Despite being promoted as Slash’s third solo record, ‘World On Fire’ is technically the second album by the band lead by him and singer Myles Kennedy. Very little bands in recent Rock history have such a tight band dynamic as Slash, Myles and The Conspirators, the Canadian rhythm section of bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz. While this album’s predecessor ‘Apocalyptic Love’ took some time to grow on me, the celebratory, hard-edged Rock ‘n’ Roll sound of that record is continued successfully and while true standouts like ‘Anastasia’ and ‘Bad Rain’, ‘World On Fire’ is just as good and possibly even more consistent.
Throughout his musical carreer, Slash has hardly ever strayed from his Hard Rock with a shot of eighties Metal direction and ‘World On Fire’ is no exception. One could dismiss this as unoriginality, but Slash always finds ways to improve on this formula, especially with this lineup. The rhythm section is rock solid and Kennedy is quite likely the best Rock singer on the face of the Earth right now. What does deserve some recognition is that the album contains some of the best riffs Slash has written thus far. Combined with Kennedy’s talent for strong hooks, it’s a winner.
As mentioned before, the highs on the album may not be as high as the ones on ‘Apocalyptic Love’, but the album is a thoroughly entertaining listen all the way through. A few standout moments include ’30 Years To Life’, which builds from a Delta riff to an energetic Rocker, the unabashedly Metal ‘Beneath The Savage Sun’ and the pleasantly surprising structure of the awesome ‘Shadow Life’. Due to its blistering riffwork and recognizable chorus,’Too Far Gone’ should have been the single in a time when singles mattered and the title track is an incredible powerful opener and ‘Automatic Overdrive’ and ‘Wicked Stone’ are spirited Rockers.
However, the album isn’t without its flaws. Apart from the hideous artwork – from the ugly cover right down to the subpar band photos – the album takes a notable dip in quality after the very interesting ‘Withered Delilah’ (bonus points for that title, by the way). Luckily, the album picks up steam again with the upbeat ‘Avalon’. What follows is the delightfully dynamic ‘The Dissident’, Slash’ most exciting instrumental thus far in the shape of ‘Safari Inn’ and the brilliantly dark and bitter closing track ‘The Unholy’.
In the end, ‘World On Fire’ is a strong Hard Rock album that deserves to be heard by any fan of the genre. Quite a lot of this material deserves to be heard in the live environment. I’m quite sure it will work just as well as the songs from ‘Apocalyptic Love’. It’s just that the fact that a CD can contain 80 minutes of music doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do it. Aside from that minor complaint, everyone who enjoyed everything else Slash has done in the past can safely acquire this record. It’s rare to hear Rock bands sound this inspired and “together” these days.
Recommended tracks: ’30 Years To Life’, ‘The Unholy’, ‘Too Far Gone’, ‘World On Fire’