I've long said it, and I'll continue to say it. Slash is the single most overrated guitar player on the planet. While I definitely acknowledge him as not only a solid player and someone that has a very distinct sound, I really laugh when I see him listed in the same sentences with Malmsteen, Van Halen, Dimebag, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, etc. If he was that unbelievable, he wouldn't have been able to have been replaced by whatever goof Axl Rose trots out from tour to tour.
That said though, I totally dig Slash and his entire body of work. Loved his Guns N' Roses stuff. I liked Velvet Revolver. By far, to me his best work to date has been the two Slash's Snakepit records. His last record though, ROCK N FUCKIN' ROLL, was just a bit too disjointed for my taste. I get that Slash was not trying to create a "band" with that record, but there were just too many singers and too many styles approached to make it a very cohesive record. Still, that release did do one thing...it created the musical marriage between Slash and vocalist Myles Kennedy. The Alter Bridge vocalist has been great since he debuted, and yet his talents have really been magnified working with Slash. He has been universally accepted by all the Slash fans out there, and even more interestingly, by most of the Guns N' Roses fans that had little bad to say about Kennedy stepping in for Axl Rose at the Popular Music Hall Of Fame induction. The two have created a musical band, and the fans are buying it.
That bond is on display on APOCALYPTIC LOVE; a true rock n' roll record that's engaging, rockin' and features tune after tune of excellence. Without question, Slash and Kennedy have a chemistry that's all their own. With Slash having so much music out there that has a distinct style to it, APOCALYPTIC LOVE showcases a growth away from that to some degree. Songs like "You're A Lie" and "No More Heroes" are unmistakably Slash, but at the same time feature a new, less corrosive vibe than he ever showcased with Velvet Revolver, Snakepit or GnR. In short, the music here is far more mature than anything he's done in the past. For his part, Slash plays great as he always does. His typical bluesy edge is all over songs like "Halo", and ultimately if you are a Slash fan, you won't be disappointed at all.
The real reason to check out this album though is Kennedy. Kennedy has such a strong presence and is by far the most gifted vocalist Slash has ever worked with. His range and his overall vibe dominates each and every song. Listening to songs like "We Will Roam" showcase the range and compelling sound that had him set to replace Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin before they aborted that idea a few summers ago. The beauty of APOCALYPTIC LOVE is that Kennedy brings what Slash has been missing for awhile to the table, while Slash brings a bit of a dirtier sound that has never been found in Kennedy's past work with Alter Bridge. It's a win-win.
PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - It's truly been a great week for new music in the ol' iPod. APOCALYPTIC LOVE is a great record, be it Slash's name on it or any other band that's been a part of. The chemistry between him and Myles Kennedy is apparent, and hopefully we'll get plenty more albums from the two of them. This is really good rock n' roll music.