Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction (1987)

Label – Geffen
Producer – Mike Clink

Looking back, “Appetite For Destruction” was the perfect Rock collection for its era. The subsequent implosion of the band, and the sporadic and inconsistent album releases that would follow, only serve to heighten the value of this recording. Guns ‘n Roses were one of the few credible acts to bridge the gap between the facile commerciality of hair metal and the harder underground sounds of Metallica, Slayer and other faster paced bands. As individuals, these five greasy, booze and drug fuelled thrill seekers weren’t easy to love. Bred on an audio diet of AC/DC and Aerosmith riffs, and influenced by swaggering upstarts from the great LA hardcore era of the late 70s, they honed their muse into the latent appeal for cut out Hanoi Rocks imagery and served up spiteful stories of the hysteria that accompanied their lives. The illustrations of this wanton social decay are portrayed with grimy honesty, with singer Axl Rose howling resonantly squalid tales with unerring conviction. From the fear stricken streets of the outstanding opener “Welcome To The Jungle”, Rose’s maniacal vocal would rarely sound so haunted…so deeply visceral.

Much credit for this stunning debut must go to the dual guitar slingers Izzy Stradlin and Slash. Whilst Slash created the envied licks, Stradlin shaped many of the songs, avidly steering the input towards the urgent Punk of his youth; bringing back the raw vitality that he felt had been missing since the late 70s. In his own words, “Rock ‘n Roll in general has just sucked a big f**king dick since the Pistols”, and songs like “Mr Brownstone”, “Nightrain” and “My Michelle” all benefit from his aggressive arrangements. As love songs go, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” suffers from the type of over familiarity that belies its importance to the album. Slash’s comically intentioned and yet uniquely stylized lead, and producer Mike Clink’s insistence that the song needed something extra, led to the mesmerizing “Where Do We Go Now?” refrain which only adds to what is still one of the greatest guitar Rock songs of all time. The closer “Rocket Queen” splices two songs in one, with added female sex noises and an unbelievable assurance that only comes from a band who weren’t afraid to push boundaries to convey their debauched message. Just the one creative slip into throwaway mediocrity via the lyrically inane hair metal anthem “Paradise City”, which fortunately doesn’t dilute what is an incredible overall performance.

It couldn’t last, and the band began to fall apart almost as soon as they achieved their infamy, and for Axl Rose, the next 20 years would be a constantly frustrating bid to resurrect the unexplainable spirit that made the vital document it remains to this day. “Appetite For Destruction” is still an astonishingly powerful statement of intent.

9/10

A1 Welcome to the Jungle 4:33
A2 It’s So Easy 3:22
A3 Nightrain 4:28
A4 Out Ta Get Me 4:23
A5 Mr. Brownstone 3:48
A6 Paradise City 6:46
B1 My Michelle 3:39
B2 Think About You 3:51
B3 Sweet Child o’ Mine 5:56
B4 You’re Crazy 3:17
B5 Anything Goes 3:26
B6 Rocket Queen 6:13

It’s So Easy

Welcome To The Jungle

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