Thursday, June 24, 2004

Album Review: Velvet Revolver -- Contraband

It finally happened, and I was caught sleeping at the wheel. Driving home the other day, I heard the DJ on the local hard rock station introduce Velvet Revolver, Slither and proceed to list the band members. To my surprise, that list included Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses fame. The frontman, former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Wylan, came as a surprise, but I was nonetheless anxious to hear if the true GN'R sound was back. After the joke that was Guns N' Roses return at the MTV Music Awards a few years back, anything seemed possible.

Fortunately, Slash and company did not disappoint. While Wylan's voice lends that Pearl Jam / Stone Temple Pilots "sound" to the tracks, you can hear the GN'R-style guitar, not the Use Your Illusion I & II sound but the Appetite and earlier sound...coming right through. Each song powers through a new, hard-driving guitar line with Wylan blending in surprisingly well.

It wasn't much more than a day before I had bought the CD on the iTunes Music Store and burned a copy to keep in the truck with me. Audioslave (highly recommended) finally got booted out of my 10-year-old, nothing-works truck CD player in favor of Velvet Revolver. We'll see how long it can keep its position in my truck's top 1 countdown.

If you like bands like Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, and Audioslave, you should definitely check out Velvet Revolver. It's the hard rock I've always loved without all of the silly rap.

Note: The real CD includes a scheme which attempts to prevent you from playing it or ripping it on your computer. It's disappointing to see artists taking such a step, but there's part of me that can understand their reasoning. I'm sure they also have the RIAA breathing down their necks to start pushing these new DRM technologies or face a future of bankruptcy. Hopefully, iTunes and the like will continue to bring independent music up to a more even playing field with the RIAA so artists have an alternative. Read more about the protection scheme at Slashdot.


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