Slash and Myles Kennedy definitely have something good going together. In 2010, Slash released his first solo album – a record that featured an all-star lineup of guest musicians: Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and of course, Kennedy of Alter Bridge. Even with the accolades that resulted from such an album, there was something missing from that self-titled album: coherence. So for his sophomore solo release, Slash decided to use Kennedy as a full-time vocalist on the album along with a backing band, often referred to as “Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.” The result is a record that not only thrives from impressive instrumentals and vocals, but has great flow and unity.
The first few songs really get a nice groove going. The opener – the title track – features a nasty guitar riff that turns the song into one with a memorable verse and chorus. A double tracking on Kennedy’s vocals makes the chorus soar, and fittingly, Slash’s impeccable guitar work builds the song’s groove. The following track, “One Last Thrill,” continues in similar suit. Expect sumptuous instrumentation, tightly-woven vocal melodies, and a climactic feel to the chorus. This approach continues throughout the album, and it really helps prevent any of the tunes from feeling out of place. The album’s flow is very different, but in a good way – things feel a lot more cohesive. Each song contains an expectant allotment of guitar, the same vocalist rather than a guest to twist the album’s formulaic steadfast devourment, and typical classic rock-meets-modern hard rock vibes.
Even with coherence being the main improvement between the two records, there is still a fine line between incongruity and redundancy that isn’t quite met, making Apocalyptic Love’s repetitiveness a little bit strenuous on the listener. Most songs play through a similar formula: Slash’s baffling guitar riffs get the song going, then from there it’s all Kennedy – whose vocals help blast the song into a chorus – and eventually, Slash sneaks his way back to the front of the song with a wobbly guitar solo that makes you want to throw a fist in the air. By the time you get to “Not For Me” or “Hard & Fast,” you may be tempted to stop listening due to the feel that there is no variety. Even with how repetitive such an approach is, everything is still super-catchy to make up for it. “You’re a Lie” is a definite example of this; I find myself pitching in alongside Kennedy in the chorus every time I listen to it. It’s just so damn catchy.
Though Apocalyptic Love is much more enjoyable as a play-through record in comparison to the self-titled, I still wish the band as a whole would’ve mixed things up a little, to make a record that has more of an identity. That being said, just with the talent that is displayed throughout, this album is definitely worth checking out. Expect to hear incredible guitar work, gutty vocals, swift hooks, and a blast from the past that will make you reminisce in the good ol’ days of rock and roll once again. Apocalyptic Love is a straightforward rock album that is easy to pick up and listen to anytime. Just don’t expect to be blown away song after song, as the more you play it, the more tiring it will get.