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Record Rating: ***

Velvet Revolver - Contraband - BMG /Crescendo Music At their screaming peak, Guns N' Roses (whose albums still sell by the million) were heroically bombastic, incited stadium riots during the longest live tour in history and became the most talked about band of their times. Unfortunately for their fans, the band’s best-known lineup self-destructed shortly afterward, scattering the members in various musical directions.

While we’re still waiting for that comeback album of frontman Axl Rose and his new line up of Guns N Roses (the so called Chinese Democracy album) - the former bandmates haven't been sitting still. In 2002 that Guns N' Roses survivors Slash, Duff Mckagan and Matt Sorum formed a band called Velvet Revolver with Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland and ex-Danzig and Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner, and two years later this is their debut. That this motley crew were able to make it through one rehearsal is impressive. That they were able to produce an entire album is a colossal achievement. Titled Contraband, the album in the first week alone sold 256,000 copies in the United States topping the Billboard 200 albums chart. The first single 'Slither' - a rabid, ambitious rocker guided by Slash's signature guitar sound - even reached the top of Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and quickly has one of the most played rock singles of this year. The album, just like the band seems to be one parole violation away from implosion. Songs like 'Big Machine' and 'Do It For The Kids' set the pace for the albums thirteen tracks. If you’re a long time Guns N’ Roses fan – be prepared to be disappointed. Slash’s best work seems to be behind him, as the album becomes too monotonous for its own good.

And if they can stay out of jail long enough to make a second album – Velvet Revolver has a lot of potential. I do take their music seriously – since I’m a huge Guns N’ Roses fan since I was a kid. If you don't own the Use Your Illusion CDs or even the Greatest Hits of the original line up of GNR – you do need to get those before buying Contraband – if you’re looking for a way to find true nirvana.

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The Rock Box - Various Artists       Richard Marx - My Own Best Enemy       Meatloaf - Heaven Can Wait...The Best Of       Usher - Confessions      


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