Monday, August 8, 2011

REVIEW// Slash: Slash

     I'm a bit late getting to this considering it was released last year, but a request's a request. Thanks to Matty over on Facebook for asking after this review. The review in question is on Slash's debut solo album. Saul Hudson. If you've never heard of him, you've been living under a sound-proof rock all your life. Slash is widely recognised as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and this record only goes to reinforce his status as such. There isn't much to say about the guitarist that hasn't been said a million times before. He was the guitarist for Guns & Roses, a stint which brought him worldwide critical acclaim. Grasping for the crown in a new era, Slash became part of Velvet Revolver and once again firmly reasserted his position as a living music legend. His numerous guests spots are worth their weight in gold, and 'Slash' proves he is a timeless artist no matter the supporting cast. And that supporting cast is pretty impressive. You get this impression hundreds of rock stars lined up to contribute to this album, and only the best have got on. Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, Ian Astbury, Dave Grohl, Adam Levine, Myles Kennedy and Iggy Pop are a few of the big names that Slash contracted for this project. Now, what can possibly go wrong? One of, if not the best guitarist, paired with other rock legends?
     Nothing, that's what. Well, Iggy Pop's flat vocals don't end the album as well as I would have hoped, but no one can fault Slash himself. This album could have taken a turn for the worst and Slash could have made each and every one of the fourteen songs about him. Instead, he let the song and the influence take over, and in doing so we're treated to a different side to the guitarist's obvious talent. Unlike some of music's greatest rockers and their need for attention, 'Slash' sounds all together more glorifying and magnificent.
     The album opens with 'Ghost', which demonstrates my previous point perfectly. Ian Astubury (of The Cult) contributes with vocals, and I immediately notice that throughout this record Slash takes a back-seat of sorts and plays to the strength of the vocalist. There are a few solos here, but not too many to make Slash sound arrogant and selfish. It's the amazing balance of individuality in the limelight and presence behind the music that makes this album for me. Let's not forget the thundering and epic rock songs though. The third track 'Beautiful Dangerous' is sung by none other than Fergie (Black Eyed Peas). Slash and his passion plays through these four and a bit minutes, carrying Fergie's vocals to a level that surprised me. It's not that she can't sing, but I didn't expect the power with which she belted out the chorus. 'Crucify The Dead' is an anthemic number with a pretty neat hook, but the second single here, 'By The Sword' made my day. With vocals from Andrew Stockdale Of Wolfmother, this sounds decidedly 'classic rock', from the reverb to the undeniably brilliant guitar.'Nothing To Say' hits a harder, darker feel, and the lyricism and the roars get your adrenaline pumping. Myles Kennedy comes in with 'Starlight' nearer the end, after contributing to the fourth number, 'Back from Cali'.  The former song sounds more like Cornell that the actual Cornell song did, and hits a bluesier note. But don't ignore any track here, because they all work exceptionally well indeed.
     Overall, if you like air-guitaring to some epic anthemic rock, this is the place to come. The change in vocals and style and Slash's appreciation for such makes for a gripping and varied listen that's tied together nicely by his masterful playing. Just an outstanding record that will undoubtably stand the test of time. Check out 'Beautiful Dangerous' below.

'Beautiful Dangerous'