Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – World On Fire – Album Review


The previous Slash album to this one, “Apocalyptic Love”, was a killer record, so I was pretty psyched when I heard the next installment from Slash and crew was about to be released and I had this on pre-order for a couple of months just to be sure I got my hands on it the moment it came out. The combination of Slash and Myles Kennedy has worked like a charm and they kill it both live and on record.

Slash of course is perhaps best known for his involvement with Guns’N’Roses and the material from “Appetite for Destruction” will forever live on as classic and, if anything, seems to grow stronger with each listen as the years pass by. Despite the incessant overplaying of “Welcome to the Jungle” at every sports arena around the USA (which impacts me not one bit, ha!), there is no doubt Slash personally stamped an indelible signature across that record, which continues style-wise through to his latest material. Occasionally I see suggestions that a G’N’R reunion might be on the cards, but, having seen the current incarnation of that band last year, and having to suffer the ridiculous antics that Axl Rose continues to impose on his audiences, I suspect there is more chance of seeing Bon Scott fronting AC/DC than Axl and Slash appearing on the same stage ever again.

Whenever I write a review I tend to find myself reviewing the relevant history of the subject band or key players, and in this case it strikes me that Slash only recently seems to have achieved a level of maturity and stability which appears to come across so well in his playing these days. His childhood was clearly one of turmoil and the craziness of the G’N’R days appear to have been both massively enabling, while at the same time leading to addictive distractions that could have been terminal, resulting in a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy (congestive heart failure) in 2001 caused by the years of drug and alcohol abuse. Incredibly he was originally told he had less than 6 weeks to live when diagnosed, which fortunately didn’t come true and he made it through with a combination of physical therapy and the implantation of a defibrillator. At some point I must make an effort to pick up a copy of his autobiography published in 2007 – that has to be a wild read.

Turning to the latest album, “World On Fire”, I was first pleasantly surprised to see it runs a total of 17 tracks, with a running time of around 78 minutes. Now, if truth be told some longer albums outstay their welcome, but that is something I cannot say here – I would have taken more. The CD opens with the title track and you are immediately greeted by a signature Slash riff, and an instantly recognizable guitar tone. Given Slash is still playing a Gibson Les Paul through Marshall 100Watt heads, which is far from an unusual rig, his sound must be coming from his fingers, which is the difference between a good player and great one in my book. Now, there’s nothing revolutionary about the opening track here, but immediately it feels so damn comfortable – like pulling on your favorite pair of jeans or leather jacket. Miles Kennedy fits perfectly and Brent Fitz on drums and Todd Kerns on bass and backing vocals are well up to the job. Another observation is the production is just about perfect, with a nice space for each instrument and vocal in the mix. This is an art that sadly seems to less common in these days of increasingly automated and computerized studios.

I’m not going to run a track-by-track review here, since with 17 tracks I’ll be here all day, but my high spots include “Automatic Overdrive” (which has a damn catchy hook in the chorus), “Beneath The Savage Sun”, “Avalon”, “The Dissident” (which has a decidedly quirky intro!) and my final pick “Safari Inn” which is an fairly jazz-infused instrumental that I can’t get enough of. The latter track wins a repeat play most times it rolls around and really does highlight what a great guitarist Slash really is. However, picking out these tracks is really just a reflection of my mood right now and I’m pretty sure I could have come up with a different list without trying too hard – though “Safari Inn” would still be there, no matter what I’m up to.

So, rarely for me, this review is less of an epic and doesn’t need a million words to explain itself. This is a very satisfying album and unless you have something against Slash or Miles Kennedy, or are one of those people that only listen to one tiny musical sub-genre, I can’t see any reason for any metal fan to not find something to like here. So to score this, I’m all in here – 10/10




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