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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Slash

Made in Stoke 24/7/11

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always liked Guns N Roses. I’ve always felt Slash is one of the most under-rated and best guitarists out there. He’s one of those guys that always seems to know just what to play in any part of any song. Maybe that’s part of why he’s so under-rated. His playing is more about doing what’s right for the song than it is about showing off. Well, this new live album includes Velvet Revolver music, GNR songs and Slash solo material all recorded live. It’s a great disc. I’d have to say that the GNR stuff sounds more like Guns N Roses to me than the live recordings I’ve heard from Axel Rose and company these days. This is highly recommended to all fans of GNR, Slash and hard rock in general.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Been There Lately

Aggressive and a little punky, this is a killer tune that rocks out. There’s also some real rock and roll built into it.

Night Train
While this is, in some ways, much like the previous tune, there’s more of a Guns N Roses feeling to it.
Ghost
I love the killer rocking groove on this one. It’s a hard edged and catchy number that works very well. They take this straight into the next tune.
Mean Bone

While the overall approach isn’t all that different, this rocker stands on its own. It’s got a lot of oomph built into it.

Back From Cali
There’s a great rock and roll sound on the guitar line that opens this. The first vocals enter with that (unadorned) backdrop. They power it out on the chorus. This one deserves a parental advisory on the lyrics.
Rocket Queen
While this is, overall, more of the same, it’s also a smoking hot tune that has its own unique identity.
Civil War
This time around they turn their attention to a Guns N Roses tune, and it’s an awesome one at that. This is an excellent live rendering and the vocals sound a lot like Axel Rose. There’s a little bit of Hendrix thrown in at the end.
Nothing To Say
Here they turn things pretty metallic. The opening section is more of a plodding metal sound. Then it works out to something more like thrash. There’s a smoking hot instrumental section based on that slower metal sound later in the piece.
Starlight
After a short hard edged section that has “Slash” written all over it, it drops down for a mellower movement that’s bluesy. It’s not that far removed from something like The Black Crowes. As it powers out for the harder rocking version of the main musical themes, those same comparisons are valid. This is a real mainstream rocker. While it’s cool, it’s perhaps not a highlight of the set. It’s more old fashioned rock than a lot of the music here.
Promise
This one’s a straightforward rocker in the same vein as the first few pieces here.
Disc 2
Doctor Alibi
Slash introduces this by saying it was co-written by Lemmy Kilminster. It definitely has a bit of a Motorhead vibe to it. This is a real screamer and it works very well. It also gets one of those advisory notes for the lyrics.
Speed Parade
Here’s a cut that’s more metallic. It’s got a killer riff driving it with a great groove. I like this one a lot.
Watch This
This tune is a unique one. It features some awesome guitar soloing from Slash and is, perhaps, closest to a technical progressive metal sound. It’s an instrumental and covers a ton of musical territory. This thing really rocks!
Beggars & Hangers On
Another piece that has a bit of that Black Crowes vibe, this rocks out a lot harder than that band ever did. It alternates between mellower and harder rocking and Slash puts some cool slide guitar in the mix at times. Parts of this make me think of some early Led Zeppelin, too.
Patience
Here we get another song that Slash originally did in G’N’R. We don’t get the whistling on this tune, but the vocals seems pretty close to the original recording. It’s never been one of my favorites from Guns ‘N Roses, but I’m probably in the minority. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you are reading this review, you’ve heard the original version of this song. You’ll probably be pleased with this live telling.
Godfather Solo
Slash’s guitar solo really shows a lot of talent, scope and range. It’s up there with the best guitar solo sections of any live album I’ve heard. Of course, I still maintain that Slash is one of the greatest guitarists on the scene today, so that’s not surprising. This is captivating and very cool.  It’s not strictly a guitar solo, but it is strictly an instrumental number and this beast really has a lot of intriguing music built into it. It might actually be one of the highlights of the set for me – and that says a lot.
Sweet Child O' Mine
We get another G’N’R tune here. Pretty much everyone should know this song, and I think this live rendition definitely feels like the original band. I like it a lot.
Slither
There’s an opening section that has a slithery sort of element between the driving bass and the cool echoey guitar sounds. It takes up the first couple minutes and is used to introduce the band members. The hard rocking groove comes out from there into a real screamer.
By The Sword
A bluesy rocking sound opens this and the first vocals come in with a fairly stripped down arrangement. It gets more hard edged as it continues and this beast has a ton of energy and power, along with a lot of cool.
Mr Brownstone
Here we get another G’N’R tune, and it’s another great jam. Again, you’ve probably heard the original and this live take should please.
Paradise City
They close the show with a smoking hot number that’s G’N’R’s trademark tune. This version is awesome. I can’t imagine a better way to end this thing.
 
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