BACK FROM THE DEAD
Released on November 26, 2012 (New Ocean Media)
01. Back From The Dead
02. Own Worst Enemy
03. Another Version Of The Truth
04. The One That You Hated
05. Good To Be Bad
06. Just Don’t Ask
07. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton – vocals, guitar, mandolin and piano
Lonny Paul – guitar and vocals
Johnny Martin – bass and vocals
Steven Adler – drums and percussion
Slash – lead guitar (6)
John 5 – lead guitar (5)
Jeff Pilson – bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals
Michael Lord – piano (8)
Produced by Jeff Pilson and Adler. Mixed by ay Ruston.
Steven Adler, the onetime Guns N’ Roses drummer, has released the debut album by his latest band Adler. If you recall, the ousted drummer had an on again/off again band called Adler’s Appetite a few years back. Okay, not the most ‘original’ idea, but what do you expect? Adler wasn’t a writer or a creative force and over the years he’s used his role in the classic Guns N’ Roses line-up as a stepping stone — it hasn’t worked however, and God knows he tried. With an ever revolving Adler’s Appetite line-up, and with stints in and out of rehab, any momentum Adler had gained was immediately lost.
So when Steven and his crew hit the studio as the newly dubbed Adler (again, not the most creative name) — true to his predictable nature of never letting you forget ‘hey I was in Gun N’ Roses once’ Adler resorted to simply using his surname. Vocalist Jacob Bunton, who you might recall from Mars Electric (one of the many John Kalodner bands that didn’t ‘take off), guitarist Lonny Paul and bassist Johnny Martin round out Adler‘s line-up. Back From The Dead also features guest appearances by (wait for it) Slash on “Just Don’t Ask” and John 5 (Rob Zombie) on “Good To Be Bad”.
Back From The Dead was co-produced by Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner, and most recently T&N) along with the band. In addition to the production duties Pilson helped co-write a pair of tunes and played bass tracks on the entire album. Due to the production, and also mixing skills of in demand Jay Ruston, Back From The Dead has a huge sound. The disc sounds great sonically, and it should — between Pilson and Ruston there’s a lot of experience.
The truth is, what people will remember about an album is the craftsmanship in the songwriting — how it hooks you and sucks you in. Back From The Dead can be produced by the best of the best in the business, and you can load it with guest after guest, but if the songs aren’t there they simply aren’t there — as is the case here. Bunton does a respectable job with contemporary rock vocals, Paul showcases his chops on guitar, and Steven sounds pretty good, but musicianship alone doesn’t make a great album. I think the fortunate thing here is, being that Steven will be reliving his past, the likelihood of you hearing more than two songs off Back From The Dead at a live show is slim… and a blessing. My question is, can this band pull off the Guns N’ Roses back catalog?
If you’re fine with cookie-cutter, uninspiring, contemporary ‘radio friendly’ rock that is extremely forgettable then Adler is just for you. Having said that, if I went to see Adler the two originals that I’d be curious to hear live would be “Habit” and “Back From The Dead”, everything else on the album will leave you feeling rather empty and duped.
Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda for Sleaze Roxx, December 2012