I really like Apocalyptic Love, but not for the reasons that I thought I would. I thought I would mostly put up with middling songs in order to bask in the glory of Slash’s alternately lyrical and bluesy guitar solos. What I found, though, was a collection of fantastic songs featuring some of the most powerful vocals I’ve heard anywhere, and a bunch of guitar solos that, while very very good, are not quite of the “bow down and worship at the altar of Slash” quality that I was hoping for.
Here are the my takeaways from my first few listens to Apocalyptic Love:
- Slash is still a riffmaster. Intro riffs, verse riffs, chorus riffs. They’re all here, and they’re all great. Slash seems to be an endless fountain of badass rock riffs, to the extent that I’m starting to think that when Slash sneezes, a cool riff comes out. Though there’s much more to like here, listening to Apocalyptic Love is worth it just to study the riffing.
- Slash’s songwriting skills continue to improve… rapidly. These are great songs with very little filler. With the exception of “One Last Thrill” I can’t find any weak songs. I like them all. They’ve got great hooks, but they’re not trite or overly-commercial. They’re musically interesting without being self-indulgent. They’re just really, really good.
- Myles Kennedy is an absolute monster. Wow. Just wow. His voice is powerful when it needs to be, on “You’re A Lie,” for example, but soft and soulful when appropriate, like on “Far and Away.” How good is he? Let’s just say I’m done pining for Axl and Slash to get back together. Myles will do just fine, thank you very much.
- Maybe it’s because everything else on this release is of the highest quality, or maybe it’s because he set the bar so high in the past (or maybe both) but Slash’s soloing left me just a little flat. I was eagerly anticipating at least one transcendent guitar solo moment (or more… I’m greedy) like the intro solo of “Paradise City” or the main solos from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “November Rain.” Solos that stick with you because you can sing them. On Apocalyptic Love Slash seems to have fallen in love with chromatic movement, which makes for some cool chord changes and solos that are musically interesting and worthy of a high degree of respect, but not earth-shatteringly “open up the windows and blast it because the whole neighborhood needs to hear this” awesome. I don’t want this to sound too critical, because it’s not supposed to be. I actually think it’s a tribute to how good of a player Slash is that I’ve come to expect so much from him.
- Apocalyptic Love
- Standing In The Sun
- Far and Away
- Shots Fired
There are tons of reasons to listen to Apocalyptic Love… over and over and over again.