Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Slash ~ Slash (aka self-titled)

(Click on heading to visit official website)
Style: hard rock
Label: EMI
Year: 2010
Home: n/a

Members: Slash ~ guitars
Chris Chaney ~ bass
Josh Freese ~ drums

Additional: Eric Valentine ~ keyboards
Big Chris Flores ~ keyboards/programming
Taylor Hawkins, Kevin Churko ~ b. vocals
Joe Sandt ~ harpsichord
Deron Johnson ~ organ
Mark Robertson, Alyssa Park, Julie Rogers, Sam Fischer, Grace Oh, Songa Lee, Maia Jasper, Lisa Li ~ violins, Anton Patzner, Lewis Patzner ~ strings
Steve Ferrone ~ drums
Lenny Castro ~ percussion

Guests: Ian Astbury ~ lead vocals/percussion
Izzy Stradlin ~ rhythm guitar
Lemmy Kilmister ~ lead vocals/bass
Kid Rock, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Myles Kennedy, Andrew Stockdale, Adam Levine, M. Shadows, Rocco DeLuca ~ lead vocals
Dave Grohl ~ drums
Duff McKagan ~ bass/b. vocals



What is wrong with this album? Technically nothing. But, how come after listening to it over & over & over via a couple days I almost have to force myself to get interested? I find myself wondering what happened to the trademarked bluesy riffs I used to love by Slash? & how come the singers don't seem to sound as interesting as I know all of them are? & how come none of the songs I can remember once the album ends? & how come I'm not playing air guitar to Slash as I used to? It's as if Slash has, deliberately or not, laid his Guns N Roses roots finally to rest, only to create some new music that lacks any distinct personality or any real emotional push in any direction. Some critics have talked about how this goes back to the 90's, but for me I can't help but hear the lack of things versus what is here. While none of the participants really do anything to pull the songs in any direction, not even the main player himself I feel. It's like there's a different vocal tone on each song, but it doesn't really mean much as nothing feels distinct. It's a duets album without any interesting duets. While there's a guitarist on all the tracks, Izzy Stradlin' appears on rhythm track on the first track & is the only additional guitarist, but I'm not really that engaged by the playing & it seems to lack any distinctiveness or personality. I can only think of some interesting points to touch upon. "Ghost" with Ian Astbury of the Cult feels like it has too many layers. Is there three guitars here all at once or is it four? What is this trying to be - the new utterly cluttered Aerosmith? While I realize I've been listening to Astbury too much with the reunited Doors versus the Cult as I'm always looking for Jim Morrison in his vocals, but that's not fair to him. The tracks with Ozzy, Lemmy & Iggy Pop feel like Slash is just trying to recreate each player's individual sound versus challenging them with a new setting. None are that interesting lyrically either & like most of the singers on the album the performances aren't so hot & feel more autopilot than anything. Ozzy is great partly because of dirty & stomping guitar licks in his solo albums, but his song here is a weak imitation that is neither dirty nor stomping & imitate the notes without the essence. Which means, it would have been better not to imitate at all. The fact that Slash is a blues-based rocker not a heavy metal guitar makes it feel worse as nobody is thus in their creative zone. Fergie probably made "Beautiful Dangerous" the standout single because she's the token female & something to look at in a video, as it's not really that interesting of a song & suffers from more Aerosmith-esque too many layers that take the focus in too many directions & none are particularly good. Chris Cornell turns in a good performance on "Promise", though it sounds more like his Euphora Morning meets Time over Soundgarden. He's always a great voice, but his solo career just makes us miss the power & majesty of Soundgarden & this guest spot is no exception. No doubts why Slash chose Myles Kennedy to join him on his next album from his two tracks here, the only singer with two songs. He might be the least famous guest but turns in the best tracks & I would have grabbed him too. The only real standout, or at least in terms of what I expected to hear, might be the instrumental "Watch This" with Dave Grohl & Duff McKagan which has hints of classic Slash days. Maybe Slash could continue this duet album theme with a group of instrumentalists on some future release? A guitar fest maybe? Though, that might go in the opposite direction & not be uninspired but too inspired & in your face. Though, I'll pay for Slash & Ronnie Woods in the same song any day given their mutual blues base the sparks would surely fly. What's interesting is there's a bounce with Slash. One great outing (i.e. Guns N Roses), then one iffy outing (i.e. Slash's Snakepit), then one great outing (i.e. Velvet Revolver), then this iffy outing & now his new album with Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators is great. I might be a bit off, but that's a thought that came to me while walking down the sidewalk today trying to figure out what I think of this album after spending days listening. I put off listening to this album for awhile as the idea of Slash's debut solo album got me excited & I didn't even read the reviews to keep my ears virginal. I should have listened earlier & gotten it over with. Sadly.

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