It's not as terrible as I thought it would be. Axl sounds fantastic. "Better" is probably his best vocal work ever (even though it's heavily edited). "IRS" has very impressive falsetto work. "Chinese Democracy" rocks hard, though simplistically, and has a gutteral scream that totally gets you hyped to hear the album. The three songs mentioned above are... interesting! They're different, but they're good. They rock. They're not (that) overdone.
"Shackler's Revenge" is good, too. It's the most metal I've ever heard from GNR. It has a strong industrial vibe, and even though it was probably over-written (too many starts and stops), it's still pretty good., especially the guitar solo.
Those are the highlights. However, there's a LOT of suckage. “Madagascar” is crap. It's a pathetic attempt to re-live “November Rain.” It has a lame audio sample sequence of Martin Luther King and Cool Hand Luke in the middle that sounds out of place, cut and spliced.
So much of this album is a 1970's Queen impression. “Street of Dreams” and “Catcher in the Rye” are attempts at big production value. But they don't work.
Even though there're a lot of crap songs, this album made me happy. It's GNR. And in this politically correct world of pathetic-ness, at least there's an album that reminds me of a band that was ONCE totally badass.
Executive Producer, Soundcheck
Joel joined Soundcheck in 2007. Prior to that, he worked at Air America Radio’s The Al Franken Show, Broadcasting & Cable magazine and WRHU-FM in Hempstead, N.Y. His radio career began at the college/alternative station Radio K in Minneapolis.