Monday, 20 September 2010

CD Review: Appetite For Destruction, by Guns 'N' Roses (1987)

Emerging from the creeping Los Angeles crack that would swallow glam metal by the end of the 1980's, Guns 'N' Roses exploded onto the world with a sensational debut record that neither they, nor anyone else, could ever quite match again.

Appetite for Destruction was released in 1987, caught fire in 1988, and by 1989, Guns 'N' Roses were the biggest and most dangerous band in the world. Five uneducated, addicted guys turned the music universe on its head and had the world at their feet.

In one of those rare instances when talent, ambition, and image come together and click at the right moment, vocalist Axl Rose and guitarist Slash defined the sound and image of Guns 'N' Roses, and found the post-glam pre-grunge music world ready to embrace them in an unlikely marriage of metal's sound and grunge's realism.

Axl's raspy, nasal vocals, unabashed sinewy dance moves, and pure dragged-from-the-gutter look combined perfectly with Slash's brooding, dark, top-hatted image. It helped that Slash played blues-infused metal guitar solos of a quality not heard before, and that the group had the personal experiences straight from life's sewers to write some astoundingly well-constructed metal songs.

Izzy Stradlin' on guitar, Duff McKagan on bass and particularly Steve Adler on drums, could not, by themselves, have made Appetite for Destruction brilliant, but they certainly could have ruined it. That in their less showy roles they also delivered terrific performances to match and enhance Axl's vocals and Slash's guitar just adds to the magic of the album.

The tracks on Appetite for Destruction reflect decrepit lives lived - or survived - on the wrong street, fueled by danger, drugs, and dames. The weaker tracks are still very good; the stronger tracks are classics, and Appetite for Destruction crams five brilliant songs onto a 12 track set. Welcome To The Jungle, Paradise City, My Michelle, Sweet Child O' Mine and Rocket Queen have all entered the metal hall of fame, and demonstrate a maturity and soul much older than the band.

The sad truth about starting at the very top is that the only way forward is down. Guns 'N' Roses did go on to produce some good metal on Use Your Illusion I and II; but Appetite For Destruction stands alone as a towering achievement for a band that, for a few years at least, stood on top of the mountain.


W. Axl Rose - Vocals
Slash - Guitars
Izzy Stradlin' - Guitars
Duff "Rose" McKagan - Bass
Steve Adler - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Welcome To The Jungle - 10 *See below*
2. It's So Easy - 8
3. Nightrain - 8
4. Out Ta Get Me - 7
5. Mr. Brownstone - 8
6. Paradise City - 10
7. My Michelle - 10
8. Think About You - 7
9. Sweet Child O' Mine - 10
10. You're Crazy - 7
11. Anything Goes - 7
12. Rocket Queen - 10

Average: 8.50

Produced and Engineered by Mike Clink.
Mixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero.
Mastered by George Marino.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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