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Velvet Revolver
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  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Velvet Revolver

    contraband libertad

    Contraband 7 ( 2004 )
    Sucker Train Blues / Do It For The Kids / Big Machine / Illegal i Song / Spectacle / Fall To Pieces / Headspace / Superhuman / Set Me Free / You Got No Right / Slither / Dirty Little Thing / Loving The Alien

    For me personally, the weak link in Guns N Roses was always their lead singer. So, imagine my delight at finding out about Velvet Revolver, essentially, Guns N Roses with an entirely different lead singer! True, this ex-stone temple pilots guy may or may not be the greatest singer in the world, but at least he's not extremely irritating like some other vocalist that once made music with Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. Well, taste is taste, I suppose. Whilst we all wait with baited breath for Axl to come out with 'Chinese Democracy', 'Velvet Revolver' have put this little 'Contraband' album together within a couple of years, and it's fine. It's an old-school eighties styled metal album. Well, a few modern touches are here. Slash and Duff in particular don't seem rooted to their past work with G'N'R, although they do both throw in some trademark licks and runs, etc, etc. Of the individual songs, I actually wanted a few great Slash guitar introductions but fail to hear very many. You know, 'Appetite For Destruction' had some great song introductions courtesy of the man Slash. The nearest this album gets to that is 'Fall To Pieces', which is a nice power-rock ballad. Elsewhere, the influence of Nirvana and grunge in general can be heard, some crushing riffs introduce a few of the things, dirty riffs, clouded riffs. Still, it remains the quieter material here that I find the most satisfactory. 'You Got No Right' is another one of those rock ballads that's been supremely well put together, and 'Loving The Alien' falls into the same category.

    Still, I wouldn't give this album a '7' if a few of the songs didn't rock, and didn't rock well. I like 'Spectacle', which positively brims with fire and, well, brimstone? Well, it positively brims with something! 'Set Me Free' is an awful lot of fun, pretty simple yet great riffs, etc, etc. 'Sucker Train Blues' and 'Do It For The Kids' are both accomplished rock songs with genuine energy. Overall, 'Velvet Revolver' invent absolutely nothing across this albums thirteen tracks, yet that doesn't really matter. I would have liked a few really classic songs here, but equally, nothing really stinks, either. This can be considered a good start for them, provided they are actually going to carry on, of course.

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    Readers Comments

    breeburch breeburch@bellsouth.net
    i am a huge velvet revolver fan. looking forward to seeing them at Voodoofest in N.O. on the 17th of Oct. Very sexy and very talented.

    Paul paullarkiin60@hotmail.com
    "the weak link was always their singer" You have GOT to be kidding man :) Axl is one of the best rock vocalists ever.

    Chris Messenger chrismessenger2003@yahoo.co.uk
    Hi, I stumbled accross your page looking for pictures of the Ramones to accompany a CD I'm making of Ramones songs...and i found the Ramones section to be very informative, i also found your contraband album review very well written, too. there are too many loudmouths on the web talking smack about bands and albums they will never understand (there's a point coming, albeit slowly) anyway, your review of Contraband, nice, however I think you missed one minor point, Velvet Revolver isn't about inventing anything new (i realise you said this but)It's about showing todays "wuss rock" bands what a real group of musicians can make together, i think, as a band, they stand for proving to themselves and the world that they can all churn out quality rock music. just a point which (I thought, if you listen with that in mind) makes the album higher than 7. Anyway. great page.

    brock brocksp@msn.com
    I agree with your #7 for this album. I've been a GnR fan since they first came out, and Slash was who made me want to play guitar. I even have his Marshall full stack, thats how much I like his style and sound, but I feel that it wasn't raw enough for me. Thats what I love about appetite, its raw, loud, and just awesome. I would love for Slash to put some really cool riffs like on appetite and crank up more leads.

    Odhran odonovao@tcd.ie
    This sounds a lot like what you'd expect a cross between Gn'R and STP to sound. But I don't think it sounds as good as you'd hope a cross between Gn'R and STP to sound like. And it's got copyright protection, won't load onto my laptop, even though I actually bought it.

    Chelsea palacerevolution2000@yahoo.com
    Adrian, I think the galring weak link in G&R after Izzy left, and in Revolver is the writing. Or the absence of a writer. Izzy wrote literally all of the Gunner's big tunes. They were useless after he left; and IMo that is what VR needs so bad: writing. This band should be huge. They got it all in place, but no memorable songs. Kick out the other guitarrist (or put him on maracas) and bribe Izzy to join. (When he is not writing over there for Axl)

    top of page Libertad ( 2007 )
    Let It Roll / She Mine / Get out the Door / She Builds Quick Machines / The Last Fight / Pills Demons and etc. / American Man / Mary Mary / Just Sixteen / Can't Get It out of My Head / For a Brother / Spay / Gravedancer

    The good news is that not only do Velvet Revolver now sound like a proper band, but that they've honed their craft to create an album of big, crunchy, anthemic rock songs that will surely please many a rock/metal fan this summer. Whilst the album doesn't contain any out and out classics, the standard throughout is high and the production allows space for the band members to solo without self-indulgence. All in all, this is a very satisfying listen. 'She Builds Quick Machines' is the lead single and it contains, yes, twiddly solos. Tightly coiled riffs combine with decent vocals. 'Let It Roll' closes the gap between Guns N Roses 80s stadium rock and Stone Temple Pilots post-grunge sound. It comes across as rather akin to a decent Pearl Jam track, but that's no bad thing. Again, we get a speedy little solo in the middle that sounds like it means business. A future single is 'Let It Roll', that's if anyone still worries about releasing singles these days, of course. Oh, there's a cover version of an ELO song here, 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head'. This sees Velvet Revolver in rare ballad territory although truth be told, this is very much power ballad. It's rather a dirge actually only enlivened by yes, another guitar solo through the middle of the instrumental break. That's ok, we like rock guitar solos and I mentioned these are never indulgent solos? Well, they aren't, they only last just enough time to make you smile before the songs move on.

    'Let's Fight' begins with a delicate little guitar passage before the song reaches mid-tempo territory, sounding worryingly like a Bon Jovi song. 'Just Sixteen' rocks hard with guitars spiralling and reaching outwards whilst the vocalist gives a strong performance. 'She Mine' is another catchy tune and whilst no, there isn't a 'Paradise City' anywhere in sight, Velvet Revolver are a strong act who could just yet become a major player on the stadium circuit. Watch out for them at a town near you. Their records are enjoyable yet I still feel the live arena is where they really belong.

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    top of page this page last updated 7/07/07


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