Released May 22, 2012 (Dik Hayd Records)
01. Apocalyptic Love
02. One Last Thrill
03. Standing In The Sun
04. You’re A Lie
05. No More Heroes
07. We Will Roam
09. Not For Me
10. Bad Rain
11. Hard & Fast
12. Far And Away
13. Shots Fired
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
15. Crazy Life
Myles Kennedy – vocals and guitar
Slash – guitar
Todd Kerns – bass and vocals
Brent Fitz – drums, percussion and electric piano
Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Kevin Valentine.
It’s probably an understatement to say that this album has been much anticipated, simply due to Slash‘s extraordinary fan-base in terms of both size and range. I was skeptical, having never been a huge lover of Slash‘s solo work or even of his guitar skills in Guns N’ Roses, however I am prepared to say that on Apocalyptic Love he has won me over.
Apocalyptic Love is modern without being indie, or becoming one of those poor excuses for a band that declare they play ‘rock’. It’s produced wonderfully without losing a raw, grungy edge, managed well by the attention to tonality and sound. The songs are all penned by Slash and vocalist Myles Kennedy, whom you may know from Alter Bridge. I was a little disappointed with Kennedy‘s vocal performance here — after boasting a four-octave tenor range it’s all a bit over-affected, making him sound more distorted than it needs to be.
The opening title track is conventional hard rock with strong, signature riffs — but left me thinking that the vocals were too far back in the mix. This was quickly rectified as the album dived into “One Last Thrill” and “Standing In The Sun”, both have great momentum with the latter bringing in a more melodic side. The single “You’re A Lie” is of a darker kind, with simple yet highly effective layering on the verses, although by this point I was beginning to wonder if Slash was going to show us anything a little more complex in his department of so-called unbeatable guitar skills. The next couple of songs I felt could be skipped over, being less directional and a little samey, before “Anastasia” opens with a bass-heavy acoustic sound that is melodic and emotive as it picks up the heavy tonality once more.
One of my favorite tracks is “Bad Rain”, with a much-awaited change of rhythm in the sparse introduction and a raw, coarse texture. “Hard & Fast” needs little explanation, but contrasts well next to “Far And Away” which makes varied use of effects — Kennedy gets a little more of the mix to himself on this track and the bass is especially effective. “Shots Fired” moved back into the area of too much production for me, and as you hit the bonus tracks of the deluxe edition you need something really special to keep you stuck in. The two bonus extras are worth having though and I think the use of the voice-box is interesting and used sparingly enough to make “Carolina” interesting. But the better of the two is definitely “Crazy Life” — the drums, having mostly been in the background (in a good way), take a more prominent role and Kennedy suits the higher melody. It’s an uplifting end and brought the whole album to a positive close.
The songs on Apocalyptic Love are dark and heavy — the epitome of Slash himself. I still stick to my view that Slash is overrated as a guitarist — the riffs here are good and far from power chords, but when there’s this much hype you’re waiting for someone to live up to it. As a songwriter though, this album has convinced me of Slash‘s abilities and it’s one I won’t hesitate to go back to soon.
www.slashonline.com – www.facebook.com/Slash
Reviewed by JJ Lee for Sleaze Roxx, July 2012