Review by Chris Lockett: In 2010, former Velvet Revolver and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash released what I would consider to be one of the worst solo albums of all time. The debut album, simply entitled Slash, consisted of the guitarist collaborating with a different singer/songwriter for every song. The results were inconsistent to say the least, and almost all of the songs were completely forgettable. Luckily however, Slash seems to have seen the error of his ways as well, and decided to recruit Alter Bridge and Mayfield Four vocalist Myles Kennedy, to be the lone singer/songwriter on his latest solo outing, entitled Apocalyptic Love. The results are certainly much more consistent this time around, but is the music more interesting? Hit the jump to find out!
First off, I’m going to start out by saying that Apocalyptic Love is A LOT better than 2010’s Slash, however, I wouldn’t get excited just yet, because that’s like saying that Apocalyptic Love is better than the latest Nickelback album. As in, it couldn’t possibly be any WORSE than 2010’s Slash. Anyways, moving on.
The album is a mixed bag to say the least. There are a couple of great songs, and a few good ones, but unfortunately those only make up about half of the album. The other half is chock full of forgettable filler tracks that even after a few listens, did absolutely nothing for me. There are only two ballads on this 13 track album (“Not For Me”, and “Far and Away”) both of which are beyond boring, drawing no genuine emotion and lacking a proper build up. Other wastes of time include the Southern-Rocker “Standing In The Sun”, which starts off promisingly until the chorus hits and the song immediately takes a trip to bland city. “Halo” is one of the more memorable songs on the album, but for all the wrong reasons, featuring one of the most annoying choruses from any song in recent memory. And finally, the interestingly titled “Hard and Fast”, as well as the album’s final track “Shots Fired”, only serve to go in one ear and out the other, leaving no evidence that they ever existed.
Take my advice and skip the aforementioned tracks. They only serve to draw out, and come close to destroying what I would consider to be a pretty decent album (which would have been better off as a lengthy EP). Album highlights include the fast-paced, speed limit defier “One Last Thrill”, the lengthy riff rocker “Anastasia” which features Slash’s considerable talents more than any other song on the album, and finally the very 80s sounding “Bad Rain”, which contains the catchiest chorus on the album.
The rest of the songs are merely decent. For instance, the title track, “Apocalyptic Love”, pulls you in from the get go with a groovy riff, but then throws in a bit of an underwhelming chorus. The album’s first single, “You’re A Lie”, contains a similar problem, starting off with an awesome toe tapping guitar riff that leads into a bland first verse, followed by a slightly better chorus. As for the other two songs on the album, “No More Heroes” and “We Will Roam”, they’re solid throughout, but never really try to be anything other than solid. In other words, they’re entertaining enough, but pull all of the punches that you figured they would.
Lyrically the album is more or less what you’d expect from Myles Kennedy. The lyrics are very basic and almost never have any underlying meanings or messages. It’s all very by the books, and extremely predictable.
Production wise the album is very clean sounding, and is completely devoid of any flubs. It really is way too polished for its own good, lacking any of the grit and rawness that a good hard rock record should have. And to make matters worse, not only is it too clean sounding but, at the end of a lot of the songs, there’s unnecessary drum stick clacking as well as gratuitous talking and the obligatory “one, two, three, four” leading into the next track, that are only there to create a false sense of rawness. So not only did the band along with producer Eric Valentine decide to polish the shit out of their record, but they also decided to insult their listeners by trying to make them believe that they are about to listen to some down and dirty Rock N’ Roll, when in fact it ends up being the opposite.
The Bottom Line: While I can’t say that I’m disappointed with Apocalyptic Love (I wasn’t expecting much going in), I can’t say that I’m pleasantly surprised with it either. Aside from a couple of really good songs as well as few decent ones, a good half of this album is a complete wash, full of songs that are completely forgettable and boring, (hm… much like an Alter Bridge album). And isn’t it funny that the album is being marketed as Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, when “The Conspirators” are really just a couple of session musicians. And when you look at it like that, you come to realize that the only two creative forces on this album (excluding Eric Valentine) are Slash and Myles Kennedy. The fact that neither of them are very good songwriters ends up being this albums downfall. Slash is an excellent guitarist, but he’s only able to shine when he’s working with a songwriter who is able to match his talents, and unfortunately Myles Kennedy is not that songwriter.