Review: Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Apocalyptic Love

 While it wasn't the best album of 2010, the self-titled solo debut from former Guns N' Roses axeman, total guitar hero and general figure of influence on most hard rock bands around today Slash was definitely one of the coolest. With it's wide range of big names in rock and metal doing guest vocals, from Lemmy, to Ozzy Osbourne, to M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold, even to Black Eyed Peas star Fergie, and stellar guitar work from the man in the big top hat himself which showed the spark that fueled GNR's finest work was still burning inside of him, the album was a massive rock n' roll party. A rock album for good times.

 This time around, Slash has kept up his solo career but with a search for something more serious and impacting. And so this time all vocals are performed by Myles Kennedy, the voice of Alter Bridge and arguably one of the finest voices in rock music today, who happens to also be taking on guitar duties. Slash has made claims that he knew little of Kennedy before he recorded the songs Back From Cali and Starlight for his debut solo album. The fact that he then took Kennedy out on tour with him and has him as the sole vocalist on this album says a lot about his ability to take on a role as a frontman and belt out a strong rock song. And on Slash's new offering Apocalyptic Love the talent and skill of both Slash and Kennedy is raised dramatically, to the extent that the quality of the album surpasses even some of Guns N' Roses finest moments.
 A big part of this esteemed quality can be found through the extreme chemistry that Slash and Kennedy share throughout the album in both their performances. In the moments of Apocalyptic Love where songs take on a wilder, more off-the-handle attitude, seen in the adrenaline packed One Last Thrill or the explosive Shots Fired, the fast and furious driving riffs from Slash are greatly complimented by Kennedy's relentless wailing. Meanwhile, Kennedy's delicate bluesy tones combine effortlessly with Slash's smoother moments of strumming on the album, found in the likes of We Will Roam and the touching ballad Far and Away.
 The real winning moments on this album are when the elements of blues and elements of classic heavy metal fuse together in a more subtle manner to effectively create hard rock perfection. Hellraisers like You're a Lie, No More Heroes and Anastasia all contain some of the album's most powerful melodies, than contain a lasting touch of dusty rock and roll elegance, while also managing to pack extra punch to listeners with pounding metallic hooks. Anastasia sees these elements come together to the greatest extent on this album. With an clearly classical influence in mind, this song displays the finest guitar work from both Slash and Kennedy, revealing their ability to compliment each other once more.
 Though Apocalyptic Love is primarily a Slash album, the duty of frontman between him and Kennedy does seem to be shared. It helps that Kennedy sounds throughout the album as though he's having the time of his life and, without any disrespect to Alter Bridge who I always have lots of time for, makes Apocalyptic Love sound like his fun night out away from his Alter Bridge day job, while displaying the kind of passion to make it a serious affair at the same time.
 The performance from fellow bandmates The Conspirators - Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz is also undeniably solid, with Kerns basslines providing a perfect groove to drive tracks like Standing in the Sun and Kerns' swinging drumbeats acting as the main catalyst to trigger off Bad Rain. The entire band effort here across the album is nailed down so the entire party has a chance to shine.
 So, following a new wave of questioning and controversies that came with the chances of a Guns N' Roses reunion being smashed to pieces, Slash proves with Apocalyptic Love that it will be a while before he ever needs to do anything with Axl Rose before losing his mojo. His guitar work is sounding stellar and showing signs of progression alongside the spirit of Appetite for Destruction that pulses within his performance. Working with Myles Kennedy has also seen this musical strength return in full force. It's hard to think of a musician that has complimented his guitar work more graciously by performance since Axl. Overall, this album is a sign of a musical icon rising to new levels of quality and glory. This is another reason as to why Slash is guitar hero number one.

 Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators' Apocalyptic Love is out now via Roadrunner. The band will play at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo on 6th June with Halestorm and Minny Pops and will play at Download Festival at Donnington Park on 8th June.