Velvet Revolver is everything good and bad about rock music. Over the years the band members have all saturated themselves with the life-style afforded many non-discerning rock stars. If you read any publications about the band you will find a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and hedonistic living. It seems that they have pulled themselves off of the self-destructive freeway and decided to survive and make some great music.
Velvet Revolver are Scott Weiland (formerly of Stone Temple Pilots) on vocals, Slash (formally of GnR fame) on guitar, Duff McKagan (also formally from GnR) on bass, Matt Sorum (again formally from GnR) on drums, and Dave Kushner (formally of Wasted Youth) on guitar. All of this to say that the band is made up of former super groups. With this fact there have been great expectations attached to this band. Their first release “Contraband” lived up to these expectations and then some. With the combination of Scott Weiland’s crooning vocals and Slash’s driving force guitars it was hard to go wrong. But now with the release of their sophomore effort, released July 3rd, 2007, can the revolvers again do justice to the expectations?
The new album is called “Libertad“; I will have to admit I had to look up what it meant. It is just Spanish for liberty. The album itself feels more commercial than their first so it makes me wonder if they were given freedom on this album or is this the direction the band decided to go following “Contraband”. I am not saying that the commercial feel is a bad thing but I tend to find more experimentation from a group when they follow up a successful debut. (Contraband sold over 3 million copies) Although it is hard to refer to an album by these guys as a debut since they have all been recording music for over twenty years or more.
Let me first say that I was disappointed with the lyrical content. I say this because I would not personally write about some of the things Velvet Revolver write about. As a follower of Jesus Christ the things I am focused on in my life differ from those who have not tasted salvation. I can only suspect from the lyrics and what I’ve read about the band’s lifestyle that they are not believers. With that said I will say that musically this album rocks my face off. I love the different guitar sounds and chorus hooks that are prevalent on “Libertad”. The first track soars in with “Let It Roll”. This track sounds like vintage UFO with Michael Schenker slinging his trademark guitar riffs. The second track “She Mine” is typical Slash guitar and Weiland grunge type crooning. A very good combination to be heard and is on most of the album. “Get Out The Door” is the next track and spotlights some of the diverse guitar sounds on the album. Slash uses the vox box effect with the guitar on this one.
Album highlights are “Let It Roll”, the thoughtful “The Last Fight”, which has the feel of a parental/offspring fight more than any other relational fight, “Pills, Demons, Etc” for its great rhythm and hooky chorus, it is a typical drug/booze struggle song that comes off well, “Mary Mary” sounds like vintage GnR (Mr. Brownstone comes to mind), the ELO cover “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” is a great rendition of the classic rock song, and “For A Brother” which was written as tribute to Weiland’s bother who died from a drug overdose.
The album is hard rock genius musically. The lyrics seem to be more personal and not much depth. But I guess who expects lyrical genius from these guys? I give the album 4 stars out of 5. It would be 5 stars but for the lyrical content.
Check out the MySpace Webcast video for “The Last Fight” below.