22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2004
i'm a huge fan of guns n' roses to start with. But as from today i'm officialy a bigger fan of velvet revolver. I've been listening to contraband for the past week on MTV's official website and its simply an amazing rock album. It kicks off with the punky "sucker train blues" which has a catchy bassline intro that'll stick deep into your head. The first 5 songs will rock you to the bone but then suddenly this down-spiralling riff from slash invites you to share what I think will be the song to catch everybodys attention to this band. With the name "Fall to Pieces" this is a beatiful power ballad that has a another catchy chorus and amazing guitar solo. This isn't the only ballad on the album, there's 3 in total. The other 2 are amazing too, with really strong lyrics and beautiful melodies. Other hard rockers include "Dirty Little Thing" (with a speedy solo) and "Slither" (this is probably the best heavy one on the album). If your sick of buying albums with 1 or 2 good songs, then the rest are crap... then fork out the cash for this one because believe me this doesn't fail to deliver!! There's at least 11 strong tracks on this album. Definately worth every penny!
P.S i forgot to mention the track "Loving the Aliens" very emotional track, really really good song
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2005
Firstly, Contraband is an excellent album. Despite the group being made up of several ex-Guns N' Roses members, the sound is refreshingly modern rock. Excellent tracks on the album include Slither, Sucker Train Blues, You Got No Right, Fall To Pieces... the list goes on. In fact, the only track I'm not fond of is Loving the Alien - it's very slow in contrast to the rest of the album.
However, if you're looking at the import version, the chances are you already own Contraband and are looking for something extra for your collection. The three bonus tracks Surrender, No More No More and Negative Creep are all quite good. Not a patch on the rest of the Contraband album, but worthwhile having. They are all covers of other band's music (for instance, No More No More was originally recorded by Aerosmith) but Velvet Revolver have put their own take on it. Best track is probably Surrender, but if you're in the mood for a heavy, driving metal song, Negative Creep is the one! One small disadvantage is that the UK Bonus Track, Bodies, is not present on this album. I know, it's an import, but Bodies is a good song.
The videos are pretty much as you'd expect - not particularly high quality and they're just the Music Videos for Slither and Fall To Pieces. A "behind the scenes look" would have been nice, but of course they're limited to one CD.
The major advantage to this release, however, is the lack of BMG Copy Protection that's on the UK and European versions of Contraband. This means that you can listen to the CD on your PC or Mac, and it's not got those annoying "sparks" of sound. It's also possible to import the music to your MP3 player, so if that's what you're after then this is an excellent CD to buy.
In summary: Great CD1, CD2 is ok but worth having if you're a collector, and both CDs are an improvement if you find the BMG Copy Control restrictive.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2007
due to the similarity between the members of VR and Guns & Roses, the comparison is inevitable. Standing along side Appetite for Destruction, this album does occasionally struggle, but what is surprising is how little GNR's masterpiece outshines VR's debut - and in some ways VR overshadow GNR.
Appetite's greatest asset was its raw aggression and the co-ordinated mayhem of a dysfunctional bunch of kids in a band who could just about hold it together long enough to finish the tracks. This chaos contributed to the near-perfection of that album, which no-one has bettered before or since. However, 'real' GNR are long gone.
Enter: Velvet Revolver from the wreckage of GNR and Stone Temple Pilots, and what you get is an inflammable mix of riffs, screaming, aggression and Slash-nesh which makes the jaw drop. This is not a tired bunch of 40yr-olds trying to re-live their glory days. This sounds like a new band. And, praise be. It's good. Very good.
This album is about as riff-filled as one could hope for. The tracks "Slither", "Set Me Free", "Superhuman" and "Suckertrain Blues" hit hard with vintage Slash riffs, and some cool solo-ing. Scott Weiland is a fantastic counterfoil to all the GNR-ness - his voice is snarly, angry, and screwed up for the loud bits, but clear end edgy when it needs to be for the quieter moments.
The GNR rhythm section is here, and they are as lean, tight and powerful as ever. Louder, certainly, and probably crisper too. There are some complex rhythms on here - and the guys make it sound easy. "Slither" is probably my favourite here - it slams in, and grinds into a totally infectious riff with a chorus that opens up into something quite special. GNR never sounded this good. Had a cool dungeon-based video if I remember too...
What also stands out is how VR manage to shift gear into 'power-ballad' mode, but still retaining their edge. the two 'ballads' here "Fall To Pieces", which was a single, and "Loving The Alien" are fabulous. FTP is a more traditional power-style ballad, but it's got that cool guitar 'complete' sound which sets it apart from lesser bands. LTA ,which is almost entirely acoustic is just simply beautiful - acoustic that is until Slash cranks up and comes in with a ridiculously good laid-back bluesy November-Rain style solo. Utterly stunning.
Production is fabulous - and detailing is wonderful. Across the album, the balance is right - Slash is clearly prominent (and playing out of his skin, rather than out of his head), and the interplay between his guitar and Scott's voice works amazingly well. Matt and duff drive the album forward with precision and grit - and the effect of all this is just awesome. Repeated listens reveal new riffs and licks that make this more special. The controlled chaos is in the detail - it's still there, but now it sounds properly screwed together.
Indeed however you describe them, Velvet Revolver show us what GNR should have become - and hopefully won't stop with this album.
Roll on Libertad, 2 July 2007.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2004
I approached this album with some excitement as I'm a big, big Slash and G n' R fan. With the addition of Scott Weiland I thought it was a breath of fresh air and a new angle and, if you ask me, quite ironic. Stone Temple Pilots are very similar to bands such as Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana and it is this kind of music which eventually signalled the demise of Guns n Roses so it was a strange choice to pick Scott but I think an interesting one. The album kicks off as it means to go on. A thick, ugly bass line that kicks into a classic Slash riff and you're already jumping around your car, living room, whatever! Weilands vocals complement each and every song perfectly and he gets his chance to test his range on 'Fall To Pieces' a slow ballad and - no doubt- a live set resting point for the band! The lyrics are surprisingly anti-drug considering the majority of the bands' history and for me 'Headspace' is another high point on the album. And then we come to the first single, 'Slither', which sums up Weilands' stage performance perfectly! He is a human snake. Matt Sorums' snare drum is only a brief intro to Duffs' bass and riffing of Dave Kushner and the legendary Slash as the song rips through you like a scythe and delivers another classic rock n'roll anthem. The solo is awesome and you're left with another three songs with which to chill out and recover! So is it like Guns? With the musical core of the band present, it's hard not to sound like them. But with the addition of a different style singer in Scott Weiland it takes them to another dimension. They may all have cleaned up their act with drink and drugs but they most definitely have not cleaned up their music. Dirty, melodic and pumping. Just buy it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2004
Just thought it was worth contributing at least one review that doesn't compare VR to GNR. Why everyone insists on doing so is beyond me. This is a different band, a different century, a different singer, a different vibe, a different band lyrically and they have moved on. You should do the same.
The first few songs on Contraband rock. Without fail they have the huge riffs that Slash has become famous for and catchy choruses courtesy of the criminally underrated Scott Weiland. Big Machine is where this record really comes alive for me, and shows that this band will not be brushed off lightly. The curious stop-start riff takes a few listens to get your head around, but it really works and is the first indication that there is enough invention and creativity here to span a few albums.
First lighters-in-the-air moment is Fall to Pieces. If Slash and co. were a bit more coffee-table friendly I'd be calling it a number 1 record. It's a good enough song, but it's commerciality sits slightly at odds with some of the other tracks, which have a bit more depth to them. For a more emotional ballad you should listen to Loving the Alien, which is absolutely ace. It builds and builds, but is always understated, leaving you wanting more at the end of it.
Headspace and Superhuman are two of the standout tracks on the record, in my opinion. The former has got a great riff, is instantly catchy and does a great job of starting the second half of the album. Superhuman is weird. Not on the surface, but the more you listen to it, the weirder it gets. A fantastically twisted guitar line, a number of different sections and several changes of tempo, and it still manages to have a strong melody.
This record doesn't die quietly either. The two obvious singles (Set Me Free and Slither) are both towards the end of the album. Slither in particular is brilliant. It has THAT riff, a fantastic solo and a great melody... What more does a song need? Set Me Free also has the same winning formula, albeit with a slightly less manic solo, but an equally big chorus.
Overall this is a great rock record. Most of the tracks involve the same basic recipe (a big riff, a big chorus, pentatonic solo, repeat to fade), but this is rescued from boredom by a) the songwriting, which means you are happy to hear the same formula applied several times, and b) the odd bit of strangeness, which spices it all up a bit and keeps you guessing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2004
having heard all the tracks, thanks to internet radio i can say that this album is amazing.
slither and set me free have both been available for a while now if you looked hard enough. both are amazing tracks.
sucker train blues was recently played on radio one, and has a strong riff and an amazing slash solo as you would expect.
do it for the kids is my personal favourite song on the album, it has a great deal of energy about it,allthough there is no solo.
big machine would be a good choice for a single in my opinion
the only version of illegal I, I have heard was poor quality so it is hard to judge the song from that.
specticle has some nice guitar licks which work well within the song.
fall to pieces (the second single) is a brilliant ballad written by scott just after he kicked the drugs and also during the break up with his wife (they are now back together). the lyrics are meaningful and the song is pure quality
headspace the same as illegal I the only version i have heard are poor quality, so i wont make judgement on the song.
you got no right, this song was first performed in 2003 and is brilliant, slash takes an amazing solo in this song.
super human, is my least favourite song on the album
loving the alien (sometimes) is another brilliant ballad, and another good choice for a single,
the UK version of contraband is supposed to have a bonus track which as far as i know is a cover of the sex pistols song bodies.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2005
finally a band to over take guns n roses this albums surges hard through your speakers and keeps on going. This band is so refreshing with its pure dirty sound i cant get tired of hearing them .There cover of no more no more is spectacular really good solo on it .I have to take my hats of to slash and co ( my reason for picking this album up in the first place). Even the variety of songs shows the potential for growth of the band , in your face rock n roll like slither to awe inspiring power ballads like fall to peices . Cant wait untill the follow up album . Also i seen them play live at the secc on june the 9th and they were immense keep on goin lads you will save the soul of rock and roll and blow away the pretenders with your no nononsense uncompromising f*ck off attitude and powerfull songs
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2004
I ordered this album as soon as I heard about it, and when I opened it on the day of its arrival I have to say I was a touch disappointed. However, I listened to it a few times, and found myself liking it more and more with each turn, it's not GnR, and it's not STP, people looking for another incarnation of those bands are bound to be disappointed. It's a slightly punky offering from a supergroup who have put the stuff they already released behind them. Don't buy it because you like Slash, or Scott Weiland, the whole point is that they're doing something different, just listen to it as a new offering from a new band (which it is), hold no preconceived notions about it, and you'll realise what a masterpiece it is.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2004
Audioslave set the recent benchmark for what could be achieved by taking a singer from one late, great rock band (although Stone Temple Pilots were never in the same league as Guns N Roses, or, with regard to Audioslave, Soundgarden) and the guitarists and drummers from another seminal rock band.
Perfectly timed to steal the thunder from the inadequate GNR best of, Contraband fulfils all the promise the line up offered. Full of huge guitar licks and memorable solos (well, if Slash couldn't still leave an imprint on an album, who could?) and with Scott Weiland's voice providing an edge of authentic 'rock' - all deep throaty venom, but capable too (on Fall to Pieces for example) of a satisfying change of pace - Velvet Revolver prove that some bands can indeed match the hype.
As has been said, basically if you love Slither, then this is the album for you.
Good to see Weiland actually making headlines for music and not for failed rehab attempts / arrests too. Seeing his skeletal frame gyrate around in the Slither video shows that 'heavy' rock's own Mick Jagger - check the hip wiggling! - is back on that ball.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2004
I have to say, with all the press that VR have recieved over the last year it is incredable that they can put out this record...
Everyone expects... so many people have spoken like this is the record that should've come out after Illusions 1 & 2... but that was like 10 years ago...
I think that this record is really good, no excellent.. and it just goes to show that low down dirty rock and roll always wins... bands, pop acts and rock star wannabies (busted must die!!!) come and go, but at the end of the day you can allways tell when its Slash cutting up the fret board...
The stand out tracks for me have to be Slither, Sucker Train Blues and Fall to Pieces... I actually can't stop hitting the replay button on Fall to Pieces, it just gives you the shivers down the back of your neck just like Sweet Child O' Mine...
All in all, this is a must buy for anyone into Rock and Roll... buy it and enjoy it for what it is.. just don't buy into the media hype...