One of the most eagerly awaited album releases of 2014 has to be the new album by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. Entitled “World on Fire”, would it eclipse the highly acclaimed “Apocalyptic Love”?
The answer is both yes and no.
No, in the fact that it isn’t trying to. “World on Fire” sees SMK&C come together as a band rather than being Slash, solo artiste, with some very talented back up musicians.Adding to the band feel, it is nice to note that bassist Todd Kerns gets a writing credit alongside Slash and Myles.
So to the “yes” answer….
This record is a coming of age epic. At 17 tracks long, running to some 77 minutes, it’s a lengthy bold musical statement.
Throughout the record the classic Slash trademark riff heavy, sleazy, dirty, sexy, RnFnR is omnipresent. His solos are as breath-taking as ever but, perhaps for the first time, the main man has met his musical equal in the vocal talent and versatility shown by Myles Kennedy. Canadian duo, Brent Fitz and Todd Kerns, provide the engine room of this band and their solid performances throughout “World on Fire” keep the fires blazing.
There’s too many tracks to critique them all individually but the highlights for me personally are”30 Years To Life”, reminiscent from the start to “Paradise City”. It tells a tale of murder and regret. Slash himself is quoted as saying, “Honestly, that’s one of my favourite songs on the record.” Another highlight is “Beneath The Savage Sun”, a passionate song about elephant poaching. Love the drumming on this and the bass riff.
There are no true ballads on “World on Fire” however one of the slower tracks, “Bent To Fly” comes close. This beautiful song has already proved that it translates well into an acoustic number as Slash and Myles have demonstrated on numerous recent radio appearances. It’s a coming of age tale and its strong chorus is bound to prove a huge hit with live audiences.
Weak spot, if there is one, is perhaps “Safari Inn”, the record’s only instrumental track. It’s a tad self-indulgent and a bit dreary but, because of who he is and the admiration he commands from all, Slash can be quickly forgiven here.
Star of the show is the final track, “The Unholy.” This is a truly epic song and is bound to become a classic of its time. The lyrics tackle a dark emotive subject described by Myles Kennedy as being “about the cases that have come out recently about all the priests who have basically gotten busted for what they did to young boys.” Deep and dark, Myles vocal performance masters the sinister edge to this one. An enormous and stunning climax to the record.
“World on Fire” is a huge album to wholly appreciate in only a few plays. It’s a grower. As the fire kindles, more sparks of genius emerge with each play and once that fire is blazing only then you can fully appreciate the scale of the musical genius on display here by all musicians involved.