Produced by Eric Valentine
Dik Hayd Records
Release date: April 6, 2010
Like it or not, top hat-wearing, chain-smoking, former drug-taking ex-alcoholic but permanent guitar god Slash will always be remembered for and compared to an album he released over 20 years ago with Guns n Roses. Appetite For Destruction is one of the greatest albums of all time. It stills sounds as fresh to me as the first time I heard it, even after many years and hundreds of listens. Since Appetite thrust the sweaty, leather-covered loins of Guns n Roses into public view, Saul ‘Slash’ Hudson has released four more albums with GnR, two with Slash’s Snakepit, two with Velvet Revolver, and now comes album number ten, simply titled: Slash.
The album Slash is guitarist Slash’s first solo album. Complicated sentences aside, this is an album that boasts an array of rock gods who sing, shriek, or play over music written by Slash: Lemmy, Dave Grohl, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop to name but a few. There are also some not so godlike guests, and one I had never heard of (turns out Adam Levine is the singer of Maroon 5. Thanks Google!).
It’s easier if from now on I refer to the album Slash as simply ‘the album’. The album gets off to a slightly restrained start. The opening songs are fine but it’s not until ‘Beautiful Dangerous’ (feat. Fergie) that a song really sticks out. I was waiting to hate this track when I found out the chick from Black Eyed Peas was singing on it, but she fits perfectly with this song, which has an interestingly dark and heavy sound. A few minutes later the album roars into life with ‘Doctor Alibi’, a raucous punk collaboration with the almighty Lemmy which leads on to the pounding instrumental, ‘Watch This’, with Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan.
A chunk of the album deals with death: ‘Ghost’ (feat. The Cult’s Ian Astbury), a straight-forward rocker which after repeated listens is growing on me, sombre ‘Crucify The Dead’ (Ozzy Osbourne), the haunting lyrics of ‘I Hold On’ (Kid Rock), and the cheerfully titled, boisterous ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ (featuring Iggy Pop singing the line ‘pee on the ground and jump around’. This year Iggy Pop is going to be 63 years old, ladies and gentlemen). But that is not to say this album is particularly morbid. Nothing for gloomy goth kids to get excited about.
There are some softer moments on here too, thanks to power-ballady ‘Starlight’ (Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge) and folksy ‘Saint Is A Sinner Too’ (Rocco DeLuca), the only track which feels like a real departure from the norm for Slash.
His incredible, unmistakable wailing solos in plentiful supply are worth the album price alone. Throw in some great performances from rock legends and you’ve got an album that every rock fan should listen to. But as far as the rest goes it could be a rock compilation thanks to the number of guest vocalists and surprisingly there isn’t much in the way of a Slash stamp on this album. There are some very good songs on here — but a collection of forgettable tracks in equal measure. It has the expertly polished feel of the Velvet Revolver albums but lacks the aggression and raw power that Guns n Roses had. Maybe Slash has lost his Appetite…
There are many versions of the album with different extra tracks. The version I listened to — the Classic Rock Magazine limited edition collectors’ pack — had the swaggering ‘Baby Can’t Drive’ with Alice Cooper and Nicole Scherzinger also featuring Flea on bass and Steven Adler on drums.