Slash (featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) – Apocalyptic Love (2012)

Posted: May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Not since Abraham Lincoln has someone been so known for their top hat. Sure, the Monopoly Man, Mr. Peanut and Uncle Sam are all in the running, but the modern day hero of the stove pipe is legendary guitarist Slash.

As part of the groundbreaking act Guns n’ Roses (whom pretty much owned rock and roll for most of the 1990s), Slash cut his teeth during an age when rock was at its peak. While he didn’t get the immediate recognition as one of rock’s more formidable axemen (the go-to guys of the era were Eddie Van Halen, Warren DeMartini, George Lynch and others), Slash kept his eyes open to all styles and influences which shaped him into one of rock’s most versatile performers by the turn of the century.

The problem, though, was that just when Slash was at the top of his game, he didn’t really have any teammates left. GnR had long-since disbanded, the ill-timed formation of Slash’s Snakepit with former band mates Matt Sorum and Gilbey Clarke fizzled out before it really even started, and the curly-haired rocker was left holding his guitar all by himself.

This loneliness didn’t last long, though, as Slash reunited with Sorum and Duff MacKagan (also from GnR) to start a new band. The GnR chemistry was still there, but they were missing one vital part – a lead singer. After countless auditions, the band – going by the name Velvet Revolver – chose former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland to front the unit, and the group quickly found its way back to the top of the hard rock heap. With two great albums and hundreds of great concerts, Velvet Revolver seemed poised to take on all comers, but Weiland’s battle with drug addiction derailed the band. Weiland left in 2008, and while the band has never officially “broken up”, it seems as though everyone involved has decided to move on with their careers – including Slash.

In 2010, Slash released his first official solo album featuring guest vocalists on every track. With the help of big names such as Fergie, Adam Levine, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmeister, and Iggy Pop, the self-titled debut reached No. 3 on the Billboard album chart, but the true success of the album came in a very subtle form. Singing vocals on a couple tracks was Alter Bridge lead man Myles Kennedy (who assumed vocal duties on the subsequent tour) – who hadn’t really come into his own yet. What a difference a couple of years makes…

Alter Bridge’s latest album III absolutely blew up, and music fans (myself included) went from not knowing Kennedy to touting him as one of rock’s greatest modern singers. I was sure that after the emergence of Alter Bridge, Slash would once again be left as a man with no band, but fortunately friendships sometimes supercede the almighty dollar.

It would have been easy for Myles to concentrate his efforts towards his ‘other’ band, but instead not only offered to sing vocals on Slash’s new collection of songs, but sat down and took part in the writing process. The end result is Apocalyptic Love – and in a few short words, Slash is back.

While the last album was a complete mix of styles from track to track (mostly due to the variety of vocalists), Apocalyptic Love is far more focused as just a rock and roll record. From the opening riffs of the title track all the way down to the closing chords of Crazy Life, the album is a guitar lover’s wet dream. But it is so much more than even that.

The connection between Kennedy and Slash seems to be a match made in heaven. Both are true rockers through and through, but the combination of the subliminally soulful vocals with the underlying blues tones of the guitar parts add to almost every track along the way. Slash holds nothing back, and you get to see all aspects of his maturing style along the way.

There are the tracks reminiscent of the old Guns n’ Roses days (One Last Thrill, Hard & Fast), the down and dirty groove of Velvet Revolver (Standing In The Sun, Halo) and even a few romantic takes (Anastasia, Not For Me, Far and Away), but the album is at its absolute best when Kennedy and Slash carve their own niche. The album’s first single, You’re A Lie, is the perfect marriage of styles and showcases both performers at the top of their game. You can tell from this track alone that Slash has a renewed energy as both a writer and performer, and that attitude permeates the rest of the disc.

The album is filled with everything great about rock and roll. Unforgettable lyrics (No More Heroes), great swagger (Bad Rain), and air-guitar worthy solos (Crazy Life) – all sugar-coated with a vibe of excitement and energy that you don’t get very often in today’s modern rock scene.

I’ve listened to countless rock albums this year, but this one has a certain intangible that sinks the hook deep in your skin and pulls you along for the ride. Myles and Slash are definitely on to something with this release, so much so that I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. The chemistry between the two is off the charts, which should keep Apocalyptic Love on the charts for the rest of the year as THE rock album of 2012.

10/10

Tracklist:
01 – Apocalyptic Love
02 – One Last Thrill
03 – Standing In The Sun
04 – You’re a Lie
05 – No More Heroes
06 – Halo
07 – We Will Roam
08 – Anastasia
09 – Not For Me
10 – Bad Rain
11 – Hard & Fast
12 – Far and Away
13 – Shots Fired
14 – Carolina (Bonus Track)
15 – Crazy Life (Bonus Track)

Buy at Amazon

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