Ship the "Contraband" back

Michael Ford
Arts & Entertainment Editor   

    Velvet Revolver’s debut album, “Contraband,” lacks almost every ingredient required to compose quality music. Of all the things this album direly needs, decent lyrics and a singer who can bellow them out with at least some sincerity tops the list.

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   For some reason beyond my comprehension, Velvet Revolver is being dubbed a “super group.” This is an oxymoron of historical proportions, because the band is anything but “super,” I assure you. They may have an impressive lineup, including former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and former Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland, but both fall flat on their face in whatever they are attempting to achieve with this record.

   "Scott always wants to work, and that's a change.” Slash told Lorraine Ali at “With Axl, it was impossible to get him to do anything. Scott's whole problem is tangible—it's just a drug problem. It's not something completely insane that we can't understand.”

   One positive message you can derive from this collection of horrific sound, is you should not use drugs. If Weiland’s voice is any indication, his chronic drug abuse has caught up with him. His vocals throughout the record are nothing more than an annoying howl akin to maybe what I would sound like if I had a cold, which is a shame because his vocals were close to brilliant on earlier STP records.

   “I'm also tired of journalists acting like sycophants, then, when they get away to a safe distance, printing what they think I should have said,” Weiland told Lorraine Ali at “If I meet them again I'll shake their hand and smack them in the face.”

   Slash’s trademark guitar solos from the GNR era, unfortunately, are missing in action. Throughout the album, his playing is undecipherable due to all the clamoring going on in the background. This could be the result of poor production, or merely Slash’s own decision in style of play; regardless, it was a fatal error in judgment. Only one word can describe the guitars on this record – muffled.

   “He's (Dave Kushner) usually the guitar on the left-hand side, and any kind of weird sounds, like a synthesizer or futuristic – it's his guitar,” Slash told Don Zulaica at “I do all the leads. On the intro to ‘Sucker Train Blues’ there's some guitar licks that are his. That was the very last new song that we wrote for the album.”

   Nearly every track is the same identical gibberish; however, a few are listenable if you can acquire a taste for their raucous sound. “Slither,” the first single, is easily the best of what is here and even though it sounds quite generic, it does rock. “You Got No Right” has its moments, but you get the feeling something is missing. The closing track, “Loving The Alien,” is Weiland’s best attempt at singing, but the lame title and redundant lyrics detract from what could have been.

   All we can do is hope these guys return to their respective groups and do not release more garbage under the Velvet Revolver name. If you want to hear the best of Weiland’s vocals, pick up some of his earlier work with STP such as “Core” and “Purple.” If Slash’s classic guitar solos are your cup of tea, pick up GNR’s “Appetite For Destruction” and “Use Your Illusion I.” However, avoid this monstrosity of noise at all costs.

Grade: D -

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