In 2011 Guitar Planet asked: does Slash still matter? worrying that the star was resting on his laurels and relying on his legacy as he settled into a late-career comfort zone. Since that moment, Slash has taken the bull by the horns: rejecting celebrity collaborations (that while intriguing, offered, primarily, short term novelty) and committed to Miles Kennedy and the newly named and attributed Conspirators.
There are still some stumbling blocks (the songwriting isn’t quite up to scratch), but there is no denying that 2014’s World On Fire is the fully galvanized sound of one of the great guitarists rediscovering his mojo. Slash is engaged. His riffs speed by with no care for human safety as his solos twist, dart, needle and scorch a path few would dare to follow. Lightening pace is only one dimension: the top hatted axe man is content to sleazily stalk his prey, lurking silently in the shadows one second, and kicking up slabs of concrete the next.
Slash is exhilarating. In the last decade he’s been sporadically brilliant, but he hasn’t sounded this urgent, essential or fired up in eons. Slash, Miles Kennedy and The Conspirators might not be ready to release a true album of the year contender, but if his cohorts can keep pace (and if Slash stays wholly committed) he may not be far removed from a second phase of revolutionary virtuosity. Our fingers are crossed and – thanks to World On Fire – Guitar Planet has faith.
Enter Shikari renew their archly political assault while expanding their sonic horizons on The Mindsweep.
Brutish, brazen and ungodly satisfying, Royal Blood rode a barrage of chugging bass grooves all the way to the top of the charts in 2014.
Opeth may preach exclusively to the converted, but to overlook the Swedes’ staggeringly consistent brilliance is foolhardy.
Soothing and sorrow-laden in equal measure, Lost In The Dream by The War On Drugs left Guitar Planet speechless.
Guitar Planet has had a love/hate relationship with Slash since Velvet Revolver split, but it remains impossible to deny his freewheeling riffs and slippery solos.