Label: RCA / BMG
Release date: June 8, 2004

User Review
8.5/10 (1 vote)

All right. Former Guns ‘N Roses men Slash, Duff, and Matt, along with ex-Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, and the less known guitar player Dave Kushner, have put their heads and instruments together to form what the press for has been calling (for a while); a super group.

Quite a few of you out there have hoped that this unit would be able to make the killer rock & roll album everybody has been waiting for for ages. Slash & co’s masterpiece, Appetite For Destruction, from 1987, is still said to sell 7,000 copies per week worldwide, and wouldn’t if be great if we’d get more of those songs, those riffs and licks, those attitudes, that appetite…?

Well, Velvet Revolver hasn’t even tried to do their best. Contraband is indeed an interesting album for several reasons, but it has turned out to be a product way below reasonable expectations. I am not saying one bad word about the guys’ musical abilities, but the album suffers from a total lack of good songs!

Actually, I can’t describe even one of the tracks as more than OK. “Set Me Free,” which we got to know a year ago by its appearance on The Hulk movie soundtrack, was nothing more than “all right,” but contained promising foretaste on what to expect … it stands today as the album’s best track. “Superhuman” and “Dirty Little Thing” are good rock songs as well, but will never put anything on fire …

The slow stuff on the album, like “Fall To Pieces” and “Loving The Alien,” just don’t work at all. Both are well played and well sung, but oh so cliche.

As I said, they sure play well, and they indeed rock hard, but the material will provide you nothing new. “Sucker Train Blues’” vocal arrangement sounds like something meant for Axl Rose for the Use Your Illusions recordings, and “Illegal I Song” sounds like a left over track from Jane’s Addiction’s Strays sessions. And “Slither,” the recent single … what can I say? It’s one of many tracks that lack a proper chorus. I really can’t understand what exactly Velvet Revolver wants their concert audiences to sing along with from this album.

Slash’s guitar solos are great, though. And, at least this album will work fine to occupy the die hard Guns ‘N Roses fans who’ve been waiting for new material from Axl Rose for years.

Is Velvet Revolver a dream team? It looks like it on the cover photos, but they don’t provide you with the songs you’ve been dreaming of hearing. Contraband doesn’t represent a voracious appetite, it represents a burp after dinner.

However, what’s much more interesting than this recording is how will Slash, Matt, Duff, Dave, and Scott do live this year?! Expect a Velvet Revolver live review on Metal Express in mid-August!


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