Friday, February 12, 2010

Heavy Band 001: Guns 'N' Roses

I'm going to start trying to post a blog on every Saturday about a Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Band.

The first band that I've chosen to feature is Guns N Roses. Once I started listening to GNR I realized that I could never listen to Bon Jovi again. I saw the commercial for 1988's Dirty Hairy: Dead Pool. It featured GNR's Welcome to the Jungle, one of the heaviest songs of all time. I purchased the album Appetite for Destruction soon after. It's So Easy has perhaps the hardest rocking intro of any songs on the album. The intro is reminiscent of Judas Priest's intro to Rapid Fire with it's driving guitar section. Mister Brownstone is just an awesome track with the raunch of Nazareth (aside from Love Hurts). Far from Nirvana being the end of Hair/Butt Metal, this album made savage wounds that allowed Nevermind to make the killing shot.
Though GNR constantly changed lineups, even in the old days, I cannot bring myself to listen to Axl's new incarnations of what was an awesome band. I like GNR best when Slash, Izzy, and Duff were in the line up.

GNR followed up the huge success that was with Appetite for Destruction with GN'R Lies. The first half of GN'R Lies consisted of a live EP that was released prior to Appetite for Destruction. The album opens with the speedy, driven Reckless Life. Reckless Life is the seminal song for early GNR, showing influences of Aerosmith. This influence is also seen in their cover of Mama Kin on the end of the first side. The second side of the album begins with the acoustic ballad Patience, and ended with perhaps GNR's most controversial song of all time. One in a Million offends so many people with it's xenophobic, racist, and homophobic lyrics. Axl Rose insisted that the song was to be taken ironically, and that he wrote it because of anger that he felt towards specific individuals.
GNR followed Lies with the ambitious double album Use Your Illusion parts 1&2. These albums showed much more blues influence, as is seen in the tracks Dust N' Bones, Shotgun Blues, 14 Years, and Bad Obsession. The album also shows folk music influences on the songs You Ain't the First and Civil War. These albums have the most eclectic sound of any of GNR's, with songs that could be played in a smoky bar, and others that you could only see being played in a packed stadium.
The final GNR album with the classic lineup was The Spaghetti Incident, an album of all cover songs that shows many of their influences. The genres covered on the album include punk, raunchy hard rock, hardcore, glam rock, and even a tune by Charles Manson.
After The Spaghetti Incident, the classic lineup fell apart. Axl Rose took 15 years to write Chinese Democracy, with an indistinguishable band. Most of the other band members united with Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots to form Velvet Revolver. Though all parts make decent music, they have yet to make music that captures the same kind of energy that they were able to capture in the late '80s and early '90s.

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Heavy Metal Yogi by Nick Matthaes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.