The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2011, Capitol Records
Originally Released: 1988, Capitol Records
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1. “Under My Wheels” – Alice Cooper w/ Guns N’ Roses
2. “Bathroom Wall” – Faster Pussycat
3. “Cradle to the Grave” – Motörhead
4. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” – Armored Saint
5. “Born to Be Wild” – Lizzy Borden
6. “In My Darkest Hour” – Megadeth
7. “Prophecy” – Queensrÿche
8. “The Brave” – Metal Church
9. “Foaming at the Mouth” – Rigor Mortis
10. “Colleen” – Seduce
Any metal-head worth their weight in steel is well aware of this documentary that was released in 1988. It’s a truly fascinating look at life as rocker in the 1980s. For better or worse, warts and all, it absolutely captures a time and a vibe & scene that can never truly be replicated no matter how “retro” a band may act.
As it stands, the soundtrack to The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a solid compilation. Sure, bands like Seduce and Rigor Mortis didn’t stand the test of time but when it comes to the ’80s metal scene, you can’t really argue against the inclusion of bands like Motorhead, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Metal Church or even Faster Pussycat. It was all metal one way or another.
The documentary itself was actually what turned me on to Megadeth as they performed “In My Darkest Hour” in the film and it certainly made an impression on me.
The lack of Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Poison, KISS or W.A.S.P. is a bit odd given how their stature and appearances in the documentary but the soundtrack isn’t meant to be all encompassing. If it was, we’d be putting up with having to listen to the likes of London, Tuff and Odin, too. A few tracks either start or end with audio clips from the film.
We could argue for hours over who truly deserves to be included on a compilation of ’80s metal but this soundtrack is just a taste of what that era had to offer and is meant to tie in most closely with bands featured in the documentary. Keep that in mind and what you’ve got is a good collection of ’80s rock & metal that will fit right in with your retro denim vest.
Highlights: “Under My Wheels”, “Bathroom Wall”, “Born to Be Wild”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Prophecy”
Tags: 1980s, Alice Cooper, Armored Saint, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Faster Pussycat, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Guns N' Roses, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Metal, Metal Church, Motorhead, Pop Metal, Queensryche, Rock, Thrash Metal
Adler – Back From The Dead
2012, New Ocean Media
1. Back From The Dead
2. Own Worst Enemy
3. Another Version of the Truth
4. The One That You Hated
5. Good to Be Bad
6. Just Don’t Ask
7. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton – Vocals
Lonny Paul – Guitar
Johnny Matrin – Bass
Steven Adler – Drums
Slash – Guitar (“Just Don’t Ask)
John 5 – Guitar (“Good to Be Bad”)
Producer: Jeff Pilson
Well. After years of battling substance abuse, starring in reality TV shows and forming what was essentially a GNR cover band, Steven Adler has finally done it. He’s finally put together a band that has released an album of entirely original material. After the stop & go nature of his previous band (Adler’s Appetite), I had my doubts if Steven would ever do anything more than session work again. Not only am I surprised that new music from Alder is here, I’m even more surprised the entire album is actually very good and a Top 10 release for me for the year!
I had heard the handful of original songs Adler’s Appetite made and released as an EP a few years back and “The One That You Hated” earlier this year and I liked it all so I assumed there would be a few good tracks but nothing like this. This is no filler here. I’m not saying every song is a killer track but every song is certainly well-worth the time listening to.
Musically, this band fits right in with Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s solo output. You can hear the GNR influence. I will say that not all of Back From The Dead is as modern sounding as Velvet Revolver or Slash’s recent albums but that’s not a bad thing. There are a few tracks that could easily pass as a song by Velvet Revolver or Slash but for the most part this album is just good ol’ straight up hard rock. The sound isn’t modern. It’s timeless. There’s a number of melodic moments like “Waterfall” and “Just Don’t Ask”. Either of which could easily be played on the radio. “Just Don’t Ask” could be a Shinedown/Daughtry kind of song.
I have to point out that frontman Jacob Bunton does a great job. Some maybe recognize him as the lead singer from Lynam and Mars Electric.
A lot people say the classic GNR line-up should reunite but I say WHY? By my count, we have now FIVE great bands going (GNR, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Adler, Loaded). Why kill off (or at least put on hold for a few years) four bands for a GNR reunion that probably wouldn’t get through one album and/or tour before imploding? Regardless of your feelings on that subject, fans of GNR and all of the various projects from ex-GNR members should pick this one up.
Highlights: “Back From The Dead”, “Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version of the Truth”, “The One That You Hated”, “Just Don’t Ask”, “Blown Away”, “Waterfall”, “Dead Wrong”
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – Apocalyptic Love
[Classic Rock Magazine Limited Edition Fanpack Album]
(2012, Future Publishing/Roadrunner Records/Dik Hayd Records)
1. Apocalyptic Love … 3:29
2. One Last Thrill … 3:10
3. Standing In The Sun … 4:04
4. You’re A Lie … 3:51
5. No More Heroes … 4:24
6. Halo … 3:23
7. We Will Roam … 4:50
8. Anastasia … 6:07
9. Not For Me … 5:22
10. Bad Rain … 3:47
11. Hard & Fast … 3:02
12. Far And Away … 5:15
13. Shots Fired … 3:48
14. Carolina … 3:18
15. Crazy Life … 3:40
Slash – Guitar
Myles Kennedy – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Todd Kerns – Bass, Backing Vocals
Brent Fitz – Drums, Percussion, Piano
Producer: Eric Valentine
Slash’s debut solo album was one of my favorite albums released in 2010. I loved the variety in it and the different styles he was playing thanks to the range of singers he chose to work with. On that album, he recorded two tracks with Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy. Kennedy then went out on the road with Slash as his touring vocalist while promoting the album. The result of that tour was the release of the Made In Stoke live album and the announcement that the next Slash album was going to feature Myles doing all of the vocals.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed at the announcement of Kennedy being the only singer on the album. I thought maybe Slash could’ve gone the Santana route of working with a variety of singers with every album. I thought the two Kennedy songs from the first Slash album were pretty mediocre as well so that also added to the bit of disappointment I had over Myles apparently becoming Slash’s permanent solo vocalist (they also co-wrote the entire album together).
There is good news here for those that didn’t like Slash working with Fergie, the guy from Maroon 5 or whoever else. Apocalyptic Love is pretty much stripped down rock ‘n’ roll that brings to mind all of Slash’s previous groups: Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and Guns N’ Roses. In short, it’s Slash being Slash. That said, the music is solid but there were only a few songs that immediately stood out to me: “You’re A Lie”, “No More Heroes” and the bonus track “Crazy Life”.
It has taken me a lot of spins to pick out any other favorites from this release. In time, I’ve grown a fan of about half the album while feeling like most of the rest is no-frill, no-inspiration rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not bad music if you’re using it for background noise but a lot of this music just doesn’t hold my attention. Overall, Apocalyptic Love is a solid effort but disappointing considering the previous album gave some great tracks like “Nothing To Say”, “Beautiful Dangerous” and “By The Sword”. Still, if you want your Slash fix, this’ll tide you over until the inevitable Velvet Revolver reunion occurs.
My particular copy came with the Slash Fanpack that was released by the UK’s Classic Rock magazine. It came with a poster, a special edition of the album that features two bonus tracks, a pin and an in-depth magazine about Slash, Myles Kennedy and the new album.
Highlights: “Apocalyptic Love”, “You’re A Lie”, “No More Heroes”, “Anastasia”, “Not For Me”, “Bad Rain”, “Crazy Life”
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 (2011, Eagle Records)
1. Been There Lately … 4:34
2. Nightrain … 5:02
3. Ghost … 3:43
4. Mean Bone … 4:01
5. Back From Cali … 3:36
6. Rocket Queen … 9:21
7. Civil War … 8:06
8. Nothing to Say … 7:27
9. Starlight … 5:45
10. Promise … 3:59
1. Doctor Alibi … 3:45
2. Speed Parade … 3:58
3. Watch This … 3:39
4. Beggars & Hangers On … 6:29
5. Patience … 5:45
6. Godfather Solo … 10:30
7. Sweet Child o’ Mine … 6:28
8. Slither … 7:33
9. By the Sword … 4:36
10. Mr. Brownstone … 4:41
11. Paradise City … 9:13
Slash – Guitar
Myles Kennedy – Lead Vocals, Guitar (“Nothing to Say”, “Watch This”)
Bobby Schneck – Guitar
Todd Kerns – Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals (“Doctor Alibi”)
Brent Fitz – Drums
What’s the full name of this album? And who is the artist? Is it Slash or is it “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy”? I’ve seen a number of websites not including this as a Slash solo album. And is the album’s title Made In Stoke 24/7/11? Some websites are calling it Live In Stoke or just Live. I’ve also seen it referred to as Featuring Myles Kennedy Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 and or even just Featuring Myles Kennedy! The last two just seem odd. Personally, I think the title should be Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 with the credited artist being “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy”. The date (and its formatting) is a whole other issue, so let’s not even go there.
Title issues aside, this stands as a great live album (which was recorded July 2011 in Slash’s hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England). Slash has said he’s a big fan of live albums because that’s where you get a sense of who the artist really is and I have to say he’s done a fine job putting out his own double disc live album! I don’t really know if he could’ve picked a better singer than Myles Kennedy to handle all these songs. He’s covering a LOT of singers on this album (Axl, Scott Weiland, Ian Astbury, Rod Jackson, M. Shadows, Chris Cornell, etc.) and doing a fantastic job of it. He sounds especially great on the GNR songs. Just put him in Velvet Revolver already!
This album really runs the gamut of Slash’s career. There are 7 GNR songs, 4 songs from the Slash’s Snakepit albums (which I wasn’t expecting at all), 1 Velvet Revolver song (would’ve expected a few more) and 8 tracks from his self-titled solo album. It’s a good mix of everything.
The song choices are excellent. I think the only glaring omission when it comes to GNR material would be “Welcome to the Jungle” but that’s a total Axl song so I understand leaving it off. Besides, “Been There Lately” was a great choice to open the show. It’s one of the better songs from the Snakepit era and it really comes to life when done live. The entire band sounds inspired through the whole show.
This is great live album that never really gets boring thanks to the varied material throughout. If you’re in the mood for some classic live rock ‘n’ roll… this is it.
Highlights: “Been There Lately”, “Nightrain”, “Ghost”, “Rocket Queen”, “Nothing to Say”, “Patience”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “Slither”, “By The Sword”, “Mr. Brownstone”, “Paradise City”
Sixx:A.M. – Codependence [single] (2011, Eleven Seven Music)
1. “Codependence” … 3:37
James Michael – Vocals, Drums, Guitar
DJ Ashba – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Producer: James Michael
On the same day the band released 7 (an EP featuring stripped down and rearranged versions of previously released songs) for download, Sixx:A.M. also released the song “Codependence” exclusively through iTunes for FREE. “Codependence” comes from the This Is Gonna Hurt sessions and while it was previously unreleased here in the United States, it appeared as a bonus track when the album was issued in Japan.
Though Japan often gets bonus tracks, sometimes those tracks aren’t really worth listening to in the first place, they’re just filler. Well, that’s not the case this time. “Codependence” doesn’t rate with the very best of This Is Gonna Hurt but I still like it. It’s much more straight forward than most of the tracks from the album making it a bit less memorable whenever James Michael is singing a chorus he can make the song sound like something you should be paying attention to. Even through the self-loathing and moody lyrics a lot of Sixx:A.M. come off sounding like really cool rock anthems and that’s what “Codependence” is to me.
But why take my word for it? It’s FREE. Go download it and listen.
Sixx:A.M. – 7 (2011, Eleven Seven Music)
1. “Lies of the Beautiful People” … 3:58
2. “This Is Gonna Hurt” … 4:46
3. “Life Is Beautiful” … 4:08
4. “Help Is On the Way” … 4:05
5. “Sure Feels Right” … 4:08
6. “Pray for Me” … 4:28
7. “Accidents Can Happen” … 4:09
James Michael – Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Strings, Guitar
DJ Ashba – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Producer: James Michael
One good thing about the digital age of music is how quickly a project can be announced to the public and then released. It was late November when Sixx:A.M. announced an acoustic EP was on its way and just a few weeks later it was digitally released on December 13th. I think it’s an iTunes exclusive but I’m not positive.
I’ve always been a fan of Sixx:A.M. Despite a few odd moments, The Heroin Diaries was good overall and This Is Gonna Hurt (which was released earlier this year) is absolutely fantastic with not a single foul track to be found. They’re a great live band as well. So when they announced they were re-working previous songs into an acoustic EP, I knew it was going to be good.
The whole acoustic thing isn’t really appropriate labeling though. The band has since backed off a bit on calling 7 an acoustic EP, preferring to say the songs are “stripped down”, which is the accurate statement. It’s not as if this is an “unplugged” performance. The production is still here, electric guitars as well, but the arrangements are different and acoustic instruments feature more prominently.
I like how James Michael didn’t lower his voice to a whisper just because the songs are “stripped down” and the tempo has changed. He’s still soaring on these songs when appropriate and he continues to prove himself as one of rock’s best vocalists.
I think “This Is Gonna Hurt” is a particularly beautiful song and stands out the most on this EP. The band has taken it in a completely different direction here and have turned it into a haunting piano-based ballad. Given Sixx:A.M.’s strong sense of melody and dark, emotive lyrics you can pretty much switch any of there songs from rocker to ballad or ballad to rocker and come out with great results.
The final words I have to say is that these were all great songs in their original form. They are all given a twist here on 7 and I consider the whole experiment a huge success. Sixx:A.M. itself has been a huge success in my eyes. They are one of the best bands to come along in the last 10 years and I’m anxious to see what else they have planned.
Obviously, anyone who enjoys listening to music is going to have hundreds and hundreds of songs that would say they “love”. Some songs strike an even more special chord with me though. Yes, that’s right. There are some songs that seem to inspire something within me WHENEVER I hear them. Songs that quite literally send a chill down my spine by their awesomeness. Off the top of my head, here’s a handful:
Avantasia – “The Scarecrow” (The Scarecrow)
One of the most epic metal songs of all time. The vocals are outstanding and I really enjoy the Celtic rock vibe of it. I can see this having a really cool set up on a live stage.
L.A. Guns – “OK, Let’s Roll” (Waking The Dead)
With lyrics written about the events of United Airlines Flight 93 from 9/11, this one really gets to me:
Skies of Pennsylvania became a battle ground
Two hundred miles away, the towers had come down
One last chance to say goodbye, he called her on his phone
Said he knew what must be done, “I am not coming home.”
Are you ready, okay, let’s roll
KISS – “Love Gun” (Love Gun)
One of KISS’ finest songs, I’ve loved it since I first heard it and thankfully I can now die saying I’ve seen them play it live. I’ll never forget seeing Paul zip-line over the crowd on the way to his platform as the intro played out. Picked a live version from 2005 just for something different.
KISS – “Modern Day Delilah” (Sonic Boom)
My favorite track off Sonic Boom. It’s a KISS classic with a mix of Zeppelin thrown in. Love the lyrics.
KISS – “I’m An Animal” (Sonic Boom)
Another instant classic from Sonic Boom and easily the best Gene song from the album. They’ve started playing this one live, too bad I caught them on the very first show on their previous tour, so they hadn’t added it to the set list yet!
Guns ‘N Roses – “Madagascar” (Chinese Democracy)
Chinese Democracy is one of my favorite albums of all-time and this one of the best songs on the album (and that’s saying something).
Aren’t there more? Of course but we’ll get those on a later date…
Slash (2010, EMI Label Services/Dik Hayd Records)
1. “Ghost” … 3:34
2. “Crucify the Dead” … 4:04
3. “Beautiful Dangerous” … 4:35
4. “Back from Cali” … 3:35
5. “Promise” … 4:41
6. “By the Sword” … 4:50
7. “Gotten” … 5:05
8. “Doctor Alibi” … 3:07
9. “Watch This Dave” … 3:46
10. “I Hold On” … 4:10
11. “Nothing to Say” … 5:27
12. “Starlight” … 5:35
13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” … 3:28
14. “We’re All Gonna Die” … 4:30
Slash – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass (Track 9)
Lemmy Kilmister – Vocals, Bass (Track 8 )
Chris Chaney – Bass (Tracks 1-8, 10-14)
Dave Grohl – Drums (Track 9)
Josh Freese – Drums (Tracks 1-8, 10, 11, 13, 14)
Leonard Castro – Percussion (Tracks 1, 3-7, 10, 14)
Izzy Stradlin – Guitar (Track 1)
Eric Valentine – Piano, Keyboards
Ian Astbury – Vocals (Track 1)
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals (Track 2)
Fergie – Vocals (Track 3)
Myles Kennedy – Vocals (Tracks 4 & 12)
Chris Cornell – Vocals (Track 5)
Andrew Stockdale – Vocals (Track 6)
Adam Levine – Vocals (Track 7)
Kid Rock – Vocals (Track 10)
M. Shadows – Vocals (Track 11)
Rocco DeLuca – Vocals (Track 12)
Iggy Pop – Vocals (Track 13)
Producer: Eric Valentine
Well, it’s finally here: “Slash & Friends” (the original working title for this project). The few reviews I’ve read are mixed. Some “fans” were crying out that it sucked and Slash had sold-out before it was even released and now that it has been released typically those same “fans” are still saying it sucks and Slash is a sell out. Then you have Classic Rock magazine, who has claimed it’s the first great rock album of the decade. This might sound like mighty fine praise to some but given that the album was released in April 2010 the statement seems less impressive and sounds more like hyperbole to help promote an album they have a vested interest in (the album was a free UK-exclusive gift with a special Slash-themed issue of Classic Rock).
For my money ($7.99 + free shipping from BestBuy.com!), this is indeed a great album and I don’t really get the “sell out” criticisms. Why is he a sell out? Because a GIRL sings on this album? Fergie has a great voice for rock ‘n’ roll and she proves it on “Beautiful Dangerous”. If anything, I can see maybe cries of selling out coming from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine singing “Gotten”. It’s a decent song but if I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a Maroon 5 song. Not much rock to it at all other than the solo. Then again, Slash has always flirted with pop stars. He’s a guy that doesn’t like to pigeon hole himself and goes to play with whoever wherever he thinks he’ll have fun. Nothing wrong with that. He’s not a sellout, he’s just not close-minded.
For the most part, it seems like every song was written with that song’s particular singer in mind. I know Slash already had ideas for songs before enlisting the troops but I’m also sure the songs were tailored to suit the vocalists. “Ghost” sounds like The Cult, “Crucify the Dead” sounds like the best Ozzy song in the last decade at least, “Promise” sounds like something Chris Cornell would have done in Audioslave, “Nothing to Say” could have been on Avenged Sevenfold’s last album and so on and so on. In a way, this is somewhat disappointing for those that were looking forward to a bluesier guitar hero effort or for something similar to Guns N’ Roses from Slash. There is NOTHING here that brings to mind anything GNR has done. I’m okay with that but maybe some backlash stems from people wanting Slash to have delivered something more akin to the original GNR since Axl has moved the hired Guns into heavier more industrial terrain.
Slash claims this is a rock album and for the most part he’s right but songs like “Gotten” and “Saint is a Sinner Too” are pure pop that I can’t imagine Slash would be playing without the chosen vocalists. I was worried myself when I saw the guest list for this album. The participants just seem so over the place I thought it would all be a big mess. Definitely not the case and there’s a surprisingly low amount of filler with the two Myles Kennedy songs “Back from Cali” and “Starlight” being the only ones that really fall short with me. Kennedy is from the band Alter Bridge and he’s the only singer that has two songs and I’m sure it’s because he’s the singer for Slash’s touring band while promoting this album.
Everything else is decent at the very least while “Nothing to Say” featuring Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows and the album’s lead “By the Sword” featuring Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale are my favorites. “By the Sword” has a cool Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd classic hard rock sound to it.
Despite Slash’s insistence that this is a rock album, there’s a bit of genre jumping and he dips his feet (fret?) into the pop realm but it’s only done so in order to fit the singers. Even though this is a self-titled affair, Slash really isn’t the star here. There’s some good solos on this disc but this album isn’t built around them. It’s all about the songs as a whole and Slash (and friends) has delivered a very satisfying release that is much better than anything he did the first time he went “solo” with Slash’s Snakepit.
I do have two disappointments though: Dave Grohl drums on the album but does not sing (he apparently has a thing against singing on other peoples’ albums) and the U.S. version of this album does not feature “Baby Can’t Drive” featuring Alice Cooper and The Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger. It’s a pretty cool song so what gives ?!
Highlights: “Ghost”, “Crucify the Dead”, “Beautiful Dangerous”, “By the Sword”, “Watch This Dave”, “Nothing to Say”
Posted in Slash
Tags: Adam Levine, Alter Bridge, Andrew Stockdale, Audioslave, Avenged Sevenfold, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Duff McKagan, Fergie, Foo Fighters, Guns N' Roses, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Ian Astbury, Iggy Pop, Kid Rock, Lemmy Kilmister, M. Shadows, Maroon 5, Metal, Motorhead, Music, Myles Kennedy, Ozzy Osbourne, Pop, Pop Rock, Rocco DeLuca, Rock, Rock 'N' Roll, Slash, Soundgarden, The Cult, Velvet Revolver, Wolfmother
Welcome to 2010!
I’m going to start the year off with yet another list except I won’t be limiting myself to “Top 10” or “Top 20” or whatever. I’ll be going chronologically, year by year (I didn’t put the albums in any specific order though) and if I thought it was a really good album, I’ll list it regardless of whether one year has four albums listed and another year only has two.
Looking back, the whole decade was pretty good for this rock/metal fan. The scene suffered greatly during the ’90s, but by 2000, the genre was turning the corner and I think most people had grown tired of depressed drug addicts and angry no-talent white rappers playing rock music. The legends were laying low during the ’90s and the next decade was made up of many comebacks, but that’s not to discount many newer acts who stepped up and played a vital role in rock ‘n’ roll.
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2000s, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Avenged Sevenfold, Bon Jovi, Brides of Destruction, Butch Walker, Cold, Dio, Dream Evil, Edguy, Guns N' Roses, Halford, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Judas Priest, KISS, L.A. Guns, Lit, Marvelous 3, Megadeth, Metal, Music, Paul Stanley, Puddle of Mudd, Rock, Rock 'N' Roll, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, Sentenced, Steel Panther, Tesla, The Union Underground
Velvet Revolver – Libertad (2007, RCA Records)
1. “Let It Roll” … 2:32
2. “She Mine” … 3:25
3. “Get Out the Door” … 3:14
4. “She Builds Quick Machines” … 4:04
5. “The Last Fight” … 4:03
6. “Pills, Demons & Etc.” … 2:54
7. “American Man” … 3:56
8. “Mary Mary” … 4:33
9. “Just Sixteen” … 3:59
10. “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” … 3:58
11. “For a Brother” … 3:26
12. “Spay” … 3:06
13. “Gravedancer” … 8:42
Scott Weiland- Vocals, Keyboards
Slash – Guitar
Dave Kushner – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Sorum – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Produced by: Brendan O’Brien
The second (and final) Scott Weiland-fronted VR album sounds a lot like his old band Stone Temple Pilots. The band seems to have traded some of the heaviness of Contraband for a bit more melody that showcases Weiland’s voice much better with its diversity. This isn’t surprising though with longtime STP producer Brendan O’Brien producing this record.
The album didn’t fare as well as their debut, as of this writing it hasn’t even gone gold (their debut was 2x platinum), but it’s just as strong. It took some time for Contraband to grow on me, but I immediately loved this album for it’s similarities to STP (“She Builds Quick Machines”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.” and “American Man” sound like they would’ve fit on No. 4). I was surprised and disappointed this album didn’t catch on despite debuting at #5 on Billboard and that Weiland left the band less than a year after this release. I know drugs played a part in that, but I’m sure if the album had been more successful, the group would’ve been more determined to work things out.
There is a hidden song on Track 13. It starts at about 4:43 and is called “Don’t Drop That Dime”.
This is one of only two albums Weiland claims to have recorded sober (STP’s Core being the first).
Highlights: “Let It Roll”, “She Builds Quick Machines”, “The Last Fight”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.”, “American Man”, “Mary Mary”, “For a Brother”