Yes, you’re reading correct. Guns N Roses has finally released the long awaited album Chinese Democracy. It is true that the band physically isn’t the GNR that many of us came to know and love over the years, but the album picks up just where they left off 14-years ago.
The first thing that everyone needs to realize is that this album is not another Appetite for Destruction. Too many people are expecting that from them and the truth is that Appetite for Destruction is a landmark album that would be hard to duplicate even if the original line-up was still together. Chinese Democracy is much more along the lines of Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 in that the majority of the tracks are longer than 3 minutes and are a mixture of shredding guitars and orchestral sounds.
With that said lets get into the album itself shall we. It’s safe to say from the album that Axl’s vocals are just as solid as we remember them. He doesn’t struggle to hit notes out of his range. Yes you could argue that the vocals are clean due to post production, but you can say that about any album nowadays. And for those of you wondering whether or not GNR would be anything without Slash, wonder no more. The combination of Buckethead and Bumblefoot really brings it all together. The only problem is that they are both on a majority of the tracks and theirs is currently no way to tell who is who.
The album opens with the title track with a gradual start, much like Welcome to The Jungle did for Appetite for Destruction. It’s a strong opening track but it is only one of three Appetite-like tracks. For me the closest this album gets to Appetite is the track Scraped. This track is a bombardment of heavy guitars with solo’s that will completely reassure your faith in the current state of GNR.
As for the rest of the album, it leans more towards the Use Your Illusion albums using a mix of orchestral melodies with shredding guitars. Street of Dreams opens with a piano and will almost instantly have you thinking it’s a reminder of the epic November Rain as it smoothly joins piano and guitar solo’s together. Then there is Madagascar. This track is got to be the bastard child of The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Combing horns, violins and intense guitars along with an audio montage that just ties it all together makes this song stand out. Why its not getting more airplay is beyond me.
All in all, it was worth waiting fourteen years for this album. However if you’re a casual Guns N Roses fan who only knows Appetite for Destruction than this is not an album for you. But if you appreciate the Use Your Illusion albums or just enjoy a good album that showcases everything a band has going for them then go out and get yourself a copy of Chinese Democracy.