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Slash - "Slash" (CD)

Slash - "Slash" CD cover image

"Slash" track listing:

1. Ghost (Ian Astbury)
2. Crucify The Dead (Ozzy Osbourne)
3. Beautiful Dangerous (Fergie)
4. Back From Cali (Myles Kennedy)
5. Promise (Chris Cornell)
6. By The Sword (Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother)
7. Gotten (Adam Levine)
8. Doctor Alibi (Lemmy Kilmister)
9. Watch This Dave (Dave Grohl/Duff McKagan)
10. I Hold On (Kid Rock)
11. Nothing To Say (M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold)
12. Starlight (Myles Kennedy)
13. Saint Is A Sinner Too (Rocco DeLuca)
14. We're All Gonna Die (Iggy Pop)

Reviewed by on April 26, 2010

"The biggest problem with the disc is the fact that on most of the songs, rather than welcoming the guests to his jungle, Slash is often more than willing to hop the night train to wherever they come from, musically speaking."

As one of the guitarists who's defined modern hard rock, it was probably inevitable that ex-Guns 'N Roses ax-slinger Slash would put out an album like this one. Though it features an impressive array of vocalists, ranging from Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne to the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, this album proves to be much better in concept than it is in execution.

Don't get me wrong, Slash can still tear up the fretboard like a wild man, and the solos alone are going to be worth the price of admission for guitar buffs, as well as fans of GNR and Slash's more current band, Velvet Revolver. The biggest problem with the disc is the fact that on most of the songs, rather than welcoming the guests to his jungle, Slash is often more than willing to hop the night train to wherever they come from, musically speaking.

Hence, you have Slash getting all doomy on the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted "Crucify The Dead," complete with some Tony Iommi-style quiet guitar breaks. Despite the songwriting and background vocals from Kevin Churko, who produced "Black Rain" and Ozzy's upcoming solo album "Scream," it's the first time in years that Ozzy's vocals weren't over-produced to the point of sounding robotic.

"Promise" sounds like something off of one of Chris Cornell's solo albums (though thankfully not the terrible "Scream"). "Gotten," which features Maroon 5 crooner Adam Levine is perhaps the most extreme example of Slash going off the reservation (though all votes will be counted for the Rocco DeLuca-fronted "Saint Is A Sinner Too"), sounding essentially like Maroon 5 hired Slash to contribute a solo to one of their tracks.

There is one quite fascinating diversion from the norm, as Slash thrashes with M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold on the million-mph "Nothing To Say." It works much better than you'd think, with some quick bluesy fills that add soul.

It shouldn't be surprising that the album succeeds most when Slash is recording with artists who either share the attitude he's known for or some of the same musical influences. The Lemmy-fronted "Doctor Alibi" is one of the album's best tunes, with Slash's guitars growling right alongside the Motorhead frontman's vocals.

Kid Rock, whom the guitarist recently teamed up with on a remake of "Rockin' My Life Away" with '50s rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis, is welcome on "I Hold On." Ian Astbury does his thing on "Ghost," and you can't go wrong with an Iggy Pop song called "We're All Gonna Die." The single, "By The Sword," which features Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, has a nice Zeppelin feel to it.

Something tells me the fact that Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy contributes two tracks ("Back From Cali" and "Starlight") to the album — plus the fact that he's touring in support of the album — is a good indication that he's being seriously considered as the next vocalist for Velvet Revolver. If so, it'd be a great choice.

Interestingly enough, the worst track on the album, the pointless instrumental "Watch This Dave," features ex-Gunner Duff McKagan (Izzy Stradlin plays guitar on "Ghost"), along with drummer Dave Grohl. The track takes nearly four minutes to go nowhere.

The album's biggest surprise is "Beautiful Dangerous," which might as well be the sequel to GNR's "Rocket Queen" with its ample helping of pole-dancing imagery and Sunset Strip sleaze. Fergie's vocals absolutely dazzle in a way that's more than reminiscent of Axl Rose (the moaning and groaning behind the solo doesn't exactly detract from the "Rocket Queen" feel, either).

One thing that bugged me a bit is that the liner notes are awfully slapdash. Lemmy Kilmister, for example, gets his name misspelled twice ("Kilmeister" on the back cover and on the disc, and "Kilmaster" inside). Is the song called "Watch This" (as it is on the inside cover twice) or "Watch This Dave," as it is on the outside of the cover and on the disc?

With this self-titled solo album, Slash has definitely proven he's a versatile player — but given his previous track record, wasn't that already established? Sure, it sounds like he's having fun playing with singers he admires, but this album — like most of its kind — falls into the trap of having no real sense of coherence due to the changing vocalists, and the fact that Slash isn't willing to force his own style into the songs as much as one might wish.

That said, who am I kidding? I knew I was gonna buy this one the second I had enough money to, and it's been in constant rotation in the same car stereo that still blasts out "Paradise City" and "Welcome To The Jungle." Slash's guitar mastery shines through even if some of the songwriting choices seem a little off.

Highs: The Fergie-fronted "Beautiful Dangerous," Iggy Pop's "We're All Gonna Die" and Lemmy's "Doctor Alibi."

Lows: "Watch This Dave" and Chris Cornell's "Promise."

Bottom line: Slash's solos are always worthwhile, but the guest singers sometimes have too much say in the songs.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)