Album of the Week 25-2012: Slash – Apocalyptic Love

Initially, ‘Apocalyptic Love’ didn’t do anything special for me. Naturally, I bought it on the day of release and although I liked what I heard, it was nothing more than I expected. This may not necessarily sound negative, but when one of the best Hardrock guitarists of the world teams up with the guy that I consider by far the greatest singer since the generation of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, something magical is not too much to ask for, right? In the month since its release, ‘Apocalyptic Love’ really grew on me – no doubt helped by the downright brilliant concert Slash, Myles Kennedy and their Conspirators gave at the Heineken Music Hall two weeks ago – and now I see the album for what it really is: a kick-ass Hardrock record.

Where Slash’s self-titled solo debut was a disorganized mess or a versatile record – depending on your viewpoint – due to the large number of guest singers and musicians, ‘Apocalyptic Love’ definitely profits from the presence of a fixed group of musicians, as there is something of a consistent band sound. There’s still plenty of variation to be found on the album, but it is obvious that Slash, Myles, bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz are in the same energy together. In addition, Myles Kennedy audibly had a hand in the song arrangements: his strong sense of melody works complementary with Slash’s feel for Rock licks.

Despite what I said in the beginning of this review, there were two songs that immediately hit me hard when I listened to the album for the first time and those are still my favorites. ‘Anastasia’ spots a few remarkably neoclassical guitar lines for Slash, a goosebumps-inducing chorus with double vocal harmonies, killer riffs, a brilliant build-up and an extensive jam at the end. This is easily one of the best Rock songs of this year and a prime example of why a Slash/Myles collaboration is such a great idea. The brooding Rock song that is ‘Bad Rain’ just has this amazing atmosphere, with its relatively subdued verses and big chorus. These two songs justified the money spent for me in the beginning.

Later on, I realized there’s a whole batch of other great songs on ‘Apocalyptic Love’. ‘One Last Thrill’ for instance, an energetic Rock song which in my eyes should have opened the album, they corrected this mistake by opening with the song in concert. ‘You’re A Lie’ is a relatively heavy track which took some time to adjust to due to its unconventional structure, ‘Hard & Fast’ lives up to its title, ‘Standing In The Sun’ has a more melodic finish and the title track and ‘Shots Fired’, which bookend the album, just plain kick ass.

First impressions aren’t always right, that much is proven by ‘Apocalyptic Love’. Of course, me wanting to like the album helped a little. Because let’s face it, you can never have enough Myles Kennedy. Slash finally sounds like he’s completely comfortable with what he’s doing again as well, for the first time since the Snakepit debut. Maybe it’s the lack of pretension. And isn’t that what a good Rock album needs?

Recommended tracks: ‘Anastasia’, ‘Bad Rain’, ‘One Last Thrill’

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