Album Review: Slash

apocalyptic love (dik hayd records)

Following 2010's self titled release, Slash returns with a straightforward Rock record. Fronted by Alter Bridge's powerhouse, Myles Kennedy, Apocalyptic Love is no gimmicks, no frills, just classic riffs and hooks.

This is an instantly recognisable Slash album, and luckily a little more focused and coherent than his eponymous 2010 album, thanks to Myles Kennedy providing vocals throughout. Launching into action with the album's title track, the listener is catapulted face-first into a high-octane guitar riff, with Slash's distinguishable sound the main focus. Team that with Kennedy's highly distinctive and powerful vocals and the record is set up and ready to go.

The first single from the album, You're A Lie, is a mix of melodic, building verses and big, full-throttle choruses that explode into a cacophony of catchy hooks and classic sounding solos. Already by this point in the album (track 4) there are some obvious hints and references from Slash's previous bands, with Kennedy bringing out tinges of Axl Rose vocal twangs, and Slash's guitar characteristics reminiscent of both Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver. This, of course, is no bad thing.

Halo is one of the standout tracks on the record featuring some Slayer-esque quitar lines in the introduction. But with this track, as well as One Last Thrill, Kennedy's vocals take a slightly harsher tone, bringing out the 'love it or hate it' attitude that Occasionally surrounds the singer.

Apocalyptic Love features just enough diversity and variety to satisfy the listener, and although essentially a classic collection of Rock n' Roll tunes, each track takes a slightly different angle on the genre. Some tracks are definitely suited to an arena setting (Standing In The Sun, No More Heros, We Will Roam), while others, such as Anastasia begin like tender ballads with beautiful spanish guitar passages, before shifting into fast-paced classically-influenced, technical guitar motifs verging more on the Metal side of Rock.

Hard And Fast is exactly what it says - a brilliant Rock track that sounds like it's come straight from the 70's. The addition of female backing vocalists on the record are a great finishing touch, bringing extra power and harmonies to the songs, giving Myles' voice a kind of turbo-boost, if you will. Just what you need towards the end of the album to notch it up a gear. Ending on a high, Shots Fired, features a Metallica-style, thrash/metal guitar riff that drives the song with an infectious energy.

It seems that over the years, Slash and Kennedy have developed a really strong team, with Myles writing the lyrics and Slash the music. Apocalyptic Love is not only a solid Rock record, but a showcase of Slash's unbelievable talent; something that perhaps has not always been recognised to its full potential until his solo efforts. Packed with musical surprises, Slash mixes some fairly unlikely genres together (neo-classical electric guitar with acoustic spanish/flamenco) with ever changing guitar styles, tones and sounds. As I mentioned at the beginning, Slash's previous album seemed somewhat confused due to the number of guest vocalists appearing, so the featured vocals from Kennedy serve as a welcome and uniting feature of the album.

And, of course, there's enough shredding solos (some really memorable ones, in fact) to more than indulge the die-hard Rockers out there!