Having recorded five albums with Guns N' Roses, two with Slash's Snakepit and two with Velvet Revolver, Slash finally unleashes his first solo album, with a motley collection of players. "Slash" (2010) features a cast of newer cats such as Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge), and Adam Levine (Maroon 5) and veterans such as Ian Astbury (the Cult) and Ozzy Osbourne.
"Slash" is a highly diverse album that should have something for everyone, as the album doesn't have a lot of repetition, as each song is a unique collaboration between Slash and the guest artist featured on the track. Bassist Chad Chaney (Jane's Addiction) and John Freese (A Perfect Circle, Guns N' Roses, Nine Inch Nails) round out the band.
1. Ghosts (featuring Ian Astbury). A great mid-tempo opener that wouldn't have been out of place on the Cult's "Electric" (1987) album. Great to see Slash and Izzy rock once more.
2. Crucify the Dead (featuring Ozzy Osbourne). A bluesy, haunting vintage Ozzy-rocker that really wouldn't sound out-of-place on any of his albums. Although Slash has denied it, with lyrics like "A loaded gun jammed by a rose, the thorns are not around your head, your ego cursed you till you bled," it's hard not to believe this song isn't about Axl.
3. Beautiful Dangerous (featuring Fergie). The album takes a real left-turn with this song which sounds a bit like the band Garbage. When I first heard that Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas would be singing on this album, I was not impressed, to say the least. Seemed like a totally lame idea--an obvious attempt at creating a cross-over hit. That said, "Beautiful Dangerous" totally rocks. Fergie actually has a powerful voice that fits the song really well. The song has a great hook and should be an obvious choice to use as a single.
4. Back from Cali (featuring Myles Kennedy). Not bad, but not great either. A typical bluesy rocker from Slash that sounds like one of the more forgettable songs from a Snakepit album. Kennedy is a strong singer, but this is sort of a middle-of-the-road rocker that sort of meanders and doesn't really get off the ground.
5. Promise (featuring Chris Cornell). I've always wanted to see Slash collaborate with Chris Cornell and I am very pleased with the results. This song is a little reminiscent of "Do You Know My Name," the title song from "Casino Royale." "Promise" doesn't grab hold of you right away; rather it builds up with its solid groove and infectious hook.
6. By the Sword (featuring Andrew Stockdale). Since this features the singer from Wolfmother, it should come as little surprise that it sounds very Zeppelin-esque. A strong, bluesy rocker that doesn't make for a bad first single.
7. Gotten (featuring Adam Levine). Much like with the Fergie song, it seemed pretty lame that Slash would want to record a track with a pop-singer like Adam Levine. Another obvious attempt at a cross-over hit, "Gotten" is actually much better than one might think. It certainly has more soul than most adult-contemporary tripe that's popular today. This is actually a song that both GN'R fans and soccer moms could go for.
8. Doctor Alibi (featuring Lemmy Kilmeister). Not at all surprisingly this one sounds a lot like Motorhead. Maybe not up there with "Ace of Spades," but "Doctor Alibi" is short, sweet and definitely rocking.
9. Watch this Dave (featuring Dave Grohl and Duff McKagan). A song featuring alumni from both Nirvana and Guns N' Roses? No, that can't be. Won't there be a rip in the space-time-continuum or something? Apparently not. "Watch this Dave" is a good jam with strong instrumental fire-power that fans of Slash should dig.
10. I Hold On (featuring Kid Rock). As expected this sounds a bit like updated Lynyrd Skynyrd. Neither Kid Rock nor Slash's greatest accomplishment ever, but solid.
11. Nothing to Say (featuring M Shadows). A touch of speed-metal with a classic Sabbath riff. Pretty heavy and a good counter-weight to the Levine song.
12. Starlight (featuring Myles Kennedy). Maybe nothing ground-breaking, but a pretty mid-tempo rocker none-the-less. Definitely a cut above most generic ballads.
13. Saint is a Sinner Too (featuring Rocco Deluca). Probably the most off-beat song on the album, this rather haunting, low-key song slowly builds up. Features some of the most exquisite playing on the album.
14. We're All Gonna Die (featuring Iggy Pop). As its hedonistic, nihilistic, but amusing title might suggest, this balls-out rocker is Iggy at his best. A perfect closer.
While Slash didn't attempt to push the envelope creatively the way his former colleague Axl Rose did with (the stronger) "Chinese Democracy" (2008) "Slash" is still a solid collection of songs that, while not earth shattering, should please his fans and rockers in general. "Slash" is the type of album that you can play over and over again and rock or mellow-out to with a six pack, or as Slash might prefer, a bottle of Jack.