If you’re one of the 165,000 people that follow Slash on Twitter, you would undoubtedly know he has released a solo album, aptly titled “Slash.” You would also know that almost every song on the album features a different superstar lead singer, from the likes of Iggy Pop to Fergie. The album is a competent mix of many different genres, every track being completely different from the next, as you would imagine from the different singers featured on the tracks. What truly ties the album together and sets it apart from being an utter mishmash of different styles is Slash’s iconic guitaring. However, solid as the album may be, if you hold a very dear view of what Slash’s guitaring should sound like, be forewarned: you might not find what you expect.
Just as he uses different guitars for different tones, Slash manages to choose the perfect vocalist to fit the tone and mood for each of his songs. Think of the singers as just another instrument to emphasize Slash’s guitar. “Doctor Alibi” is a fast-paced heavy song about doing what you love. Who better to sing it than Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister? On the other end of the spectrum, “Gotten,” featuring Adam Levine on vocals, is a soft love song – completely different from “Doctor Alibi.” With Levine’s vocals and Slash’s creamy guitar tone, the song sounds just like Maroon 5 at times. But just as you start to lose faith, Slash’s leads come in and remind you exactly what you’re listening to.
Possibly the only time this approach to using vocalists completely backfires on the album is in the song “Nothing to Say,” featuring M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold. The song sounds almost exactly like a standard Avenged Sevenfold song. It’s no surprise that not only is Kennedy the only vocalist on more than one track in the album, but he’s also Slash’s touring singer. Though it drifts away during parts of the song, this edgy blues sound (most prevalent in the intro of “Starlight”) is one that has persisted through Guns N’ Roses, to Velvet Revolver, and shows up sparingly in songs in this record. It’s what makes Slash such a powerful guitarist and it’s a shame that there’s not more of it to be found here.
Because the lyrics of the songs were penned by their respective singers, there is no cohesive lyrical style to the album, and the messages of the songs carry less weight than they would if they were written by one person. This contributes the musical aspect of the vocals, however, as hearing the singers sing words that they write enhances their vocals styles, which were carefully picked to help Slash get the sound he wanted. The lyrics in the record don’t necessarily need to be understood; they simply need to be heard.
Slash is undoubtedly one of the best guitarists alive. Despite some “controversial” feelings for the vocalists he chose, they all do a fantastic job fulfilling their roles, and manage to create 15 solid songs. There is nothing nearly as legendary as Guns N’ Roses, or even Velvet Revolver for that matter, on the record. But what you do get is Slash expressing himself and experimenting with different sounds in a way that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to with his previous bands. If you don’t mind hearing your guitar idol exploring and collaborating with Fergie or Adam Levine, give “Slash” a go. However, if you want to hear Slash at his absolute best, you might want to stick with “Appetite for Destruction.”