Archive for April, 2010

Review: The Empire Shall Fall – Awaken [2009]

Posted in The Empre Shall Fall on April 24, 2010 by gearsofrock

Ex-Killswitch Engage frontman, Jesse Leach, leads a new and brutal unit called The Empire Shall Fall on the blistering debut effort Awaken.

Right off the bat it is highly apparent that Leach can carry one hell of a melody, displaying tremendous vocal power and emotion. Throughout the album, Leach also offers smooth and clever transitions from melodic eloquence to intense screamage.

An extra credit point rightfully goes to the dexterous drums of Jeff Pitts. He wails away on the skins while launching impressive kick patterns and sludgy grooves.

The Empire Shall Fall can thrash out as demonstrated in the face pummeling “Choir of Angels” where lead guitarist Jake Davenport delivers stellar licks in the verses.  “These Colors Bleed” is another prime thrash track which sounds as if the band is paying direct homage to Slayer.

On the other end of the metal spectrum “Our Own” could fool the untrained ear into thinking it is hearing a classic Korn track. One of the album’s best moments is the lonely tom fill before the first verse.

Davenport lays down howling pinch harmonics on “Lords of War” and also shows off his versatility, along with Marcus de Lisle, by implementing relaxing jazz riffs on “We The People.”

The beginning vocals of “We The People” sound nearly identical to the title track’s opening lines, but the spoken word-screaming technique makes for a good contrast over the clean guitars.

Awaken is a metal hit. Perhaps representing Leach’s best material to date. This is the right group of musicians to muscle onward to take down an empire.

The Empire Shall Fall is Jesse Leach (Vocals), Jake Davenport (Lead Guitar), Marcus de Lisle (Guitar), Nick Sollecito (Bass), & Jeff Pitts (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Awaken”
  2. “Lords of War”
  3. “Voices Forming Weapons”
  4. “Choir of Angels”
  5. “We The People”
  6. “These Colors Bleed”
  7. “Our Own”
  8. “The Kingdom”

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Review: Ratt – Infestation [2010]

Posted in Ratt on April 24, 2010 by gearsofrock

80’s glam band, Ratt delivers another powerhouse of a record on Infestation.  With hard rock vibes reminiscent of the Out of the Cellar days, Stephen Pearcy and company also invoke the spirit of ’76 Aerosmith.

Pearcy’s voice soars on all 11 tracks of Infestation; at 50 years old, he has not lost much of anything.  He belts out anthemic melodies and infectious choral lines as if it is still 1984.

While there is a high saturation of lead guitars from Warren DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo all over the record—from the intro solos to the formal solo breaks—they do not fail to wail.

Compared to their bluesier self-titled album from 1999, Infestation represents a return to Ratt’s glam metal roots. Perhaps the new partnership with Roadrunner Records rekindled a much needed fire? (I prefer to think that it was the “Round and Round” bar scene from The Wrestler).

For the masses that still yearn for blazing riffs, thunderous drums, melodramatic lead guitars, and heavy fist pumping then this record will be a treasured delight. These fundamental and core ingredients converge, forming an undeniable and timeless sense of Sunset Strip debauchery.

Ratt is Stephen Pearcy (Vocals), Warren DeMartini (Guitars), Carlos Cavazo (Guitars), Robbie Crane (Bass), & Bobby Blotzer (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Eat Me Up Alive”
  2. “Best Of Me”
  3. “A Little Too Much”
  4. “Look Out Below”
  5. “Last Call”
  6. “Lost Weekend”
  7. “As Good As It Gets”
  8. “Garden Of Eden”
  9. “Take A Big Bite”
  10. “Take Me Home”
  11. “Don’t Let Go”

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SOS Metal Reviews: Through The Eyes of The Dead, Fozzy, Enthroned, Gamma Ray, and more…

Posted in SOS Metal Update with tags on April 18, 2010 by gearsofrock

THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD: SKEPSIS

South Carolina’s Through the Eyes of the Dead have endured a revolving door’s worth of lineup changes in their short span, yet have held enough together to unleash a seething 10-track death collection of songs entitled SKEPSIS. Shaded with more hues of traditional death metal while keeping its deathcore sensibility intact, songs like “The Manifest” and “Dementia” display the troupe’s newfound concoction firing at all cylinders. Bolstered by new vocalist Danny Rodriguez and his menacing phrasings and malevolent bark, while some this quartet’s self-produced output utterly reeks of a cross between retreads from the glory days of Swedish death metal and stagnantly standardized deathcore (bring back Erik Rutan behind the board, guys), their lethal blast-beat lunges bear a jugular-grabbing intensity matched by few currently on the circuit. Featuring some of the most skull-rattling rounds of pummeling double bass drumming and nimble yet nefarious guitars, SKEPSIS is a relentless record that strikes a brutal balance between modern and classic extremes. www.prostheticrecords.com -Mike SOS

VICIO: WAR ON YOU

Vicio is a punchy female-fronted pop-rock quartet that features members from both Brazil and the United States. Adorned with eclectic personal and musical upbringings, this band’s multiethnic rock ‘n roll middle ground is reflected on the four-track endeavor WAR ON YOU. Despite the presence of sleek modern production with cutesy hand claps aplenty and a seemingly endless stream of feel-good vocal hooks, this band showcases a daring experimental flair and a keen sense of musicianship that propels songs like “Knock One Two” straight from dance rock bliss into something way less fleeting. Surprisingly substantial and endearingly engaging, Vicio’s solid guitarwork and penchant for writing songs with good melodies that also take chances helps this crew stand out amongst the sea of other bands championing their common sound. www.myspace.com/vicio -Mike SOS

ALDAARON NOUS: REVIENDRONS IMMORTELS

Radiating their brand of malicious mayhem with a majestic hue that sheds light in the shadows in the forests of black metal, France’s Aldaaron deliver a glacial eight-track offering steeped in traditional rawness entitled NOUS REVIENDRONS IMMORTELS. While an arsenal of unabashed regressive tendencies screaming for blood kick out at full blast (“Nirnaeth Arnoediad Part 2”), this unit also demonstrates the knack to throw in a barrage of well-placed atmospheric downshifts and clever dynamic tempo fluctuations that keep the listener intrigued and stick true to black metal ideals (“Nirnaeth Arnoediad Part 1”). While the album’s muddy production can be taken a breaking point for some, the band’s overall presentation contains its share of standard accoutrements from panicked vocal shrieks to solid accompanying keyboards (“En Route Vers La Bataille”) while sharp enough to exhibit a grim and foreboding aura draped in black metal’s shimmering bombast. www.paragonrecords.net -Mike SOS

ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY: THE REIGN OF DARKNESS

Reinvigorated UK metal upstarts Annotations of an Autopsy return with an unrequited mix of brutality on the 11-track THE REIGN OF DARKNESS. While this quintet has endured its share of growing pains, their strong allegiance to the deathcore sound has shifted somewhat to include noticeable nuances of classic death metal destruction a la the likes of Suffocation, Morbid Angel and others from the vintage Tampa sound era, bolstering the squad’s overall ambush significantly (“Impale the Sun”). Yet there’s still pieces missing throughout AOAA’s overall attack despite blood-thirsty thrusts on songs like “In Snakes I Bathe” where things grind to ho-hum halts and become monotonous beyond normal standards, almost as if the band made an outline of a drawing and forgot to color it completely in, especially glaring on slower-paced tracks (which the disc is heavy on). Even though it seems that this group is headed on the right path of death metal destruction, they’ve got a long way to go before being considered in the same league as their newfound aforementioned influences, but should appeal to the under 21 crowd that likes to mosh it up. www.nuclearblastusa.com -Mike SOS

CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED: CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED

Iced Earth alumni Richard Christy and Ripper Owens work together again on Charred Walls of the Damned eponymous offering. This nine-track offering serves up a smattering of traditional heavy metal with an emphasis on presenting a progressive and powerful platter, complete with Owens’ histrionic vocals and Christy’s clinical percussion work at the forefront of the strike (“Fear in the Sky”). Providing a well-balanced metallic assault of neck-break paced technical excellence and memorable melodic sweetness (“The Darkest Eyes”), Charred Walls of the Damned deliver a solid slab of raise your fist and yell heavy metal executed with a sniper-like stealth (“Creating Our Machine”) that ardent fans of metal can definitely latch onto. www.metalblade.com -Mike SOS

RENAE: …AND HELL FOLLOWS HOTFOOT

Illinois-based post-hardcore quartet Renae demonstrates an impressively slanted rage channeled full on through the five tracks from …AND HELL FOLLOWS. Effortlessly juxtaposing the best parts of screamo, metalcore, and emo punk with intense barrages yielding to suave transitions which aid this batch of lengthy songs from overstaying their welcome, Renae exhibits the ability to draw their own musical conclusions from influences such as Poison the Well, Glassjaw, and Norma Jean without sound like a cheap rip-off, injecting their own quirks along the way. Fortified with a strapping vocal presence with a raucous range that falls somewhere between enraged and enamored leading this grip on the rail modern heavy rollercoaster ride, Renae’s knotty jam band mentalities and kaleidoscopic blend of aggression combine to force the listener to feel the battering brunt of this band’s unorthodox assault on the ears. www.hotfootrecords.com -Mike SOS

THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY: PUBLIC SQUARE

The third release by taut punk rock outfit This Moment in Black History yields the monstrous 13-track effort entitled PUBLIC SQUARE. This Cleveland, OH quartet mesh terse shards of hardcore punk with dollops of stoner rock fuzz, robot rock precision, jazz-induced atmosphere, and garage punk experimentation unleashing a hellacious attention-getting hybrid sound chock full of bastardized screams and clever call and responses (“Makes My Teeth White”), anarchistic keyboards, and jagged rhythmic patterns that transcend across generations of rock ‘n roll genres. Unafraid to either rip the room to shreds (“About Last Night”) or push an extended musical jam towards the outer limits (“Pollen Count”), TMIBH exhibits an appetite for destruction with the organic soulfulness missing from the majority of music today, developing a brand of unabashed and raw music all their own that rarely misses the mark in delivering something that knocks you flat on your ass. www.smogveil.com -Mike SOS

HEATHEN: THE EVOLUTION OF CHAOS

After a near 20-year absence, Bay Area thrashers Heathen return to the metal world with a hard hitting11-track studio album entitled THE EVOLUTION OF CHAOS. This quintet’s comeback rings true to form with the classic thrash metal feel of yore at its core, complete with a majestic feel laden with solid twin guitar harmonic interplay, effective progressive metal movements, and a vocal presence graced with both NWOBHM’s soaring melodic tactics (“A Hero’s Welcome”) and old school thrash metal’s unmistakable malevolent snarl (“Dying Season”). Rather than taking a quick stab at the thrash piñata, this veteran act’s well-built excursion is a genuine example of revisiting roots the correct way, coming off as well oiled and refined rather than a hapless retread attempt to cash in on the genre’s revival. If you dig the most recent works of vintage squads such as Exodus, Overkill, and Testament, there’s no reason why Heathen’s latest shouldn’t be in your collection. www.mascotrecordsusa.com -Mike SOS

FOZZY: CHASING THE GRAIL

CHASING THE GRAIL is the album that helps you forget that Fozzy is a terrible band name and the unit’s lead singer is pro wrestler Chris Jericho with three-quarters of Stuck Mojo behind him, as the squad’s latest 12-track batch of tunes proudly showcases a killer band that bring a wicked amalgamation of metallic styles helmed by Jericho’s assured vocals to the table. Gelling as a band like previous albums never showed, Fozzy comes into their own here with a hearty smattering of heavy and melodic songs with a bevy of influences yield from Ozzy and Metallica to Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch that display an increased intensity, especially in the guitar department (“Pray for Blood”) while blending a steady stream of classic and modern influences from Blind Guardian to All That Remains (“Under Blackened Skies”). Retaining the patented Atlanta metal stomp guitarist Rich Ward helped to pioneer (“Grail”, “Martyr No More”) and going as far to include an 11-minute epic complete with a rash of twists and turns that would make Dream Theater proud, Fozzy’s latest album truly covers all bases and delivers a top to bottom solid shot of metal with a grab-bag, something for everyone disposition that erases the stigma placed on the band since their inception. www.fozzyrock.com -Mike SOS

TRIBELLA: THIRTEEN

Austin, TX all-female trio Tribella dole out a shimmering serving of psychedelic pop-rock with hard edged underpinnings revealed by a powerhouse percussive performance on the unit’s latest album THIRTEEN. Underneath smooth ripples of guitar (“Mister Mister”), unorthodox bass grooves and a muscular yet miniscule female vocal lie an undercurrent of imminent distress, almost as if breathy vocals act as the messenger breaking the news to you about the end of the world without an ounce of panic (“13”). Reminiscent of a cross between riot grrl rage and steady shoegaze with dashes of garage rock charm strewn about (“CSUS4”), Tribella’s post-rock potpourri constructs a luxurious realm where sticky sweet and unsettling pop strike a tenuous middle ground that manages to keep it all together even when indicating it’s all falling apart. www.tribellatheband.com -Mike SOS

PSYCHO: THE GRIND YEARS

Seasoned Boston grindcore pioneers Psycho have been at it since the early 80’s, maintaining an endearing DIY mentality with an unquestionably staunch disregard for anything that foolishly gets in the way. Digging through their vaults to excavate a cavalcade of d-beat bashings with hardcore punk sensibilities complete with razor sharp riffs and a guitar solo or two thrown in for good measure, foundational grunts and growls, and lightning fast tempos, the 52-track offering THE GRIND YEARS is a lot to take in at once yet provides thick chunks of classic brutality. Revisiting their salad days without removing a spec of grit and crud from the recordings from 20 years back, Psycho’s prolific presence and the primal power demonstrated on this collection allows for a consistent stream of unfiltered ferocity to shine, firmly fitting in between Nasum and early Napalm Death without an ounce of reservation. www.selfmadegod.com -Mike SOS

STELLAR VECTOR: A FLOCK OF COWARDS

Quirky Minneapolis, MN quintet Stellar Vector provide a 11-track excursion laden with a bevy of stylistic shake-ups coupled with a prevalent pop sensibility and an electronica edge (“Fall-Out”) that gives A FLOCK OF COWARDS a well-rounded and contemporary feel. Staying in line with today’s alternative rock structures while falling back on a totally 80’s vibe on occasion (“Closing Notes” “February 14th”), this cerebral unit juxtaposes bouncy melody lines (“The Boy Who Cried Wolf”) with intricate borderline prog rock elements to create a complex and wistful strand of keyboard-driven rock music with a scope whose broad range leaves the listener on their toes anxiously awaiting the next cleverly picked genre jump or tricky musical passage. www.stellarvector.com -Mike SOS

GAMMA RAY: TO THE METAL!

German power metal kingpins Gamma Ray return with their 10th studio effort, appropriately titled TO THE METAL! This 10-track affair features the quartet’s signature musical maneuvers and retains the outfit’s traditional metal approach, keeping a fever pitched energy level (“All You Need to Know”) and melody lines soaring high in the sky (“. Branching out a bit this time around to include an orchestral introduction before kicking it up a notch (“Chasing Shadows”) as well as a tender piano-led (“No Need to Cry”) in between dollops of Euro-heavy racing power metal and groove-laden Priest-esque rockers (“To The Metal!”), Gamma Ray presents a solid yet unspectacular slab of metal that stays true to the veteran group’s classic metal predilections. www.gammaray.org -Mike SOS

WORMROT: ABUSE

Singapore grindcore trio Wormrot doles out a superior blast of authentic and substantial hyper-speed insanity on the aptly titled 23-track, 22:45 excursion ABUSE. Mercilessly expounding the values and virtue of developing short and sweet blasts of bass-less quickness while dialing volatility up to maximum thresholds, this affair is laden with relentless drums that jackhammer your skull while thick riffs bludgeon what’s left of your face and the chaotic vocals varying from scintillating shrieks to caustic Cookie Monster rumbles assault every cavity in your body (“Good Times”, “Condemnation”). Proudly following in the footsteps of bands like labelmates Insect Warfare and elder statesmen Napalm Death, Wormrot’s raucous racket make it simple to surrender to the breakneck paced tumultuousness this triad of rapid-fire technicians employs, implementing a slew of dastardly d-beats and infusing jagged fragments of hardcore punk (“Blasphemy My Ass”) into their centrifuge of carnage that you’ll find yourself sideways and broken because of in no time. Essential for speed freaks. www.earache.com -Mike SOS

ANIMA: ENTER THE KILLZONE

German deathcore troupe Anima makes a return back to the scene with another run of the mill offering in the form of 12-track disc ENTER THE KILLZONE. While songs like “I Am Sick I Want to Kill” display touches of metallic maturation with an increased death metal vibe prevalent, this quintet ultimately falls prey to the familiar genre trappings with many of their peers with a horrendous array drum triggers and unrealistic guitar tones at the forefront of this mind-numbing attack (“Welcome to Our Killzone”). Despite a beefed-up Black Dahlia Murder-esque approach (“The Omnipotent Torture King”), Anima is still playing catch up with the likes of The Acacia Strain and Job for a Cowboy in terms of providing something more than a shot of banal brutality. www.metalblade.com -Mike SOS

UNLEASHED: AS YGGDRASIL TREMBLES

Swedish death metal mainstays Unleashed return with their 10th endeavor, the 13-track affair AS YGGDRASIL TREMBLES. This renowned squad continues their quest to praise Odin while lacing into your skull with some of the grueling and grooviest death metal gallops this side of Amon Amarth (“Far Beyond Hell”), complete with crushing guitars (“Dead to Me”) and seething streams of diabolical death metal growls leading the charge towards Nordic enlightenment (“Cannibalistic Epidemic Continues”). While Unleashed does their usual perfunctory job of laying Viking imagery on thick, this veteran outfit’s unquestionably thunderous poundings, versatile viciousness (“Wir Kapitulieren Niemals”) and precision-driven solos (“This Time We Fight”) render a cohesion strong enough to void any lyrical schlock and appeal to fans of all types of extreme metal. www.nuclearblastusa.com -Mike SOS

ENTHRONED: PENTAGRAMMATON

Belgium black metal merchants Enthroned are a seasoned unit who have been marred by a checkered consistency with both maintaining a lineup and producing advanced output through their long-standing career, but this curse seems to have bypassed their latest 11-track affair PENTAGRAMMATON. Showcasing a step in the right direction, Enthroned’s barrage of blistering riffs, blazing drums, and bellicose vocal work especially intense during periods of the vicious triple vocal assault with a tenacious tact, ripping through your speakers (“Rion Riorrim”) with a panic-stricken aggression black metal requires (“Pentagrammaton”). Despite feeling a bit genre-standardized at times, Enthroned’s overall presentation endearingly exhibits all the necessary brutality to get the job done with a bombastic sound, a firm handle on controlling atmosphere from track to track and an arsenal of clever nuances sprinkled throughout that traditional black metal fans can’t help but appreciate (“Unconscious Minds”). www.regainrecords.com -Mike SOS

THE AUGUST INFINITY: VOICES OF A GENERATION

Skillfully straddling the line between larger than life hard rock musings and multi-faceted modern rock malaise, NYC quintet The August Infinity exhibit a diverse sound that strikes a few familiar chords throughout yet doesn’t solely belong to any one particular genre on the 13-track VOICES OF A GENERATION. Adorned with a powerful vocal presence whose broad range and higher register resonates a superstar ‘80s metal edginess with a soulful pop-rock side, the music behind the pipes finds itself spanning across many shades of the rock spectrum as well without losing an ounce of melodic bliss, adroitly skipping from Warped Tour pop punk bounce (“Feel This”) to shadowy pseudo-metal boom (“My Confession”) to alternative rock contagiousness (“Push, Pull, Shove”). Merging the wares of Coheed and Cambria, The Killers, Sevendust, Avenged Sevenfold, and Story of the Year into slickly produced explosive tunes that sound way too good to have been done at a home studio, The August Infinity stands out amongst the pack thanks to their undeniably fiery delivery and clever genre juxtapositions that are bound to appeal to a large cross-section of rock fans. www.theaugustinfinity.com -Mike SOS

RIFOKI: SPERM DONOR

Taking the notion of presenting an EP to heart, the tandem known as Rifoki have produced an explosive five-track, six-minute endeavor entitled SPERM DONOR. Brimming over with intensity while maintaining its strict sense of brevity, the duo comprised of Steve Aoki (Dim Mak Records founder) and Bob Rifo (The Bloody Beetroots mainman) step back into old skins, ditching high-profile positions in the music biz and spots behind the wheels of steel to let loose and immerse themselves into a self-induced hardcore punk time warp chock full of meaty morsels moshpit angst and aggressive angularity (“Zombie Attack”). Way too short but ultimately rewarding, Rifoki is a combustible entity that allows this twosome the luxury to shamelessly revisit their roots and show the scene they still got it in them to boot. www.dimmak.com -Mike SOS

RAGNAROK: COLLECTORS OF THE KING

Veteran Norwegian black metal clan Ragnarok return to the frontlines of the battlefield with a tried and true black metal offering in the form of the relentless nine-track COLLECTORS OF THE KING. Despite a major lineup reshuffle and a solid yet unspectacular arsenal of raspy demonic growls, diabolically crafted riffs, and frantic drums, this corpsepainted crew’s unmistakable disdain for humanity, sinister sense of raw aggression, and heinous lyrical viewpoints help thrust songs like “The Ancient Crown of Glory” from the commonplace to something totally crushing. Effortlessly comprehending the evilest chapters of the metal handbook only to spit them with a bloodthirsty sense of destruction heading their learned surge, the latest from Ragnarok offers few surprises yet unleashes a beastly slab of punishing yet predictable rage straight from the lungs of hell (“Wisdom of Perfection”). www.regainrecords.com -Mike SOS

STARK: RACE TO THE FLOOR

NYC female-fronted trio Stark unleashes a pretense-free slab of snarling yet simple rock directly from the gut on their latest nine-track excursion RACE TO THE FLOOR. Crammed with a gaggle of foundation-shaking riffs (“End of the Line”) and the gritty no nonsense Joan Jett meets Pat Benatar-esque vocal presence of Lani Ford leading the entire affair (“What It Is”), this release is anchored with an unabashed rock ‘n roll spirit (“Get It”) that so many modern bands lack today. Stark resurrects the punk rock attitude the Big Apple used to own with their own spin, injecting a slew of muscular hard rock elements (“Drunkaholic”) and a loud and proud DIY aesthetic that rounds out this unit’s punchy and infectious four on the floor stomp. www.starknyc.com -Mike SOS

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Mike SOS is a frequent contributor and great friend to the Gears of Rock. Be sure to check out Mike SOS’ bands Seizure Crypt and SOS. They will rock your balls off! All of the above releases can be found in our store.

R.I.P. Peter Steele Type-o-Negative Dead at 48, Heart Failure

Posted in Type o Negative with tags on April 17, 2010 by gearsofrock

The metal universe lost a giant this week.  Peter Steele, frontman of Type-o-Negative and Carnivore, passed away due to heart failure at 48 years old.  My condolences to Steele’s family and friends.  Here is a classic appearance on Jerry Springer from the mid-90’s

Review: Coheed And Cambria – Year of the Black Rainbow [2010]

Posted in Coheed And Cambria with tags on April 12, 2010 by gearsofrock

Coheed and Cambria, the greatest alt-progressive hard rock act of all-time, return with another intricate powerhouse on Year of the Black Rainbow.  Claudio Sanchez and company deliver an eternal kingdom of melody, serving up a glorious and insightful introduction to the band’s Sci-Fi series, which has come to be known as The Amory Wars.

Black Rainbow prominently features impressive rhythmic patterns, striking lead guitars, and tantalizing lyrical melodies.  Together the ingredients form a vicious concoction of heavy ear candy, without the bleeding.

Coheed is one of the few bands capable of saving mainstream hard rock from the one-dimensional Nickelbacks and Linkin Parks that have dominated mainstream charts for the last ten years.  Unfortunately, the band’s geeky image as well as the wrongful and unfair Emo labeling will continue to hinder such a takeover.

Year of the Black Rainbow is an A+ musical effort that goes unmatched by 99% of the rock albums released these days.  Album highlights include the single “Here We Are Juggernaut,” “In The Flame of Error,” “World of Lines,” “This Shattered Symphony,” and “The Broken.”

Coheed and Cambria are Claudio Sanchez (Vocals/Guitars), Travis Stever (Guitars), Michael Todd (Bass), & Chris Pennie (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “One”
  2. “The Broken”
  3. “Guns of Summer”
  4. “Here We Are Juggernaut”
  5. “Far”
  6. “This Shattered Symphony”
  7. “World of Lines”
  8. “Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)”
  9. “Pearl of the Stars”
  10. “In the Flame of Error”
  11. “When Skeletons Live”
  12. “The Black Rainbow”

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Review: Slash – Slash [2010]

Posted in Slash with tags on April 2, 2010 by gearsofrock

The latest guitar hero to lift a page from the book of Santana is ex-Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver axe-master, Slash.  The result is an eclectic array of guest spots that boldly encompasses everything from pop to heavy metal.  Surprisingly, Slash’s R&Fn’R self-titled effort flourishes in its well-crafted compositions and guitar melodies.

The most classic metal sounding track is “Doctor Alibi” featuring Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead which also offers a fierce Slash solo.  One of the heaviest tunes is “Beautiful Dangerous” featuring Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas—and forgive me for feeling this—but it is f*cking awesome.  She delivers an intoxicating melody over the choruses that you cannot escape from. I tried. I failed.

On first listen this album came off as nothing more than a feculent undertaking.  That feeling was mainly due to lame and wimpy songs like “Gotten” featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and the soft southern sounds of Kid Rock on “I Hold On.”  While the Kid Rock ditty has grown on me, “Gotten” still embodies my initial thought.

“Crucify the Dead” featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters is the one outstanding track of the bunch and will be the one that hard rock fans will remember in ten years.

Slash’s best shred work is heard on “Nothing to Say” featuring M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold and the instrumental “Watch This” featuring Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan.

Other notable guest performances are Iggy Pop’s iconic punk leadership on the closing “We’re All Gonna Die,” and Myles Kennedy’s solid lead vocals on “Starlight” and “Back From Cali.”  Kennedy certainly is a good choice to lead the band on Slash’s summer tour.

Chris Cornell on “Promise” is disappointing, sounding less 1992 and more like his last solo effort.  Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother lends his irritating voice to “By the Sword.”  The music is good but it would have sounded better with the real Robert Plant, or even Jack White for that matter.

Slash has exceeded most of my expectations as I was initially one of the many non-believers in this concept.  While this disc may not have much relevance in twenty years, and will quickly end up in the 99-cent used bin at your local music store chain, there are more than enough reasons to give it some love today.

Track Listing:

  1. “Ghost” feat. Ian Astbury
  2. “Crucify the Dead” feat. Ozzy Osbourne
  3. “Beautiful Dangerous” feat. Fergie
  4. “Back from Cali” feat. Myles Kennedy
  5. “Promise” feat. Chris Cornell
  6. “By the Sword” feat. Andrew Stockdale
  7. “Gotten” feat. Adam Levine
  8. “Doctor Alibi” feat. Lemmy
  9. “Watch This” feat. Dave Grohl & Duff McKagan
  10. “I Hold On” feat. Kid Rock
  11. “Nothing to Say” feat. M. Shadows
  12. “Starlight” feat. Myles Kennedy
  13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” feat. Rocco DeLuca
  14. “We’re All Gonna Die” feat. Iggy Pop

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