Monday, 18 July 2011
Use Your Illusion I/II
I feel sorry for people who only know Guns ‘n’ Roses from Appetite for Destruction. Sure it had the biggest hits and is a fantastic album, but the band moved on to so much more. While Appetite was a blast of hard rock with a mean attitude Use Your Illusion is a sprawling epic covering blues, country, quasi-rap and industrial, while rocking hard all the time. Yes it’s bloated, clocking in at 2½ hours it’s not what you’d call short, but it changes tempo and theme so often it never really drags. Technically it is two albums but they were recorded in the same session and have identical yet palette swapped artwork, so I count them as one.
This album could be seen as a semi-autobiographical; thematically it is certainly a trip through Axl’s twisted mind. Every influence or musical passion is crammed in; covering Dylan and McCartney. Samples are used to great effect on “Civil War” and “Coma”. It spits out insults, literally, on “Get In The Ring”. Drugs are sung about, booze is sung about and you better believe women are sung about too. The final song hastily tries to justify itself; “You want to step into my world? It's a sociopsychotic state of bliss!”
Proficiently every member is on form, Slash does his thing and the drummer puts in a damn good show. This is through and through Axl’s album though. I maintain he is easily one of the best front men, “My World” is some first class crazy yelping and on “Coma” his voice reaches breaking point but somehow he keeps on one upping himself in the dizziest crescendo I know of.
No matter what genre you like, you’ll find something new on these albums and if you’re sick of “Paradise City” there is plenty more out there. May I also recommend “The Spaghetti Incident”. Granted it has the worst album artwork ever and was recorded just as the wheels fell off on GNR, but this collection of covers is very fun and kinda continues from where Illusion left off.