ghost" - The Cult's Ian Astbury sings this one
and it's a real winner. Slash lays down one of his "Sweet Child
O' Mine"- type of riffs, and it totally drives the song. Astbury
can sometimes be a bit overbearing with that monster voice of his,
but he keeps things at a minimum here. It comes across more in the
sly Billy Idol style than anything that Astbury has done with The
Cult. Fantastic lead off track.
"Crucify The Dead"
- Enter Ozzy. This is the classic Ozzy sound with him singing about
the relationship between Slash and Axl Rose. He sings, "We
had the same dream/Live life to the extreme/A loaded gun jammed
by a rose." This is another steady rocker that would fit quite
well on Ozzy's No More Tears record, but better yet, it fits perfectly
right here as track #2.
- Oh baby! Here she is, ladies and gentlemen. This is Fergie's time
to shine, and shine she does. She also punches you right in the
face. Her powerful voice and the serious bite she gives this tune
make it one of the best tunes on a record loaded with excellent
material. This has a great sing-along anthem-type chorus, and the
verses will have you bobbing your head like some kind of funky chicken
with a real badass 'tude. Awesome stuff to behold, over and over.
"Back From Cali"
- This song arguably features the most talented singer on the record,
Myles Kennedy. Immediately upon hearing the first words of this
song, the hair on my arm stood on end. Former vocalist for Alter
Bridge, this guy has an amazing voice. He is the only singer to
appear on two songs, and this first tune is one of the catchiest.
It starts with a bluesy guitar and vocal, and then explodes into
an homage anthem to sunny California. This is the one that will
keep you up at night with a headache because you can't stop singing
it over and over and over in your head.
- Chris Cornell - another amazingly talented singer with a great
natural ability. This song is one with a very catchy refrain that
gets hammered home more than a few (hundred) times. A simple little
song really, but Cornell's tone and Slash's nice guitar work make
it a nice addition.
"By The Sword"
- Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale has that certain fire. It's the
kind of burning that you find in the younger, hungrier rock stars.
One of the best written songs on the record, Stockdale's voice gives
this a serious mood that fits perfectly into the set. With Stockdale's
distinct sound, this one sounds like it's straight off of a Wolfmother
record. And, as a big fan of Wolfmother, that's a damn good thing.
- This is really the first ballad of the album, and it comes at
the perfect time. With Maroon 5's Adam Levine taking us under his
wing with his lilting tenor, this is a welcome addition. Much like
Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, Adam Levine has an unmistakable
sound. So this song sounds like it's stripped cleanly from a Maroon
5 record. And, being a fan of Maroon 5 as well, it's all good.
- From a lilting ballad to the harshest voice on the planet, and
somehow it works seamlessly. Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister handles
the vocal duties on this one, and it's a rough and tumble rocker,
as you might expect. This is fairly reminiscent of a typical Motorhead
song, and it fits nicely here.
"Watch This" -
Here's the lone instrumental on the record, and it does act as the
bad child that's been placed in the corner. It's a decent instrumental
with some nice guitar work from our host, but it does interrupt
the flow of this set just a bit. Now, the run time of the track
is only 3:47, so it's a very slight hiccup. Not that I don't like
the track, I just don't like it much here.
"I Hold On"
- This one features Kid Rock on vocals; and when I say "vocals,"
I really mean it. We hear the Kid doing a power ballad-type song,
leaving his rap/rock attitude on the shelf. Not so sure that's a
great thing, though. With Slash's dirty tone, and that Kid Rock
bulldog rap style, I think they could've made some real magic. But,
even though this track is pretty formulaic, it has a nice hook and
it's worthy of a listen.
"Nothing To Say"
- Here's a superfast grinder that has Slash playing one of his most
complex and speedy solos on the record. With Avenged Sevenfold singer
M. Shadows with the mic in hand, this turns out to be a nice heavy
rocker that sounds quite different from the rest of the record.
This is the song where Slash gets permission to lose control and
let it all loose, which is alright by me.
- Here's the other song featuring Myles Kennedy, and it's another
that has the ability to send a shiver. He makes this thing soar
with that powerful, uplifting voice. Slash follows him with beautifully
manicured guitar work. This is a wonderful song with a rousing chorus
that will keep you singing way after you turn the disc off.
"Saint Is A Sinner Too" -
.who the heck is that? Yeah well, look him
up. It'll be worth your time. An indie artist out of California
that has opened for Taj Mahal, John Mayall and John Lee Hooker,
he's known for playing a mean Dobro. This song has a certain edginess
to it. The tension of DeLuca's voice is intriguing to say the very
least. This is one that you might either love or hate. I personally
think it's an excellent addition. It has a little bit of a Coheed
and Cambria mood to it, with its quiet approach. The impressive
instrumentation sounds like a classical or Spanish style guitar,
backed by a soft marching drum roll. The most unique and fascinating
song on the record, hands down.
"We're All Gonna Die"
- Punk legend Iggy Pop sings, "We're all gonna die/So let's
get high/We're all gonna die/So let's be nice/I'm in the mood/So
let's intrude/Pee on the ground/And jump around." As you might
guess, he sounds right at home singing this one. But wait, this
really doesn't have a rabid punk feel to it. It's a pretty steady
rock song formula, with Iggy doing his best Billy Idol impression
in the verses. But, any song that starts with the line "Gee,
I really like your tits"
..you just gotta love it.
This is an amazing record on many levels really. The main reasons
I appreciate this record so much is because of the cohesive "complete
album" feel. It's not 14 separate songs on a little silver
disc. It really has a "beginning to end" kind of presence
about it. The other thing I really appreciate is the fact that it's
not trying to be another Guns 'N' Roses record. I think we've all
had our fill of those by now, right? Slash has reinvented himself
here, abandoning the G 'N' R safety net entirely.
Finally, it's time to give kudos to all of the guest artists on
this record. They are all brilliant. Slash employs former Guns members
Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler, along with Dave Grohl
and superstar studio drummer Josh Freese (among many others) to
round out the album. Everyone involved with this record was firing
on all cylinders, and the result is a magically fine tuned street
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