Velvet Revolver - Contraband
RCA Records
Punkish Modern Hard Rock
13 songs (56.48)
Release year: 2004
Velvet Revolver, RCA Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Untitled Document First, I need to announce a fact about myself. I hero-worship Mr. Saul Hudson aka Slash. Without the man I probably wouldn’t be half as happy with myself and my life as I am now. Because when I saw the guy rip those solos on the grand piano and in the middle of the desert in the video for GNRs November Rain, I was hooked. Music became my life. Period. I might have tough times saying bad things about the guys playing.

Second, I will say that this review will not be like over half of the reviews Ive read of this album that have pissed me off. You may know the ones, the ones that concentrate more on drug problems, probations and exploded livers then on the music. I say fuck that, lets take a look at the tunes. If you´re interested about this band, you know these guys and their previous bands from way back or have already found out about them. No need for me to elaborate on them.

Sucker Train Blues opens the album with a simple killer, speedy rock tune. Slash and Dave Kushner rip the riffs with power and Duffs excellently hammering bass style shines bright. Id say Duff is the real black horse of this album with his bass, but then again that’s what I have thought about GNR as well for a long time. His bass has power and a very nice, distorted groove. Matt Sorum provides solid beats that are nothing exceptional, but holds the backbone together like concrete. Scott Weilands dirty and gruffy voice works very well on the opening tracks great chorus while Slash tears some excellent note flurries. And then suddenly this Sucker Train gets derailed for a painful period. The next four songs try to rock as hard as they can but that special something just isn’t there. Its almost like all catchiness is buried under too hard attempts at sounding up-to-date. Weilands sly voice suddenly starts to sound very tired and not that convicted. The marvellous heavy-ballad Fall To Pieces saves the beginning half with some excellent emotion and melodies. With the intro very similar to Guns N Roses´ Yesterdays and Slashs trademark über-soulful solo licks that just wont leave your blissfully soothed braincells, this is definitely my favourite off the album. Even Weilands voice has its power back again. Mind you though that Im not a big fan of his singing, not even on the few cuts that Ive heard from the Stone Temple Pilots´ catalogue.

Headspace dishes out some great crushing grooves and proves that even with a lot of modern touches the band can produce great results. Superhuman and Set Me Free are again two tracks that are very conflicting. Some nice intro licks that lead to pretty good riffs but the songs as a whole just don’t grab you that well. The half-acoustic slow song You Got No Right is again a much better tune with a very catchy chorus and of course, Slashs magnificent soloing style that defies all elements of bland noodling and could crush all million-notes-per-minute-shredders in a heart beat. Few guitarists have melody in their leads like Slash does and that ability has not been lost by the man/demi-god. The first single Slither also grabs the cake with its excellent mid-paced hooks and chorus. Dirty Little Thing salvages as much as it can as the final really good rocker of the album (KILLER SOLO BY SLASH!!!), as the closing ballad Loving The Alien pales out terribly in the shadow of the earlier, awesome ballads that graced this album.

With a line-up like this band has, one could not have avoided some/huge expectations for this record. Is this a humongous, all-healing hard rock masterpiece that will wipe all the r ´n´ b-pop-fluff in the world out of existence? No, its not. Is it a very good hard rock record? Yes it is. On Contraband, these veterans didn´t try to make anything fancy but just rock damn well. They pulled a mostly nice job. Slash and Duff McKagan are the real blasters that save this album, hopefully the coming albums are stronger as a whole, and not just high point tracks here and there like Contraband is.

Killing Songs :
Sucker Train Blues, Falling To Pieces, Headspace, You Got No Right, Slither & Dirty Little Thing
Aleksie quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Velvet Revolver that we have reviewed:
Velvet Revolver - Libertad reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
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