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Velvet Revolver - Contraband (CD)

Velvet Revolver
by Grigoris Chronis at 20 June 2004, 9:52 PM

I admit I was half-suspicious and half-anxious when I got this CD in my hands. The divided rumors flowing for this ambitious effort made me initially approach this specific 5-piece project (?) with a very strict intention.
Many times in the recent past has the collaboration of talented and (or) credited musicians proven not to be that expedient and originative, isn't so? In particular, watching three ex-Guns 'n' Roses survivors (Slash, Duff Mc Kagan, Matt Sorum) joining forces with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman (Scott Weiland) raises fairly justifiable objections on the motive of this musical concomitance. On the left side: a 3/5 fraction of the memorably forgotten Guns, gaining freedom from Count Axl Rose just before the billion-th Chinese Democracy declaration and hungry to achieve again their slice of the pie in the music business.  On the right side: an once-upon-a-time sobber grunge-alternative rock 'n' roller, trying to prove he's capable of achieving his long-gone rights after resurfacing from the gutter… Isn't it obvious that these names are able to reset the aspects of what supergroups are about in these days anyway? Well, let's move to the inside…   
Starting with a police-siren howl, this bunch of songs fortunately depicts a company of don't-wanna-grow-up street vagabonds, reminding us their familiar terrain of street hard rock 'n' roll with boozing vocals, middle-tuned driving guitar riffs and philthy but yet powerful solos, guided by a pounding rhythm section that just sums up the whole fetch to the instructions once given by frenzied pioneers such as the New York Dolls, the Hanoi Rocks or even the Guns themselves (at least, the musical part - weird, ha?). Slash seems to be in a demonic shape, unfolding once again most of his unique talent & digging more to his influnces of the past with his frenzied solos (keep your ears open in the Slither single, for example), well supported by companion guitarist Dave Kushner. Duff's firm bass playing offers thecertitude needed for the 6-string operation demands along with Matt Sorum's mature percussion performance. As for senior Weiland? Since I 'm not that familiar with his pre-history efforts, let's just admit that he fits well, he fits real well…Really into the groove, with somehow curious lyrics and a well respected performance in Fall to pieces…
The production is as needed: furious yet modulated, hard-boiled but adjusted to today's standards, surely structured to uphold the crew's predominance. It is of lesser importance to designate the album's highlights, since the whole story rolls out so smooth that keeps the CD playing all the way, to the listener's delight. If I had to desperedly choose somrthing? Well, Fall to pieces proves to be a neat update in this “long-forgotten rock ballad style while Do It For The Kids and Big Machine is another oportunity for Slash to pay homage to his trade-marked Les Paul.
Sum it up… I wasn't that sure in the opening paragraph but I definately am now: This record IS a Rocker! Nothing more, nothing less I should say to an amateur juvenile listener just getting' into “deep with that kinda music. If you would like to score similarities to the Guns projects…well, that's your job to do & you'll come up with your own conclusions. For the time being, my suspecion initially mentioned seems to be dissipated, I just have a doubt as to how long this outfit can keep up the same spirit?
And, yeah… Will Scott make it to the 2nd one?

4 Star Rating

Sucker Train Blues
Do It For The Kids
Big Machine
Illegal I Song
Fall To Pieces
Set Me Free
You Got No Right
Dirty Little Thing
Loving The Alien
Scott Weiland - Lead Vocals
Slash - Guitar
Dave Kushner - Guitar
Duff Mc Kagan - Bass
Matt Sorum - Drums
Record Label: RCA Records


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