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Slash featuring Mike Kennedy And The Conspirators - 'Apocalyptic Love' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/70/48/5d/2554_SlashApocalypticLove_1344358886.jpg Hot

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Will undoubtedly be hailed as Slash's best record since 'Appetite For Destruction'.

As much as I enjoyed Slash’s 2010 debut album, it seemed like he was trying harder to corner the contemporary market and show how versatile he was than to just accept that he will always be famous as a creator of raucous rock ’n’ roll with timeless guitar riffs and solos. Thankfully, this time he’s dispensed with the eclectic guest vocal who’s who and just stuck with the man who proved adept at handling all the different styles in the live arena; Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy. Also from his live band come the Canadian rhythm section now known as The Conspirators, ex-Age Of Electric bassist Todd Kerns and much travelled drummer for hire, Brent Fitz. Not only has Stoke’s finest export kept the same singer and band, he’s also taken a step back with the writing and done a whole album not too far away from the styles of Velvet Revolver, Snakepit and that other band that he used to play in.

As you listen to ‘Apocalyptic Love’ there’s no doubt that Slash has rediscovered who he is, with excellent, groove-ridden riffs aplenty on the low-slung title track, the sleazy ‘One Last Thrill’ and the irresistible ‘We Will Roam’, each ploughing a familiar furrow without being too close to anything you’ve heard before. I’m assuming that Kennedy was involved with the vocal melodies, and a great job he does too, especially on the choruses of the more commercial sounding songs like the glorious ‘Standing In The Sun’ with its superb harmonies, the less intense and sure to be a single; ‘No More Heroes’, and the arena rock arm waver ‘Not For Me’, which builds to bombastic climax.

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Even better are the wonderful bluesy ballad ‘Far & Away’, with its subtle vocal and gorgeous guitar fills, the almost thrash metal riffs of ‘Halo’, and the sharp twin guitar attack of ‘Shots Fired’. Top of the heap though has to be the lengthy ‘Anastasia’, which starts with beautiful classical guitar before it erupts into a truly great rock song with more great riffs and solos than you can shake a stick at, with Kennedy’s multi-tracked harmony vocals being the icing on the cake. If you buy the Classic Rock fan pack the two bonus tracks are well worth it, particularly the lively rocker 'Crazy Life', which is one of the best tracks on the whole album.

Superbly produced again by fast-rising ex-T-Ride drummer Eric Valentine, 'Apocalyptic Love' will undoubtedly be hailed as Slash's best record since 'Appetite For Destruction', and quite rightly so. Some will probably moan that it has too many songs (the fan pack has fifteen!), but there aren't any real clunkers and all of them have plenty to recommend them. In fact, my only minor quibble is with Myles Kennedy's upper register being a little grating and far too Axl-like, but on the whole this is a consistent, sometimes excellent set of tunes that are more in line with what most of Slash's fans will want.

Phil Ashcroft

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