Whether it’s been touring with Guns N’ Roses on their never-ending Not In This Lifetime tour or launching his newest range of Gibson USA signature guitars, Slash has been one very busy man in recent years, pandemic or not. Now he is back with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators for his highly anticipated 4th solo record.
Slash Ft Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – 4 (BMG)
Release Date: 11 February 2022
Words: Kahmel Farahani
The album opens with the lead single, The River Is Rising. An anthemic, full-blooded hard rocker, it’s a fine song to start off with, and it’s sure to become a staple of Slash’s live shows. From Todd Kerns huge bass sound to the warm, crashing timbre of the drums, it sounds absolutely fantastic.
Indeed one of the best things about 4 is the way it was recorded. Cut live as a band with minimal overdubs and no interference or trickery, 4 is easily one of the best sounding rock albums of recent years. When you can hear the instruments really breathe and the air moving, it really makes many other modern rock offerings sound bland and processed in comparison. 4 is an album that benefits from great headphones or the loudest of speakers for the very best listening experience.
Whatever Gets You By sounds somewhat like early Snakepit era writing, given a proper full-fat makeover, with the more decadent guitar riffs and solos making it a beast of a track. At the same time, Myles Kennedy is so consistent it almost passes without comment what an excellent foil his vocal melodies are for Slash’s riffs. While his vocals may lack the more explosive, punk rock edge, Myles makes up for it by sheer technical ability and consistency.
C’est La Vie is a gritty, mid-tempo rocker with easily the best and catchiest chorus on the whole album. The Conspirators sound superb, while Slash brings back his talk box during the riffs before an absolutely delicious solo. Definitely one of the highlights of the entire album. It followed by The Path Less Followed. Punchy, upbeat riffing and a great chorus from Myles make this track a winner too.
With some of the best vocals and lyrics on the album, Actions Speak Louder Than Words is another highlight, with Slash’s playing hitting the perfect tone and winding, languid phrasing that characterises his best work.
Spirit Love is a heavier track, with Slash grinding away on one of his nastier riffs in years, while Fill My World is the album’s more romantic, mid-tempo ballad. It manages to navigate the right side of free spirit, driving in the sunset radio rock, and its highlight is another fine solo from Slash.
Things pick up again with the faster and far gutsier, chugging riff of April Fool. It is one that gets better with every listen, while Call Off The Dogs is as direct and fast pace a song as you’re going to get on 4. While it’s not one of the highlights, it is still a very enjoyable, high energy number.
The album ends with the brilliant and unexpected twist of Fall Back To Earth. A beautifully dark and atmospheric song, its a real change of pace to the rest of 4 and it makes it all the more compelling to hear. It almost sounds like the soundtrack of a cataclysmic sci-fi film that has yet to be made, and it is always a joy to hear Slash pushing things that little bit further in his writing.
Overall, 4 is a very fine, consistent album with moments of greatness from one of rock ‘n’ roll’s true living icons. As an exercise in invention, it is nothing we haven’t heard before. As an example of hard rock music recorded, played, produced and mixed to absolute perfection, 4 is going to take some beating.
A superb album and a sonic benchmark for modern rock music.