"Apocalyptic Love"Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fresh off a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction with his former band, Guns n' Roses, guitar icon Slash returns with his second solo outing, "Apocalyptic Love." No need to worry about any sophomore jinx here; this disc smokes with all of the six-string bravado for which the top-hatted one is legendary.The album kicks off with the title track's funky wah-wah tones, and then slams into the punk-flavored "One Last Thrill," with vocalist Myles Kennedy (Altar Bridge) belting out a well-placed Johnny Rotten-ish warble. From there, "Apocalyptic Love" displays Slash's playing and writing chops in a rock 'n' roll kaleidoscope.One of Slash's strengths as a guitarist is the way he weaves riffs on top of simple rhythm patterns. His fretwork bellows like a vocal line on "Standing in the Sun" and "No More Heroes."No offering from him would be complete, though, without some good old-fashioned arena-rock anthems. "You're a Lie" and "We Will Roam" are but a couple of the 13 tunes that are heavy on the chorus and even heavier on room-filling orchestration. From that end, there's no getting around the Guns n' Roses comparisons; "Shots Fired" is about as close to classic GnR as you're likely to hear."Apocalyptic Love" also features a couple of nifty curveballs. You wouldn't think that Slash and company could carry a bona-fide power-ballad, but they pull it off without missing any swagger on "Far and Away." Interesting, too, is "Anastasia," with its classically seasoned acoustic intro, which echoes Led Zeppelin's "Going to California." For good measure, Slash even rocks out a la Ted Nugent with "Hard & Fast," complete with plenty of feedback whomp and blues-rock lead shredding.The participating musicians on "Apocalyptic Love" are now a well-seasoned unit, having toured in support of the first album, "Slash." It is this foundation on which the album's success is built.Myles Kennedy has swiftly become one of the most sought-after vocalists in rock 'n' roll; his range and multiplicity fit Slash's guitar spectrum like a glove -- not unlike that displayed by Axl Rose (minus the drama, of course). Bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz are a tight rhythm section whose performances neatly pave the way for Slash and his unmistakable Les Paul heroics.Slash's debut was extremely diverse, with its all-star roster of vocalists and musicians, and you get the impression that it was the album that he had to make at that juncture of his career. "Apocalyptic Love," with its boisterous, no-frills focus, is the album that he has wanted to make since "Appetite for Destruction." Good fortune abiding, it will be the first of many great things to come from Slash, Myles and The Conspirators.