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Slash, ‘Made in Stoke 24/7/11′ – Album Review

Slash Made in Stoke
Eagle Records

What is the sound of a homecoming? If you’re Slash — who recorded his ‘Made in Stoke 24/7/11′ double-disc concert set earlier this year in his English birthplace of Stoke on Trent — it’s beautiful, bestial and bombastic…just like the man himself!

Tapping Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) for vocals, the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist turns in a celebratory 21-song set that spans his days with Guns N’ Roses, Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver, all while taking a look into the future of his burgeoning solo career.

Among the concert’s heaviest cuts are undoubtedly ‘Nothing To Say’ (from Slash’s long-overdue 2010 eponymous solo debut) and ‘Speed Parade,’ (from ‘Ain’t Life Grand,’ the second post-Guns album the guitarist released back in 2000.)

‘Nothing To Say,’ co-written with Avenged Sevenfold‘s M. Shadows, sees Slash shedding his usual blues-based fretwork for some denim-and-leather style New Wave of British Heavy Metal riffing. Meanwhile, ‘Speed Parade’ finds the veteran six-stringer treading briefly on nasty sonic territory that’s more commonly occupied by Bay area thrash metal bands.

As for Kennedy, he knows he has big shoes to fill in the shadow of Axl Rose and sometimes overcompensates — ‘Night Train’ finds him turning in a vocal performance almost more whiny and nasally than the original. But more often than not, the singer pays tribute without going overboard.

Despite its simplicity, ‘Patience’ never feels like it gels on ‘Made in Stoke.’ Maybe it’s Kennedy’s inability to do that most Axl-like of traits during the intro: ‘Whistle if you feel free,’ the frontman warns the audience. ‘I can’t whistle for s**t!’ On the other hand, Slash & Co. nail ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ in classic form from the moment its indelible intro riff starts cranking.

And what document of a Slash concert would be complete without a standalone guitar solo? The top-hatted rocker gets his shred on during “Godfather Solo.” Slash even sees fit to get all neo-classical in an Yngwie Malmsteen kind of way during his loose take of Italian film composer Nino Rota’s celebrated score.

Beautiful, bestial and bombastic, indeed.

4 Stars

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