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Chinese Democracy

Guns N' Roses

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iTunes Editors' Notes

In truth, not a Guns N’ Roses album, but an Axl Rose and Friends production, as not another single member from the band’s original line-up is present here. In their place is a virtual militia of guitar players — often four to five at a time — and an extended crew of keyboardists, including Use Your Illusion-era Dizzy Reed. With all this firepower, Rose uses his surly, knowing howl to ID these hard rock tunes with his fervent, often imagined, sense of injustice and works his way into quite a tizzy. He’s raging against something that’s holding the world back in the title track and he’s stalking the stage with the gothic thrust of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on “Better” and adopting the Robert Plant banshee scream throughout “Riad N’ the Bedouins”. While Rose spends much of his vocal range in a high anguished falsetto, his backing group use everything from prog-rock Mellotron and strings for “There Was a Time” to piano and orchestra for the Freddie Mercury-inspired power-ballad “Street of Dreams”. Rose doesn’t believe in small moves. An album that has taken 15 years to appear and has used 14 studios to create it could only be this grandiose: Larger than life in every conceivable way.

Customer Reviews

Believe the hype! This album is AMAZING!

First thing’s first…this album is perfect! The musical content of Chinese Democracy is quite simply stunning. After a few listens you get sucked into the songs and you’ll be left gob smacked. This is the work of a genius. Now you know why this album took so long to be made. Every single second has been thought out and planned to perfection. Axl has always been recognised as a great lyricist, but he’s outdone himself on this album. The lyrics on this album are some of his best ever. Scraped, There Was A Time, Madagascar and Shackler's Revenge are prime examples. Lyrics are one thing, but it’s the melodies which make songs and this album is packed with them. This album has a song for everyone. Want something rock out and headband to? You’ve got Shackler’s Revenge and Riad N’ The Bedouins. Want something relaxing? Check out This I Love and Sorry. Want to hear one of the best GN’R songs ever written? Check out Better. No Slash? Who cares, go listen to Velvet Revolver if you want Slash. Chinese Democracy has got musicians who are 10 times better. Buckethead anyone? Yes his guitar parts are here in force! Not only that but possibly the best guitarist in the world today, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, has his technical fret work all over this album. His guitar parts will blow your mind. Possibly the most important addition to the band is Chris Pitman. His work has added a whole new dimension to not only Guns N’ Roses, but music as we know it. You might need a sub-woofer to hear some of his parts in all their glory. Other musicians on display here are Josh Freese, who wrote most of the drums parts (although the majority of drum parts are played by Brain and Frank Ferrer). You’ll have to refer to his wiki to find his full résumé. Robin Finck who is the man behind Nine Inch Nail’s most famous guitar work. Tommy Stinson who has been a member of the band for well over a decade, and a former member of legendary alt-rock band The Replacements. And of course, Dizzy Reed who has been a member of Guns N’ Roses for almost 20 years. Old GN’R fans will be pleased to know (whether they’re aware of it or not) that Paul ‘Huge’ Tobias has contributed a great deal to this album. This is the guy who is wrote many of the riffs found on Appetite For Destruction and is credited by Axl for keeping Guns N’ Roses alive from 1996 onwards when the other guys upped and left. The only reason we don’t see him at the forefront of the band is because he doesn’t like touring. Anyone who says that this album is not the “real” Guns N’ Roses needs a history lesson on the band before they open their mouth. If you love music this album is an essential addition to your collection. Bottom line: This album is brilliant.

Relax: it's brilliant

I've been looking forward to this with a mixture of dread and anticipation. However, after of couple of listens it is clear that this is right up there with the Use Your Illusion albums, and is arguably more consistent than both. The rawness of Appetite For Destruction is absent (as might be expected from a 40yr old millionaire) but this new incarnation of Guns N Roses still knows how to put a tune together. Full out hard metal rockers sit next to lavishly arranged orchestral numbers whilst some songs veer between the two. There's more ideas on this album than on anything I've heard in years and a braver approach to song structure than I ever expected. I'm a Velvet Revolver fan but this knocks anything they've done into a cocked hat. It's not the Guns N Roses line up we all want to see, but if you're willing to get passed that and think of it as Axl's solo opus, then you are in for a treat. Less than 16 years til the follow up, hopefully. And fingers crossed that Slash and Rose can kiss and make up. What a record that would be if this is what one of them can do alone....

The trouble with reviewing this album...

...is that it has attained such mythic status over the years of its seemingly endless delay, it's practically impossible to appraise it without some extreme bias (either positive or negative) Most of us have already made up our minds as to whether Axl has the right to release this album under the Guns N' Roses name - despite the fact that he is the only member of the original line-up. I myself have no problem with it - but presumably, if we are supposed to hate this album purely on the basis that it contains only one member from the band's early days, then surely we should also hate all new albums released by Megadeth or Motorhead for example? At the end of the day, this record sounds very different from both Appetite for Destruction and the Use Your Illusions double set - but wasn't that always going to be the case? It's been 17 years since the last album of original Gun's material, a gap almost unequalled in terms of the output of modern popular music. While listening, it's impossible to get past the constant questioning of whether an album of 14 songs could possibly be worth such a wait - and to be honest, it can't, but I think it's important to get past such cynicism. Despite these concerns however, no one giving the album a fair listening can deny that this is a superbly produced, expertly crafted modern rock album - and taken on its own merits, separate from the crushing weight of the hype surrounding its release, I think it is entirely worthy of standing alongside Guns N' Roses exemplary back catalogue. It's not quite perfect - due to some interesting stylistic experiments that don't always come off quite as planned, but more important than that is the fact that at no point does it become formulaic or complacent, each track presents an entirely individual sound world - all of which reward repeated listening as the various layers of the fantastic production are revealed. The musicians Axl has surrounded himself with are all of the highest quality, and during the albums stand-out moments, his vocal performances possess a level of intense ferocity that I find sadly lacking in most of the more recent Hard Rock front men. In short - I really enjoyed listening to this album, and I think if you give it a chance, you will to :)

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

At a time when pop was dominated by dance music and pop-metal, Guns N' Roses brought raw, ugly rock & roll crashing back into the charts. They were not nice boys; nice boys don't play rock & roll. They were ugly, misogynistic, and violent; they were also funny, vulnerable, and occasionally sensitive, as their breakthrough hit, "Sweet Child O' Mine," showed. While Slash and Izzy Stradlin ferociously spit out dueling guitar riffs worthy of Aerosmith or the Stones, Axl Rose screeched out his...
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