It's been 16 years since Slash departed Guns N' Roses, and he's finally twigged that people want to hear records that twin his rounded, woody guitar tone with a singer partial to a high-register nasal yelp. In the absence of Axl Rose, he's brought in Myles Kennedy – who's been fronting Slash's touring band and sang two songs on his last album – to perk up the ears of passing dogs, and the results are much as you might expect. Slash riffs dirtily – except when venturing into classical scales on Anastasia, and pulling out the inevitable ballad with Far and Away – and Kennedy wails over the top. It's a whole lot better than Chinese Democracy, Rose's last effort, but by being pretty good but never outstanding, it only makes one recall how feral and exciting Guns N' Roses once were. Even so, there's no doubting the thrill as the album opens, when, after a brief burst of wah-wah pedal, Slash slips into a riff that corkscrews as tightly as his hair.
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian