Narendra Kusnur's music musings …

Apocalyptic Love/ Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators

Genre: Rock

Dik Hayd Records-EMI Music/ Rs 395

Rating: ****

IT’S been 25 years since guitarist Slash barged on to the global spotlight with the Guns N’ Roses debut album ‘Appetite For Destruction’, featuring the anthems ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’. Overnight, he earned the reputation of being one of the best guitarists ever — something which he’s maintained till now.

Though Slash is identified most with his GNR days, he’s been up to a variety of things since he quit the band in 1996, first concentrating on his side project Slash’s Snakepit, which he’d formed a couple of years earlier, and later forming the group Velvet Revolver. In 2010, he released his eponymous solo album, featuring star guests like Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Kid Rock and Iggy Pop.

The guitar god’s latest release ‘Apocalyptic Love’ is being touted as his second solo album, though the cover title ‘Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ makes it sound like a new band altogether. Kennedy, known for his work with Alter Bridge, chips in with vocals, while drummer Brent Fritz and bassist Todd Kerns firm up the rhythm section.

What’s interesting, of course, is that for the first time, Slash doesn’t employ any GNR musician. Snakepit featured the band’s drummer Matt Sorum and rhythm guitarist Gilby Clarke, Velvet Revolver had Sorum and bassist Duff McKagan, and the first solo album had guest appearances by McKagan, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin and drummer Steven Adler.

Expectedly, this is an out-and-out Slash album, showcasing his enormous skills. Each song has a noteworthy riff, and fans will naturally go ga-ga over the consistent axemanship. Sound-wise, this is a typical hard rock album, with most songs sticking to the 80s schoolbook, with obvious influences of Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Van Halen and needless to say, GNR.

Of the songs, the clear favourite is ‘Anastasia’, which begins with an acoustic flamenco intro, and contains some of the most awesome guitarwork Slash has ever displayed. Surely, this has all the makings of a rock classic, and in a world where fans remember anthems more than intricate album details, this should remain popular for a few years to come.

Other winners are the ballad ‘Far and Away’, where Kennedy sounds real good, the melodic and infectious ‘No More Heroes’, the disillusionment-filled ‘Standing In The Sun’, which has a splendid guitar coda, and ‘You’re a Lie’, which talks of being cheated, using hard-hitting lines like ‘I’m fragile but I’m not a fool, and I won’t hear a word from you’.

In fact, a sense of darkness pervades many songs, from the wah-wah-guitar-spiced title track to the punk-meets-thrash number ‘One Last Thrill’ and the self-pitying ‘Not For Me’, where Kennedy sings: ‘This is not for me, no, this life is not for me, no, this is not for me any more.’

Much as the album has many highs, one also finds a lot of routine stuff like ‘Halo’, ‘We Will Roam’ and the weak closing piece ‘Shots Fired’. Vocalist Kennedy seems to suit the compositions, and he might be your typical rock singer, but clearly lacks that X-Factor possessed by the likes of Ian Gillan, Ronnie James Dio or Axl Rose.

In the overall picture, that shouldn’t matter, though. Fans will specially look out for Slash’s work, and he’s in supreme form throughout. When it comes to being innovative and playing spitfire spells, he clearly displays an ‘appetite for construction’. ‘Apocalyptic Love’ is a perfect way to celebrate his silver jubilee.

 RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Classic


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