bill bodkin looks at the new record from the legendary guitarist
From the wandering minstrels of the days of yore to the bluesmen selling their souls at the cross-roads to the modern day larger than life “guitar gods,” society has been fascinated by the guitarist.
There’s something inherently cool and intrinsically mysterious about lone guitar-men — they’re often quiet, usually a willing second banana to a charismatic front-man, but always respected and admired by generations of fans and musicians alike.
Slash, is one our modern day guitar gods, hiding behind his patented shades and long hair, Slash has riffed and solo-ed himself into the musical hearts and minds of rock fans the world over with his signature guitar sound. The dirty, hard egded riffs, the soaring solos, all are vintage Slash. He’s been the backbone of Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, helping propel both to rock superstardom. Now on his own, Slash has finally carved a niche out for himself; long gone are the days of the subpar Snake Pit and enter his own solo, self-titled record, a rip-roaring old to all forms of rock ‘n’ roll.
Released on Tuesday (April 6), Slash’s self-titled record is indeed a “supernatural” effort; meaning he’s gone the road taken by another guitar god, Carlos Santana — recruiting some of the elite vocal talents in the business to lend their pipes to his record.
The cast of characters is diverse and intriguing. Metal vets like Ian Astbury (The Cult), Lemmy (Motorhead) and Ozzy Osboure, are no real surprises , but younger metalheads like Myles Kennedy (Alterbridge), Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother) and M Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) are and they make more out of the opportunity than their metal predecessors. Other interesting choices for vocalists on the album include: indie rockers Rocco DeLuca and Beth Hart (appearing only on select releases) as well as, Fergie (Black Eyed Peas), Adam Levine (Maroon5) and Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls who performs with Alice Cooper…what, on select releases). Yes, those names are still tough ones to swallow, especially for diehard rock fans.
The collaborations, for the most part, are an excellent exhibition of Slash’s range. He’s able to slow it done with Adam Levine, hit a nice mid-tempo grunge sound with Chris Cornell (Soundgarden/Audioslave), completely melt your face off with solos the likes of Kennedy and then drop it hard and heavy with M Shadows.
Surprisingly,one of the album’s top track, features the Duchess herself, Stacey “Fergie” Ferguson of the Black Eyed Peas. On “Beautiful Dangerous” Fergie Ferg is able to channel her inner rock diva — belting out ridonk high notes, growling out lyrics as if she channeled a pissed off Joan Jett and even throwing in a little BEP swagger. It’s a killer track, definitely one of the most unique rock pairings you’ll hear.
The best track, without a shadow of a doubt, is the instrumental “Watch This” featuring Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). This is a muscular, in-your-face collaboration between the one of the best guitarists and one of the best drummers in the business (Duff’s pretty rad too). It’s straight-up rock — quenching the near fatal thirst for great rock that the scene has been long suffering from.
Your search for an album based on great guitar-driven rock is over. Slash’s self-titled record is an absolute must-buy. And if you’re lucky you can catch Slash on tour, with Myles Kennedy (one of the most underrated vocalists in rock today) performing cuts off this record as well tracks from GNR, The Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and Alterbridge. m/