Duff McKagan's Loaded - The Taking
Duff was always my second favourite Guns N' Roses member - after Slash of course. He brought a Pacific North West punk feel to these hard-rock titans; he was cool, laid back, hanging out on the side of the stage with his low-slung bass, while Axl Rose and Slash pirouetted across the stage. His solo material, while never quite matching the work he did with Guns N' Roses or Velvet Revolver, still has its moments and Loaded should please purists just fine. 'Lords Of Abbadon' smashes in, the thundering barrage of guitars and pounding drowns more than making up for Duff's weak vocals. Other songs, such as the rather good 'Executioner's Song' and 'Dead Skin', tend to follow the same formula: lots of guitar + hoarse screamed-out vocals = lots and lots of opportunity for kids to head bang and air-guitar to. 'Easier Lying' strays a teensy bit from the norm, the distorted, agonized vocals and gnarly, grungy music is straight out of Duff's hometown of Seattle. While not the most original album ever to come along, Loaded still does everything it says on the tin. If you like your music loud fast and furious, Duff's your man.