Ain`t Life Grand
First of all – I like Slash (or Saul Hudson, as his mother called him), I really do. He has remained dignified where some of his former band mates have not (I`m looking at you Axl Rose and Scott Weiland), he has not sold out (although he has dangerously veered to that side of the road from time to time) and most importantly - he has remained cool – the true epitome of a rock star: unbroken, unbendable, with Les Paul in his hands, sunglasses in front of his eyes, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, still looking like he could bring home an army of groupies every night (would he not be married and a father of two, mind you). The man is a living legend, a rock`n`roll god, awesome riffs flowing out from his guitar non-stop with an aura that`ll sweep you off your feet. That said, I must admit I was quite optimistically minded when approaching Slash`s Snakepit – it`s Slash for god`s sake, what could go wrong?
From the very first bar of the first song I could see I was not mistaken – a loud riff with drums like thunder, lead singer jumping in with “woooaaaahhh”. Hell yes! This is what I`m talking about! High-octane blues-hard-rock is exactly my cup of earl grey. And things do not slow down – the song comes at you like a speeding train. Actually most of the album gives you this kind of impression with moments of serenity here and there only to return to loud riffs once again. It is quite obvious that this album draws from a lot of sources, covering a variety of feels and nodding to numerous inspirations – Jeff Beck, Aerosmith. Jazz, cabaret-music and straight-out metal parts are mixed in a way only Slash could write them. Fun fact: the material appearing on this album was actually rumored to have been written for Guns`n`Roses, before Axl`s ego pushed the rest of the members away. Quite obvious actually, when listening the album from this perspective.
Rod Jackson – the lead vocalist has to be complemented, his throaty, expressive, and resonant voice fits this kind of music perfectly. He is not afraid to take a song and make it his own, at the same time not forgetting the others. Yes, his lyrics are as cheesy as they get, fit for Aerosmith and such, without any deep thought behind them. “Just got in today, landed in the USA/Hitched a ride on a rocket from the Milky Way”? Uh… okay then. But the fact is that this is exactly what this album needs. It is not a sophisticated album in any sense, it is not meant to be listened with a glass of wine, sitting next to a fireplace on a dark autumn evening and thinking about the meaning of life. On the contrary– it`s a born and true party album, meant for getting drunk to, dancing to, getting laid to, pumping your fist to, meant to be played loud and proud.
The most interesting track? “Serial killer”, without a doubt. The comparisons to Queen have been made about every band once in a while but I believe that this epic track truly deserves it – integrating a wide array of instruments and jumping from mood to mood, from different texture to different texture, having a choir on the background. It doesn`t quite reach the operatic heights of Queen, but this is Slash`s Snakepit afterall and exactly how it should be.
In conclusion - Structured? Yes. Formulaic? Yes. But listen to the title track and just try to say ‘No’. Quite impossible, there is only a one-way ticket for this ride.