SLASH Featuring MYLES KENNEDY & THE NEW CONSPIRATORS – Living The Dream

Slash discography

The last time Slash released an album with his new outfit, World On Fire (2014), he only had himself and his band to think of. Today, the circumstances have changed. In late 2015, the unexpected happened – and it was unexpected as hell. Slash and bassist Duff McKagan reunited with Axl Rose in Guns N’ Roses and in 2016 it was announced that a major world was about to happen – the Not In This Lifetime Tour. While that was really damn cool and something the world of rock ‘n’ roll bloody well needed, it also meant that Slash no longer could give his band The New Conspirators his full attention – and that is probably why it has been four years since we last received new music from the guys. With Myles Kennedy in Alter Bridge and now also a solo artist, I guess it can’t be easy to get all schedules together for recording and then touring so maybe four years isn’t that long at all.

Since both Slash and Kennedy seems to be workaholics at large, no time has been wasted in between G N’R tours, Alter Bridge and solo recordings and tours. The guys wrote the songs and rounded up the rest of the band – bassist Todd Kerns, drummer Brent Fitz (Union, Vince Neil, Alice Cooper) and rhythm guitarist Frank Sidoris – and got to work and on September 21 the world was presented by the result – the second album released with the title Living The Dream in the same month (Uriah Heep released an album with the same title on September 14). And of course, with two Rock giants like Slash and Kennedy, expectations are high everywhere.

Opener “The Call Of The Wild” sets the standard right away. It’s a rough and raunchy rocker with a sleazy attitude with Slash’s personal riffage at front. The tune is a real buster, heavy rock and roll with a striking melody that actually reminds me some of Alter Bridge. A great way to kick off the record. “Serve You Right” is a Classic Rock tune in mid pace with a kicking and groovy rhythm with enough dirt under the fingernails. The tune holds the sharp sleaziness of G N’R and Kennedy’s brilliant vocal melodies. Very good. “My Antidote” is a tough and fat rocker with its feet in the early 90’s. It holds a groovy, chunky rhythm that reminds me some of G N’R’s “You Could Be Mine”, but style wise this could easily have been lifted from World On Fire. It’s a damn good, kick-ass rocker with a killer refrain. “Mind Your Manners” is a fast, punchy and hard-hitting sleazerocker that sure kicks up some dust. However, it’s a standard rocker, a filler.

“Lost Inside The Girl” slows things down to a mid pace and holds a ballad-like arrangement. The song goes into Stadium Rock territory with a darker mood, even melancholic. It’s a bit bluesy with a memorable main melody, a catchy refrain and a classic Slash guitar solo. Brilliant! “Read Between The Lines” holds some slow verses and brings on a somewhat trippy feel over the Classic Rock style. The chorus takes a big punch but the tune fails to grab me and is pretty soon forgotten. The heavy and raunchy “Slow Grind” is much better. The song takes early 90’s Sleaze and blends it with Alter Bridge’s melodies and also takes on a slightly jazzy vibe. Great stuff. “The One You Loved Is Gone” is a soft yet powerful ballad where Kennedy’s typical sense of melody shines through and sounds like Alter Bridge doing a power ballad with Slash on guitar. The tune sticks pretty much right away and the hit-potential here is endless. Must be a single at some point!

Leading single “Driving Rain” follows and it is a tough, rowdy and bouncy kick-ass rock’n’roll tune that takes no prisoners. The tune throws a nod back to Apocalyptic Love (2012) and the song “Standing In The Rain”, but those borrowings means little – it’s a catchy, fat rocker with a big Pop feel and the refrain is made of major catchiness. Awesome! “Sugar Cane” is a sleazy, dirty hard rocker with a biting groove that shakes and grinds and all would be well if the tune wasn’t such a filler. In my book it really goes nowhere. Ok at most. “The Great Pretender” is a slow, melancholic and darkening Hard Rock ballad that walks on the ballsy side of being sweet. It stands upon a heavy foundation, a steady rhythm with some tough riffs thrown in. The verses’ melodies are very memorable and the rougher chorus is just brilliantly catchy. Fantastic! Closing track “Boulevard Of Broken Hearts” is more of a raunchier Melodic Rock song with a big, bad groove and a somewhat polished refrain with a large dose of Pop-laden melodies. A strong song and a good closer.

If you’re a fan of Slash and his Conspirators, then you know what you’re gonna get here. Style wise and sound wise, this album is a continuation of the two previous ones without repeating themselves especially. You know, if it ain’t broken… Slash and Myles have found a working formula here and the thing is, Slash’s raunchy and sleazy playing works surprisingly well with Myles’ clean and distinct voice. Guns N’Roses and Alter Bridge are from different worlds musically but somehow it sounds just right when you mix the two. Compared to the other two albums, this one is on plus because of the shorter playing time – 12 songs to the others 13 and 17 – but still it’s not as even as the other two. Sure, this album sports a whole bunch of killers but also a few fillers too many. Still, this is a very good album full of classic Hard Rock that goes straight for the jaw without any squiggle. The world of Rock needs that too.

7/10

More Slash reviews:

Slash
Apocalyptic Love
World On Fire

Tracklist:

1. The Call Of The Wild
2. Serve You Right
3. My Antidote
4. Mind Your Manners
5. Lost Inside The Girl
6. Read Between The Lines
7. Slow Grind
8. The One You Loved Is Gone
9. Driving Rain
10. Sugar Cane
11. The Great Pretender
12. Boulevard Of Broken Hearts

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