The Top Hat’s Back

    Slash

    Slash

    EMI

    7/10

    After his tepid run with former Guns N’ Roses members in Velvet Revolver, Slash hits stores with his first solo album, a behemoth of a release simply titled Slash.

    Clearly tired of histrionic lead singers like the megalomaniacal Axl Rose and the drug-addled Scott Weiland, Slash has assembled an army of the biggest names in music from past to present, recruiting everyone from Fergie to Ozzy Osbourne to form a revolving door of vocalists, resulting in a myriad of styles. Slash demonstrates his versatility over 14 monstrous tracks, where his guitar lines drive every song and are never limited to the blues rock riffs that made him famous in Guns N’ Roses.

    Every song seems to be written around the vocalist, and one of Slash’s greatest strengths on the album is his ability to let the other superstars shine with him. Ozzy’s track “Crucify the Dead” builds slowly off a haunting acoustic arpeggio before the Prince of Darkness soars with his trademark wail. The other legends fare just as well: It’s hard to tell whether Lemmy Kilmeister’s voice or his bass growls with more energy on “Doctor Alibi,” and Iggy Pop bounces across “We’re All Gonna Die” like he hasn’t aged a day since 1971’s Raw Power. Even the unlikely pairings work: It’s hard to notice how bad Kid Rock sounds when he’s powered by choral arrangements and blistering guitar solos on “I Hold On,” and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine croons over an orchestral piece entitled “Gotten.”

    Fergie’s track, “Beautiful Dangerous,” is one of the best on the album, with enough groove mixed with rock ‘n’ roll sex appeal to form a legitimate hit. The track’s slithering wah-guitar harmonizes with a raspy, sensual Fergie, whose delivery alternates between a slow, break-your-balls moan and a punchy, pop/rock staccato. Slash shines on this track, demonstrating that he’s as brilliant as the people around him, the reason why his work with Axl Rose and Michael Jackson (he played guitar on “Black or White”) was so good, and why he shines here: Surrounded by legends, a man of his talent can’t fail.

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