On 18th June 2004 at 11:36 Anonymous 251 wrote...
Very good. Very good.
By Velvet Revolver
When a band includes ex members of Guns and Roses and the singer from Stone Temple Pilots it is impossible not to draw comparisons between those bands and the new one those members have formed Velvet Revolver. I had heard of the band, but did not hear the single prior to hearing the album so I could only imagine and anticipate what it would sound like.
On first impressions 'Contraband' could've been a Guns n' Roses album with a different singer. The first song seems familiar, GN'R music with a vocal style suggestive of Axel Rose, until the chorus of distorted pull offs on guitar and vocals from someone who has a naturally melodic voice.
Slash had a distinctive sound and the ability to manipulate it from the beginning of his career, but improvement is obvious. Scott Weiland's voice varies effectively between a rich melodic snarl for the rockier songs (the majority of the album) and a cordial melody in the more gentle songs.
Stand out tracks (although there are no bad songs) include:
'Big Machine' - from the intro this could be a GN'R song, then the ultimate change of intensity makes it into something new. There is a simple , yet distinct message in the lyrics 'we're all slaves to a big machine.' There is intensity in the solidity of the drums, bass, and distorted power chords and pull offs of guitar. Instruments drop out and 'bring it down' but these experienced musicians know exactly when to come back in, build it back up and make changes.
'Fall to Pieces' is a powerful rock ballad which allows Slash to use the guitar sounds 'Paradise City' and 'Sweet Child of Mine' are remembered for.
'Set Me Free' has a deep rolling bass line, pinch harmonics at the beginning and a chorus that will be chanted by the crowd when this band play live. Constant lead work and the solidity of the rhythm section drive this song to its pinnacle without being too overstated.
This 14 track, hour long album echoes the best of late eighties / early nineties rock music, but it also has a freshness. Elements of modernity are worked into it to make a solid musical blend. My only complaint is - I don't like where you have to stick your finger to get the CD out of it's packaging. If you want to know what I'm talking about, get yourself a copy!