Slash – Slash (2010)

slash-solo-album

***1/2

As much as I love Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and even, to a degree, Slash’s Snakepit, I’ve always looked back on Slash’s 2010 solo debut through rather harsh lenses. It’s easier to remember the album’s low points rather than its peaks, however, upon revisit I find that while the low points certainly exist, they aren’t as crippling as I once believed to an overall very good album from one of the greatest guitarists in the world.

Slash has never been known as a great songwriter even when he was running with one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll bands of all time (thank God Izzy was in there), but with Slash he intended to show off his genre-bending songwriting chops. As a result there is a vast a mix of styles on the album to match the varying singers that front them; Black Metal, Sunset Strip Rock, expressive balladry, Heavy Metal riffing, instrumental progginess, a haunting acoustic number, and even a GN’R reunion or two all fit comfortably in this album’s 14 tracks, but some are better than others. For every “Dr. Alibi” which features the late Lemmy Kilmister heralding his love for Rock n’ Roll decadence, there’s a “Crucify the Dead” which features Ozzy Osbourne trying to stay afloat in a sea of tiring riffing that doesn’t match his delivery. The midsection of the album with the easy to mix up “By the Sword and “Back from Cali” with the more-Audioslave-than-Soundgarden “Promise” stuck in the middle makes a pretty ho-hum sandwich of suck, but the rest of the album (apart from Iggy Pop’s ill-fainted closer that rhymes “We’re All Gonna Die” with “Let’s Be Nice”) is pretty great. The haunting “Saint is a Sinner Too” is a sobering reminder of Slash’s history of substance abuse, Myles Kennedy’s “Starlight” shockingly steals the show from Adem Levine’s “Gotten” (which is also a very good song) and “Nothing to Say” featuring M. Shadows is no doubt better than the greatest Avenged Sevenfold song ever recorded. But nothing can top the LP’s opener, “Ghost” featuring a killer, mind-bending riff from Slash, sweet baritone vocals from The Cult’s Ian Astbury, and rhythm guitar from GN’R’s own Izzy Stradlin, who provides the only guitar track on the entire album that doesn’t belong to Slash himself. Now if only we could get him in the reunited Guns n’ Roses…

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