The last full-length studio release we saw from Slash was 2018’s Living The Dream, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping himself busy. In between legs of the lengthy Not In This Lifetime reunion tour with Guns N’ Roses, he embarked on numerous solo dates with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, with Kennedy redirecting his attention afterwards with the release of Alter Bridge’s Walk The Sky and his second solo album The Ides of March. Eventually Slash, Kennedy and co. reconvened in the studio, and the simply-titled fifth Slash solo album 4 has finally arrived. It’s notably the first release on Gibson’s new record label, a logical honour to give to one of the most famed faces of their brand over the years. It begs the question as to which high-profile Gibsonite will be next to put out a record on the label, but back to this album, let’s not digress.
4 kicks off properly with the riffy, soaring opener “The River Is Rising”, chock-full of explosive-to-a-point “Double Talkin’ Jive” and “Perfect Crime” energy. “Whatever Gets You By” is more like an extended version of the solo section in “Rocket Queen” minus the orgasms while “C’est la vie” is a gut punch of talkbox-driven swagger. “The Path Less Followed” is a straight-forward rocker and “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” drips with old school rock and roll soul; from there we can place “Spirit Love” in a decently long line of vaguely Eastern snake-charmer riffs that have come before it (just an observation, not a knock). “Fill My World” lightens up the heaviness a bit before snapping back into action with “April Fool” and rocking out Illusion-style once more with “Call Off The Dogs.” Lastly there’s “Fall Back To Earth”, a quintessentially Slash track if there ever was one as he makes his Les Paul wail piercingly through a slow, climactic 6-and-a-half minutes of rises and falls, culminating in an explosive, yet not overblown end.
4 shows a Slash that is still in peak form and won’t be losing his powers any time soon; the same goes for Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. It’s an eclectic lineup that compliments Slash’s playing style perfectly, allowing his signature sound to age gracefully and remain appealing to countless rock guitarists. Whatever comes next- Slash has suggested a sequel to Chinese Democracy is in the works– or another solo record with the Conspirators or something we may not expect at all- as long as Slash keeps preserving his sound like this, there’ll always be people waiting for it.