I GOTTA HAND IT TO AXL ROSE, the new Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy CD is much, much mo’ better than I thought it’d be. After hearing rumors for years about Axl experimenting with techno music and after hearing the advance track “Shackler’s Revenge” which debuted on the latest Guitar Hero game, I feared the worst — a techno/rock Guns N’ Roses. But upon giving the entire album a listen courtesy of the GNR myspace page I am happy to report that the CD is indeed a genuine hard rock record with hints of modern influences that fortunately don’t cater too much to today’s trends. And don’t let the lame CD cover (a photo of an old bicycle with a huge basket on the seat — who the heck came up with this???) fool you — most definitely this is a rockin’ album which contains some ballsy rockers in the Appetite For Destruction vein, but it also contains several “November Rain” type tunes complete with grande piano, string sections, and electric guitar power chords. Axl’s voice has never sounded better and the album is chock-full of very impressive, hot-roddin’ guitar work courtesy of his large ensemble of axemeisters with sweet rocking leads that you don’t hear too often in today’s music. There are even some soul influences in many of the songs — but of course I always knew Axl was a soul singer trapped in a rocker’s body, at times he sounds almost like Marvin Gaye– and he really lets loose in Chinese Democracy with scores of overlapping, overdubbed vocals. Yes, Chinese Democracy really shows Axl Rose’s maturity as an artist and vocalist, and in this case the maturity is a very, very good thing.
As a whole, this CD is much better than 99.99% of rock music that’s come out in the past decade and is a beautiful breathe of fresh air to my ears which have grown tired of the mediocre “rock” music which has polluted our airwaves as of late. You know the rock music I’m talking about… what with the agro/screamo vocals, the drop-D tuning, and the emphasis on being so “heavy” that the music just doesn’t ROCK anymore. Don’t get me started — that’s a whole ‘nother article right there! Certainly without a doubt, Chinese Democracy is the right album at the right time. It may have taken Axl 15 years to get it together, and truly the whole journey of this album became a running joke, but the final FINAL product was worth the wait. Hopefully Chinese Democracy will be a huge seller and help bury nü metal for good. I just may buy a copy of this disc for myself and yes, the rumors are true… I am an Axl Rose fan and when I do karaoke I always sing “November Rain.” Good luck to ya, Axl, and thanks for the Rock!