The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Slash Mark Eglinton , April 23rd, 2010 04:25

The first solo album by former Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Slash had the potential - on paper at least - to be an utter train wreck of music industry ass kissing and back slapping. With a twenty-strong guest list ranging from the likes of Ozzy, Iggy, and Fergie, it could easily have consumed itself in a mire of bloated excess, with the only obvious redeeming factor being that it didn’t take a decade and a half to record.

However, Slash is much smarter than that, and this diverse, fourteen-track opus is an exercise in how to pull large rabbits from hats. Obviously, he’s an iconic figure. Certainly, he’s a gifted guitar player with a distinctive sound that helped define an era. Of more significance here however is the undeniable evidence that Slash seems to have found the ability to write some genuinely great rock songs. Not just that, in doing so he has also managed to radically raise the game of this incongruous collection of performers that he dragged along to perform them.

The best two examples arrive early in the show. Lead off track ‘Ghost’ features vocals by Ian Astbury of The Cult, and it wouldn’t be overstating things to say that it’s somewhat better than anything his own band have done for around twenty years. Underpinning it all is a grimy guitar sound presumably aided by ex GN’R pal Izzy Stradlin (four of the original five GN’R members guest on the record. Guess which one isn’t here? )

After successfully defibrillating Astbury, Slash turns his attention to the gnarly shell of Ozzy (surely a much harder task) on ‘Crucify The Dead’. Fear not though, it’s another masterstroke of reinvention and Ozzy sounds genuinely back to something like his best here too. Potential howlers are the collaborations with less obvious artists like Fergie, Kid Rock and M Shadows. In one way or another though, every one of them works perfectly. You can almost imagine Slash standing in the background smirking, occasionally dialling in one of those always appropriate solos he’s famed for. As a rule, Slash leans mostly towards high energy, well-produced heavy rock. But there are exceptions which lend some very welcome balance in the form of a couple of lighter moments, of which the country-tinged ballad ‘Saint Is A Sinner’ featuring Rocco DeLuca is the finest, alongside the laid back swagger of ‘Promise’, with vocals by Chris Cornell.

The record closes with an appropriate sign-off too in the form of the sleazy ‘We’re All Gonna Die’ with guest singer Iggy Pop. “We’re all gonna die, so let’s get high”, Iggy yells, a reckless suggestion which is hardly what his insurance company employers want to hear. Regardless, it’s the perfect end to a supremely accomplished rock ‘n’ roll record by Slash… though with this crowd on board, how he'll tour it is anyone’s guess.