Apparently it takes more than a top-hat, a cool name and the moniker of guitar legend to make a good album. Slash”s Snakepits” latest release Ain”t Life Grand is supremely average. It is hard not to have high expectations for the man who wrote such guitar anthems as “Paradise City” and Welcome to the Jungle” but after listening to 70 minutes of vanilla blues rock it is hard not to wonder what happened to the epic sound that characterized Slash”s playing with Guns N Roses.
The album gets off to a quick start with “Been There Lately,” but behind the pounding drumbeat, galloping guitar chops and gritty vocals there isn”t much substance. Lack of substance not only describes the first track but epitomizes most of the album.
Relatively few examples of complete songs exist on the album. Most songs are ruined by a lack in lyrical creativity. Each song was either a song about drugs with sexual innuendos or a song about sex with drug innuendos. How many times can rock clichs be recycled? Within the song “Mean Bone,” vocalist Rod Jackson spews forth “I got one mean bone in my body/I got one mean bone in my hand.” Whatever could he be speaking of? Yawn. Not only is the album lyrically abysmal but Mr. Jackson”s smoked out growls are as unique as the newest boy band.
A few standout tracks are scattered throughout the album. “Shine” has excellent dynamics. The song ebbs and flows adding to the delightfully disturbing feeling that comes from listening to a choir of children”s voices sing backup vocals to a song about a serial killer. Regardless of lyrical content, songs like “Shine” and “The Truth” have very catchy, singable, hard rock hooks. “Back to the Moment,” no matter how clichd, is a grade-A blues love ballad.
Slash”s guitar playing is quite solid but not exceptional. If it wasn”t for his hard-hitting, chunky rhythm parts the album would fall on its face. Apart from his admirable rhythm work most of the tracks lack the rich melodic solos that made