Thursday, October 23, 2014

Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter (2014)

It is almost ridiculous when you look back at the last 6 years of Slipknot's career and see everything that has happened to the band. Since the release of the 2008 album "All Hope Is Gone", Slipknot has lost their bassist Paul Gray who died of an overdose of morphine and fentanyl, they have gone through an infected break up with their drummer Joey Jordison, and there has been some struggles within between Corey Taylor and Jim Root when the later left Stone Sour. And to top it all off, the new drummer and bassist's identities have not been revealed and are not considered as full time members yet. The only good thing that Slipknot can take out of all this is that this kind of turbulence would have obliterated any other band in the business, but Slipknot are twisted enough to make it through all this and release another album.

I did not have much expectations for ".5: The Gray Chapter" before listening to it, but I was hoping that the band would take out their chaotic side as much as possible since it is that side I mostly associate them with. And sure enough, we get a good deal of chaos in this album, but we don't get the crazy attack we got in the band's early career, instead it is controlled chaos that is close to being wimpy, but chaotic enough to please the most of the fans on both side of the border (the fans that enjoy their more melodic style and those who like it heavy). There are only few parts of the album where the band really let it all go buck wild, like "Custer" and the opening to "AOV", which actually surprised me. Even though most things has pointed towards that the band has calmed down and tried to make more controlled music, I thought the band would really get together and really make a album that reminded them of their origin, as a tribute to Paul Gray.

One thing is for certain though, The band has definitely cut all of the ropes that tied them together with Stone Sour (except that Corey Taylor is still a member of both bands). You will find no "Snuff" in this album, which is a huge relief. However, ".5: The Gray Chapter" does still have their clean moments that mostly drags the album down. The awful "Killpop" is the only song in this albums that I could see in a Stone Sour record with its boring lyrics about jealousy and semi slow tempo (only thing keeping it from a Stone Sour record is the harsh vocals and the excesive amount of swear words), while "Goodbye" does nothing to catch my interest. Then we have those cleaner moments that just works out just because they are either catchy or because they still maintain the heavy attitude, like the infectious "Nomadic" or the groovy and catchy single "The Devil In I".

The main problem with ".5: The Gray Chapter" (besides from that hideous album cover) is a problem that Slipknot never really seemed to care about, which is that they put quantity over quality. The record has 16 songs and a playtime close to 1 hour and 15 minutes (bonus songs included), but I find only about half of the material in here enjoyable. They have had 6 long years since their last album and this is what they come up with? The tops of the album are definitely high and they match up well compared to the rest of the discography, but the bottoms are just dumb. I really wished that the band would some time in the future release an even album instead of a bumpy roller coaster. But then again, how easy is that when your band has a total of 10 members.

Speaking of members, how are the two newcomers holding up? Not surprisngly, they are doing a good job on this album. The drummer, who is rumored to be Jay Weinberg, may not have as unique of a style as Joey Jordison had, but his beats fits well with the songs and he really knows how to do a slamming blast beat, which is best heard in "The Devil In I". As for the bassist, who is Alesandro Venturella (who else could have the same tattoo as the guy in the "The Devil In I" video?), he does not really stand out that much in the album for me to give a proper opinion about him, but he does not make a fool out of him self, which should be considered as a fine compliment. The only thing those two are missing are some original masks, which they should be able to design them self if they become full time members of the Slipknot clan.

I am pretty sure that Paul Gray has observated the making of the album from heaven/hell/purgatory and is honored for this tribute that the band has made, because when it all comes down, ".5: The Gray Chapter" is ultimately a good album from the Iowa band. A good deal of chaos and some new ideas makes this album a worthwile listen, even if it is a tad bit too long. But the same problems that has haunted Slipknot before is showing again in this album. Too many fillers and no straight direction are aspects that keeps this record from becoming a grand piece in the Slipknot discography, but thanks to their unique, twisted style, Slipknot remains one of the bigger acts in the nu metal movement, which actually doesn't say much since most of those acts has been dismantled or lost the fan's attention.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Devil In I, AOV, Nomadic

Rating: 6,5/10 Skeptics

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amaranthe - Massive Addictive (2014)

The album title could not be any more descriptive over Amaranthe's sound. Their unique blend of pop, metal and techno is almost more addictive than nicotine, which is one of the reasons to why the band has become so successful. But this particular addiction is starting to lose its touch after only 3 albums.

Because "Massive Addiction" is exactly what you would expect from this band. Catchy choruses that sticks like glue and a healthy dose of female-, male- and harsh vocals. And there is no denying that the music in the album sounds good. The band know what they are doing and they are doing it like clockwork, which kind of worries me since the song writing process seems to work like that as well. There is nothing in "Massive Addictive" that tries to separate it from its two brothers, "Amaranthe" and "The Nexus". It is like the band has a pre-made template and then just puts in a slightly alternated riff, some new lyrics, and ta da, they have a "new" song.

But the worst part of it all is that the band still has not learned how to make a well diverse album. "Massive Addictive" holds almost the exact same tempo all the way through, with the exceptions of a couple of ballads of course, and the song's structures are far too similar. The lack of variation is really smothering this album to the extent of making it unbearable.

Therefore, there are only few songs in this album that ultimately sticks to me in a positive way. The industrial "Drop Dead Cynical" has a irresistible groove that fortunately does not annoy the brains out of you, while "Digital World" somehow reminds me of the 90's, but the song has a drive that is impressive. And out of the ballads in the album it is "Over And Done" that feels the most well composed where Elize Ryd and Joacim Lundberg does a great job in creating a connection between themselves. But the most impressive song is "An Ordinary Abnormality" that takes a sweet, heavy groove that just screams Soilwork all over it, and adapt it to a Amaranthe production. Definitely the only track in "Massive Addictive" that doesn't completely feel unoriginal.

Nope, this does not work for me. After three albums of more or less the same thing, I think I need to consult a psychiatrist to get rid of this addiction. "Massive Addictive" is far from a bad album, it has some great musicianship and it is very easy to remember the tunes, but compared to Amaranthe's two previous efforts, this record is not even close to reach the same attraction. The band needs a new direction to follow, a new angle to work from. Because if the band just keeps on going like this in the next couple of albums, then the crowd will eventually abandon Amaranthe. I know I am close of doing that.

Songs worthy of recognition: Drop Dead Cynical, Digital World, An Ordinary Abnormality

Rating: 5,5/10 Trinities

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Allen/Lande - The Great Divide (2014)

Russell Allen and Jorn Lande. Two amazing singers that has contributed to some fantastic music during their individual careers. One spends his time with fronting Symphony X and Adrenaline Mob, while the other is a former Masterplan singer and now focuses most of his energy on his solo band. But at the side of their main projects, these guys have also done 3 albums together under the name Allen/Lande, taken from their surnames of course, a project that has now reached its fourth album entitled "The Great Divide".

The big thing that separates this album from the other three is the main composer. The previous three albums had music written by guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Starbreaker, Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall), but he left the project in 2010. And his successor is... Timo Tolkki, who we all know is the former guitarist of Stratovarius and the man who recently started his own solo project called Timo Tolkki's Avalon, whom released two very mediocre albums, so I was worried that the music on "The Great Divide" would be substandard.

Fortunately, my fears were dismissed easily, since the music holds a good standard. Just like with the previous Allen/Lande albums, "The Great Divide" is a more classic inspired heavy metal album that fits both vocalists very well. The music does have some similarity with what Tolkki has done in his Avalon, but it does not overtake the album. Besides, I think that both Russell and Jorn are such competent singers that they can take a mediocre song and make it better. Also, I had some trouble separating which of the two front men was singing on what song, since their vocals are surprisingly similar, but that only works as an advantage since it makes the album more unified. Besides, you do hear the difference after the right amount of listens.

But if I should be honest, I do not care who sings which songs, because both Allen and Lande does a great job in this album, especially Allen who has left the stupid in your face attitude he has in Adrenaline Mob, and instead focuses on doing some great singing. His best performance comes in "Reaching For The Stars", a semi-slow song that gives a lot of room to the singer so he can show his full potential. My favourite Lande moment is his performance on the chorus to "Down From The Mountain" where he goes all in and put out all his power into a few lines of lyrics. Just fantastic.

Then there are of course other notable songs in this album, like the grand semi-ballad "Hymn To The Fallen",  the heavy "Dream About Tomorrow", or even "Lady of Winter" that sounds like it is ripped off of one of the Jorn albums (which of course makes it perfectly suitable for Lande). And ultimately it is those songs that sounds less like a creation from any of the previous or current Tolkki projects that really lifts "The Great Divide". A song like the opener "Come Dream With Me" just does not get me going thanks to the fact that it sounds like something out of a Revolution Renaissance record. This is clearly the best Timo Tolkki written album outside of Stratovarius, but it could have been even better if he kept it clean and simple with the classic heavy metal theme.

So once again I can admit that Allen and Lande makes a great team, even without Magnus Karlsson by their side. "The Great Divide" is a fine heavy metal record that is a must buy for fans of both vocalists, and even for those who enjoy the work of Timo Tolkki. His involvement did not bring as much change as I was fearing, but it did rattle the cage a small bit so the album would stand out against the other 3 Allen/Lande creations. No matter what, "The Great Divide" is an excellent album with great musicianship and good team work.

Songs worthy of recognition: Reaching For The Stars, Down From the Mountain, Lady of Winter

Rating: 8/10 Solid Grounds

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Black Sabbath - Tyr (1990)

I have always been a fan of Norse mythology. It is something with Odin, Thor and the rest of the gods and their stories that just feels so metal. That is why bands like Amon Amarth and Týr will always have a place in my metal heart, not only for their fantastic music, but also for their lyrics. But before any of those bands existed, the veterans in Black Sabbath decided to try out this concept in their 15th album "Tyr". Well, not exactly. "Tyr" is not a concept album, but several songs in the album has some of this theme incorporated, which gave the impression of it being one.

Despite not being a concept album, "Tyr" still feels like a well thought out piece where all of the songs share the same connection and sound. The sound is sort of a continuation from the previous effort, "Headless Cross", but it feels even more dynamic this time thanks to a different production that feels more modern than the darker production that "Headless Cross" had. I still feel that Sabbath does best when the production is a little rough, but I cannot say that the production on "Tyr" works as an disadvantage for the band, since it helps making the songs stand out more. However, the drums are a bit too loud, but it is not really enough to make me complain.

Once again, it is the shear power that impress me, something all of the Tony Martin records have in common. He sings with strength and passion, and he does the music justice. Just listen to"The Sabbath Stones", and be amazed over Tony's well thought out vocals, from the mood to the pure force. Definitely one of the more underrated singers in metal.

The other star of the album is, not surprisingly, the other Tony in the band. Iommi's guitar playing is once again spot on, and he does it with such precision that it gives me goose bumps. From the slower and more delicate parts in "Odin's Court" and  to the more fierce and heavier riffs in songs like "Valhalla" and "The Lawmaker", Tony Iommi brings a high diversity to "Tyr" that is unmatched in any other Sabbath album. I would say that this is one of his best performances in any Sabbath album up to date.

The song quality in this album is incredibly strong. Even the weaker tracks, the ballad "Feels Good To Me" and the opener "Anno Mundi", have some strength in them that makes their appearance worthy. That is why it is so strange to me why this album is rarely taken into question when you discuss about the best album from Black Sabbath. If you ask someone on the street about the best Sabbath album, it is a big chance that they will say "Paranoid", "Master of Reality", "Heaven And Hell", or any other album out of the first 10. With a great line-up consisting of the epic "Jerusalem", the more old school song "The Sabbath Stones", the groovy "Valhalla" and the easily likable "Heaven In Black", I consider "Tyr" to be among the top in the discography, but instead, some fans dismiss it fast just because it does not have Ozzy or Dio as the vocalist. It sucks that most people have such preconceptions about some eras in Sabbath, because it should be about the actual music that is performed, and not who is behind the mic.

"Tyr" is not a perfect album, but it is pretty darn close. With that nordic touch and some great performances from all of the band members, "Tyr" makes a great impression and is a big contender to becoming the best Black Sabbath album when I will summarize the discography. Great variation, great production, great everything. It would have been even more interesting to see how it could have been if the band made a full concept album out of this but it is not needed since the music does the talking, and it does it good. Odin and the rest of the gods are looking down from Valhalla, and can confirm that it feels good to finally be a part of the metal community, all thanks to this masterpiece.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Sabbath Stones, The Lawmaker, Jerusalem, Valhalla, Heaven In Black

Rating: 9,5/10 Anno Mundis

Monday, October 6, 2014

Scar Symmetry - The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity) (2014)

The metal world has seen many ambitious concept albums before. Albums that take on a grand and epic voyage that is almost too big for some to comprehend, or just a story that is told in more than one album. The next band that is trying out such a huge project is the Swedish melodic death metal band Scar Symmetry. "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)" is the first out of three albums about transhumanism, which is the development of technology and how it can improve the life of human beings. This first album revolve over the rise of artificial intellects and about the debate between those who oppose it and those who embrace it. An interesting concept that could possibly be a heads up for what will happen in the future.

As complex and diverse the concept was, I was hoping for the same with the music. There is no doubt that this is Scar Symmetry playing since the album is filled with their patented type of melodies, structure and singing styles, but there is nothing there that feels fresh or innovative. You have heard it before, and even if you do like it, it will leave a sour after taste. A song like "Technocalyptic Cybergeddon" is the perfect example of this, since there is so much in this song that the band has done before in one way or another. Especially the song structure and the riff structures are very much alike several other previous Scar Symmetry offerings. Recycling at its finest.

But I cannot stop myself from head banging with the rhythm, even though I know it is the same old situation, and that is because the music still has a strong attraction towards it. The groovy "Neohuman" and the apocalyptic "The Spiral Timeshift" are some of the front runners in this album, and there are certainly several other good songs in this record. However, I cannot leave the fact that this album is missing a strong, catchy chorus. A chorus that takes a hold of your brain and does not let go for quite some time. The chorus to "Limits To Infinity" could have had that ability, but the end result is just flat and drags down an otherwise good song.

The strong suit of Scar symmetry has always been Per Nilsson's guitar playing, and he definitely delivers in this album. He mixes simple and complex riffs that fits perfectly with what is played on the keyboard, and the solos he does are well fitted into the songs. He just does a hell of a good job on every album, and so does the rest of the band. The mix between clean and harsh vocals are well balanced and the drums holds a good rhythm together with the bass. So despite that Jonas Kjellgren left the band in 2013, the band still have a good chemistry that creates a comforting harmony that is really reflective in the end product.

Still no word on when the upcoming two parts of the trilogy is coming out, which is a little sad since this album got me hooked. "The Singularity (Phase 1 - Neohumanity)" is a good offering from Scar Symmetry that displays both strength and melody together with a en capturing concept. But the band still has some way to go to make me love this concept series, because the music is not very original and the lack of a very strong chorus is hurting the album. I set my hopes high before Phase 2 and I am sure that the Swedes will conceive another great metal album, and hopefully not just take out a album clone from its cryogenic sleep. The future sure looks good.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Spiral Timeshift, Neohuman, Cryonic Harvest

Rating: 7,5/10 Neuromancers

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Black Sabbath - Headless Cross (1989)

Continuing on the successful sound that came from "The Eternal Idol", "Headless Cross" was released in 1989 and was to that point Black Sabbath's darkest album after the Ozzy era. I am not saying that they completely went back to the doom groove that excelled Black Sabbath's early career, but some of the elements was added to the band's current repertoire from that era, like the dark lyrics and a slightly dirtier production. So this was ultimately as close as Black Sabbath would come to its older self.

If we compare this album to Black Sabbath's previous releases, I would say that "Headless Cross" is a lot like its predecessor "The Eternal Idol", but it also have distinct similarities with "Heaven And Hell", mostly in the shear power of the performance. And it is the singer Tony Martin Harford that really steps up to the plate. He was good in "The Eternal Idol", but he really excels in this album. His voice is showing a force that is very similar to the one that former Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio has, which is of course another reason why this album and "Heaven And Hell" sounds so similar.

But when it comes to quality in the song material, "Headless Cross" does not reach the same astronomic heights as "Heaven And Hell" did. There are indeed several songs in this album that really impress me, like the groovy "Devil & Daughter" and the hard hitting "Black Moon", but the album is not completely rock solid. Songs like "Call of The Wild" and "Cloak & Dagger" keeps this record from being one of the band's top albums. I also feel like most of the songs in "Headless Cross" does not have a very high memorability factor, which makes it harder to acknowledge the album among the rest of the Black Sabbath discography.

I am still fond of the album though. I especially like that Tony Iommi puts more emphasis on the riffs and solos. Definitely some of Iommi's best work in quite some time. But there are more details in this album that brings a smile to my face, like the keyboards in the title track or the build up in "When Death Calls". These small things, and many other intricate details, are what makes this record a winner.

I must say that "Headless Cross" is a great album and so far the best album among those that are not in the Ozzy or Dio era. With a great mix of darkness, melody and modern musicality, this album is very interesting in many aspects. It does miss another great song or two and it does have a tendency to be quite anonymous, but it still holds a good amount of quality that one should not ignore. So after some years of turbulence, it is good to hear that Sabbath has found the right path again. The question now however is if they will keep making the right decisions, or spin out of the road again.

Songs worthy of recognition: Devil & Daughter, When Death Calls, Black Moon

Rating: 8,5/10 Nightwings

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Devin must be the most committed man in metal

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you know that I am a huge fan of Devin Townsend. The Canadian is not only an insane guitarist and an amazing vocalist, his music shows no boundaries at all. No matter if it is ambient, thrash, progressive, pop, or whatever genre, you know that Devin is giving his heart out to make it as perfect as possible. However, I start to wonder if he has outdone himself this time.

Ever since the release of "" has been announced, my expectation for this album has been growing for each passing day. But I never thought that Devin would commit himself in making this record such a big thing. To promote this release, we have had the radio show "Ziltoid Radio" on Team Rock Radio, the universal choir that lets fans be a part of the album, a TV show titled "ZTV" that aired its first episode today, a new website for everything revolving Ziltoid, a comic book that is in the making, and a full blown metal musical in 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Oh, and don't forget that "" is a double album. A Devin Townsend Project album entitled "Sky Blue" and the official follow up record to "Ziltoid The Omniscient" entitled "Dark Matters".

The amount of work that Devin have done is just incredible, especially since he has also done tons of touring, released another album with its new project Casualties of Cool and the amazing "The Retinal Circus" at the same time. I can't believe the amount of work Devin have put into all of this and he actually pulls it off, while a normal human would easily crack under the pressure. The man must really love music and his fans.

Devin has said that he is taking some time off after the tour he is doing for "" which I can understand. The man is in desperate need of a holiday, not because he seems exhausted or washed-up, but because he has earned it. He has worked more or less non stop since he release the first Ziltoid Record. However, if I know Devin, then that break will not be too long, which is good since I want much more of his fantastic music. One thing is for sure though, the man has really earned the universes ultimate cup of coffee.

The double album "" will be released 27th October in Europe and 28th October in the US, and you can rest assure that you will see a review of it on this blog as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Threshold - For The Journey (2014)

Threshold has always been that progressive metal band that has produced solid works during their entire career, but nothing too ground breaking nor overly magnificent. You know that their next album will be good, but it will not reach the same heights as some of their bigger equivalents. However, their latest effort, "March of Progress", did quite a big splash in 2012 and almost single handedly helped the band to gain a greater number of fans.

That is why it comes as no surprise that "For The Journey" sounds like a logic follow up to "March of Progress". Just like its predecessor, "For The Journey" impresses with its great guitar and keyboard combination and melodic songs. The only real difference is that this album has a slightly darker mood that gives the album its own identity, but there is no denying that most of the songs here could have easily been fitted in "March of Progress". However, the quality on "March of Progress" was so strong, so I doubt that any of the songs here could really switch place with any song from "March of Progress" without weakening the album.

Fortunately, that does not mean that "For The Journey" contains only weak tracks. The opener "Watchtower On The Moon" is just like most of the songs in "March of Progress". Melodic, groovy and epic. The following track "Unforgiven" is darker and more gloomy, but still contains a good deal of epicness to raise your neck hair, while "Turned To Dust" is incredibly catchy and simple. "The Mystery Show" is also a noticeable track with its powerful chorus and epic ending.

Threshold is not known for their mastodon pieces, but they could have done their best 10+ minute song in this album. "The Box" is a epic 12 minute track that tells an intricate story, and does it with great technicality and musicality. The song shifts tempo here and there so you do not lose interest, and it does it in a very smooth fashion. It is an impressive piece that gives the album an extra edge.

A peculiar thing I noticed with "For The Journey" is that it is a rather short Threshold album. Actually, the first album that is below the 1 hour mark. Excluding the bonus song "I Wish I Could" and the acoustic version of "Lost In Your Memory", "For The Journey" is only around 50 minutes long, which is not impressive since it has a couple of songs that does not completely cut it. It is especially the second half of the album that feels lack luster with a boring riff based song ("Autumn Red") and a song that tries to be more epic than what it can handle ("Siren Sky"). I get the feeling that the band almost rushed this album in hoping to keep the momentum that was started by "March of Progress", which here proved to not be a fully bad decision, but it would have been better for the band to take an extra year with this album to really work it through.

"For The Journey" does not quite reach the same height that "March of Progress" reached, but there is no doubt that this album is still a good outing for the band. The band has kept on building and developing the sound that made the predecessor so successful and made a album that is great, but still miss some stronger song writing. No matter what, Threshold is still riding along on the high road after realising another high quality album. Their musical journey does not have a end in sight just yet, so I will keep on enjoying it with pleasure.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Box, Watchtower On The Moon, Turned To Dust

Rating: 7,5/10 Mystery shows

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crucified Barbara - In The Red (2014)

It is always nice to see women in this male dominated world known as metal, and it is even nicer to see a full band of them. Crucified Barbara is a Swedish hard rock band consisting of 4 women known as Mia Coldheart, Klara Force, Ida Evileye and Nicki Wicked. With names like that, you can be sure that this all female band will create some head banging rock that is both heavy and catchy.

And sure enough, "In The Red" is a perfect continuation on what the band did on the 2012 release "The Midnight Chase". It is good solid hard rock with a little sleaze rock vibe, nice riffs and a Mia Coldheart that once again shows that she has one of the toughest voices in metal. And it also feels like the band has grown on several aspects since the last album. The band chemistry is at an all time high and the song writing is both versatile and dynamic. It is a good old punch that has the same strength as a amazon woman.

Don't believe me? Just check out "I Sell My Kids For Rock'N'Roll" and you will see the band's capability. fast and edgy riffs, tough drum beats and butt loads of attitude. However, that track is not the only track in the album that contains those elements. "Don't Call On Me", "Lunatic #1" and "Follow The Stream" are all songs that show both speed and toughness that out matches most of what their male equivalents can come up with.

Then we have the slower tunes that breaks up the album perfectly so it does not feel like one big blob. My favourite of those would probably be "To Kill A Man" that is about the urge to commit murder against men who abuse women. A great track with strong lyrics. Other slightly slower tunes that you should check out are the classic rock song "Electric Sky", the melodic "The Ghost Inside" and the simplistic "Do You Want Me".

The only real problem with "In The Red" is that there is no song that really stands out as a true winner. The album is very, very solid as a unity and most of the tracks can also stand on their own two legs, but it is very unlikely that any of the songs on "In the Red" will top the charts as one of the best songs of 2014. I also think that the production could have been a little better, but that is a very minor issue since the band plays as well as they do.

"In The Red" is indisputably Crucified Barbara's best work so far. It is a great hard rock album that shows a great variety and awesome musicality. There is no doubt in my mind that Crucified Barbara is the current leaders of the women rock movement and they carry that title with pride and honor. Do not miss this album out, it is one of the better hard rock albums that has been released in 2014. Female power at its best.

Songs worthy of recognition: To Kill A Man, Electric Sky, Don't Call On Me, Lunatic #1

Rating: 8,5/10 Shadows

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slash - World On Fire (2014)

It is pretty safe to say that Saul "Slash" Hudson has had a pretty successful career. From founding Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver to guest appear in a Super Bowl half-time show, the man in the top hat has made himself a name for his guitar skills and his stage presence. And since he joined forces with Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Slash has done some great things on his solo albums.

"World On Fire" is album number 3 for Slash (the second one featuring Myles & The Conspirators), and to no one's surprise, "World On Fire" is a album that is filled with good clean rock where Slash and his guitar playing is on the center stage. And when I say it is filled, I really mean it. "World On Fire" consists of 17 tracks and has a total play time of 1 hour and 17 minutes. Two numbers that is way too large for most listeners, and even for yours truly. It is nice to see that Slash has a lot of inspiration and so, but that does not mean that he can cram in every single song he wrote into one album. Slash really needs to learn how to "kill his darlings" so the album doesn't suffocate under all these tracks, or he just needs to save them for a future album.

One upside with having 17 songs to chose from, is that it is not that hard to find at least 2 or 3 songs to find a liking to (if you have the stamina to listen through the entire album). Some of you will probably prefer the Soundgarden vibes in "Wicked Stone", or perhaps the technical and swinging "Beneath The Savage Sun" is closer to your musical taste. Maybe the slow, but heavy ending song "The Unholy" speaks to you, or the fast and catchy opening title track. There is a lot of different styles and types of songs to chose from in "World On Fire", so it is just up to you to search through it and find your favourites.

Then there is also the fact that it is extremely hard to make a huge album without cutting corners with some fillers. The low point of this album is still fairly high, but it has its weak spots. The instrumental track "Safari Inn" does not add anything useful to the album while songs like "Bent To Fly" and "Battleground" just makes me bored. Fortunately, the fillers is a minority in "World On Fire", which makes the album much more enjoyable than what it could have been.

The big question however is if this so called bromance has already taken its toll, that it has already reached its high note. I think it is too early to tell right now, but since both "Apocalyptic Love" and "World On Fire" was such huge albums and that they had the same type of music, it is no wonder that one could be fearing that Slash will not get much more out of this cooperation. I would definitely love to see Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators in Slash's next solo album since they are very skilled in what they do and they seem to enjoy working with the main man, but I would not be surprised if Slash had found new henge men to cooperate with to the next album.

The huge play time and a loss of dynamics makes "World On Fire" inferior to its predecessor "Apocalyptic Love", but that doesn't mean that Slash, Myles and The Conspirators has made a bad album. "World On Fire" is still a good album for those who search for good hard rock with nice and unique riffs. It may not set my world on fire, but this album certainly makes me warm inside of the goodness it brings.

Songs worthy of Recognition: World On Fire, Beneath The Savage Sun, The Unholy

Rating: 7/10 Avalons