The Vladimir Horowitz of heavy metal guitar returns with easily his best material since his Guns n' Roses Days. While perhaps not the rock and roll masterpiece that was Appetite For Destruction, Slash's newest solo effort is still an absolute blast. What was always missing in Slash's post G n' R work was a strong vocalist that could meet his powerful guitar playing measure for measure, just like when he tag teamed with his old compadre Axl. This time Slash has called in the cavlalry: Ozzy, Iggy, Alice ... rock royalty writ large.
Looking down the long list of Illuminati who perform on the record only goes to show just what a musical heavyweight this man is. Nearly always coming top in the greatest guitarists of all time polls, Slash's playing has always soared high above the tapping histrionics of his Heavy Metal contemporaries, and one reason for this has always been his strong sense of melody. Nowhere is this more evident than on the 'Paradise City' feel to lead track 'Ghost', with Cult vocalist Ian Astbury and the bluesy 'Back From Cali' with Alter Bridge's Myles Kennedy on vocals. Folk singer Rocco DeLuca performing on the beautiful 'Battle of Evermore'-esque 'Saint Is A Sinner Too' shows just how eclectic Slash can be when he wants too.
But it's the monster tracks that really stand out. The down and dirty 'Beautiful Dangerous' with Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie is surprisingly fabulous, and Chris Cornell's performance on the 'Promise' is the perfect compliment to Slash's smoldering guitar licks. Motorhead's Lemmy thunders in to steal the overall show with his Grim Reaper vocals on the killer 'Doctor Alibi'.
The risk in having such a collection of rock superstars on your album is the that they may steal your some of your thunder. But hey, this is Slash, and Slash and his guitar are still the stars of the show, as illustrated in the instrumental 'Watch This' with Dave Grohl on drums. This is why the man has such cool friends. Slash is to guitar playing is what Led Zeppelin's John Bonham was to drumming. Two musicians who never rammed their technique and skill down your throats; who had mastered the art of subtlety and finesse as well as when to go out with guns blazing.
This album is a cracking collection of top-notch tunes performed by some of the greatest rock singers of our time, with Slash himself at the helm, steering the way. Make sure to turn it up to 11.