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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Duff McKagan’s Loaded

Sick

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of an older album but Duff McKagan’s Loaded. It’s a new special edition and features two bonus tracks. In addition there’s a concert DVD included as the second disc. The one complaint I have about the DVD is that there are interview bit interspersed amongst the live footage. That wouldn’t be an issue if there were an option to watch the whole concert without those interview clips, but there isn’t. Of course, this DVD is a bonus to the CD, so you can only complain so much. That’s the same problem I have with Black Sabbath’s Last Supper DVD, among others and with that one the DVD is the only item there – so it’s a bigger flaw. The CD here combines a classic Guns N Roses sound with punk rock and other elements. All in all, this is a great set that would have been better with a little more thought to the DVD mechanics.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sick

The guitar sound that starts this is especially cool. It fires into a riff that’s like the aggressive side of Guns N Roses, but when it works out to the main song structure it’s closer to something from The Sex Pistols. Yes, it’s that punk like. There are a couple killer guitar solos on the number.

Sleaze Factory
The arrangement here is more stripped down and raw. The rhythm section drives it with a cool vibe. There is definitely a techno sound included here, but the punk and stripped down rock elements dominate.
Flatline
Take a psychedelically tinged Beatles style vibe and add the raw GNR type sound and you’ll understand the introduction here. As it fires out into the song proper it’s got a more punk vibe. In a lot of ways that hard rocking sound blended with Beatles-like vocal hook makes this feel like King’s X.
IOU
There’s a cool pulsing vibe to this raw tune. In a lot of ways it doesn’t vary much from the music we’ve heard so far, but the vocal hook is quite catchy. This feels a bit like New York Dolls meets King’s X. An almost Cure-like sound emerges later that’s quite cool.
The Slide
The drums really drive this thing, and it’s very much a punk rock tune. This is quite tasty.
Translucent
More of a classic rock sound pervades this, and it’s one of the highlights of the set. The vocal arrangement is one of the best on show and the cool riff that drives it is classic.
Mother's Day
A huge change of pace, this is a melodic tune that’s rather ballad-like. It’s cool.
I See Through You
The most GNR-like tune on show here, this really rocks.
Forgive Me
A high energy and rather punky sound dominates this, but there’s almost a bit of an old-school psychedelic vibe at times.
No Shame
Here’s another cut with a lot of GNR built into it. It’s more melodic than some of the other music, but doesn’t sacrifice raw rock and roll to get that melodious element.
Blind Date Girl
A more stripped down arrangement, in some ways this isn’t dramatically different from the rest of the material here. The thing is, there’s almost a blending of country music with the punk and hard rock sounds. That makes this a bit different. It’s certainly one of the tunes that earns this a parental advisory for the lyrics.
Wasted Heart
A slow moving and mellow tune, this is balladic in that aspect. It’s still got a real raw rock and roll sound to it, though. It rises up like a power ballad later. There’s definitely some blues on this piece, along with some hints of country. I’d probably compare this to something from Joe Perry.
No More
The grinding beat of this cut and a few other elements bring almost a rockabilly vibe to the piece. But, that sound is shifted with a punk meets raw hard rock sound to make this a creation that’s entirely Duff McKagan. There’s a cool melodic section later in the tune.
Roll Away
It’s amazing to me that this is a bonus track because it’s one of the best pieces of the whole set. Punk meets classic rock on this power ballad. It’s a killer tune that’s very much in keeping with a GNR sound. There’s a cool melodic guitar solo on this that feels a bit jazzy. We get some cool harder rocking music later in the song.
Wasted Heart (Acoustic)
As the title suggests, this is an acoustic guitar driven version of the song from earlier in the set. Since it’s a bonus track, it’s extremely strong. I think I would have reversed the order of the two bonus tracks to make a stronger close to the disc, though.
 
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