on 5 July 2012
Scott Weiland's post-Purple-era recordings seem to inevitably mean his drug-weakened, slinky voice slithering (pun intended) around the mix, to usually good effect. However, in Libertad, the suitability of Scott Weiland in the heavy, 70's influenced section that is Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner is sometimes called into question. In direct contrast to their previous effort Contraband, Velvet Revolver's sound has seemed become tamer. Gone are the huge riff-driven songs like Dirty Little Thing and Slither, replaced by a much heavier emphasis on the vocal melodies. In fact, you would be hard pressed to remember the riffs on Libertad. If anything, Libertad sounds like an approximation of what Stone Temple Pilots would sound like if Dean DeLeo was replaced with Slash. 'She Mine', 'American Man' could have been lifted straight from No. 4, and 'Gravedancer' wouldn't sound out of place in Shangri-La-Dee-Da. Even the single 'She Builds Quick Machines' lacks the aggressive punch that 'Sucker Train Blues' threw at you.
Despite all my criticism, in no way am I suggesting that Libertad is a poor album. It has its moments - 'Just Sixteen' is a phenomenally groovy number with lyrics about forbidden/inappropriate love (although Weiland urges that 'We ain't got nothing to hide'), 'Get Out the Door' is an infectious middle-eastern inflected song that you'll find yourself humming for days, 'The Last Fight' is, in the bands' words 'something that they had never done before', a more somber song filled with reflective lyrics penned by Weiland: 'Time heals all of the burned out bridges filled with nothing but misery...' and a signature chiming hook from Slash (think the chorus line of Fall to Pieces). An interesting cover of ELO manifests itself in 'Can't get it out of my head' but it is ultimately forgettable save for two great solos by Slash. The lyrics of this album are much more coherent than the first album, which were a nightmare to sing along to simply because the vast majority of them made no sense at all, but in comparison to their first album Libertad simply seems like the volume, and intensity of Velvet Revolver has been firmly turned down. In my opinion a more pedestrian album than Contraband, Libertad simply lacks the bombastic riff-driven rock that most people expect from the lineup: Libertad is filled with well written songs filled with pretty melodies, but ultimately lacks something special.
on 8 July 2007
Overall i really like this album, theres not as many really top-notch songs as there is in contraband, but there are no poor ones either. Have to say slash is the reason im a guitarist, and is my guitar god, so i might be biased but heres a breakdown of all the songs. 0-2: is crap, 3-4: Ok, 5-6: Like it, 7-8: Really like it, 9-10: Love it!
1) Let it Roll - Great rocking start to the album, thought the solo could be ever so slightly better though, but im picky :) - 9/10
2) She Mine - Nice solid chunky riff - 6/10
3) Get out the door - 5/10
4) She Builds Quick Machines - Thought this tune was a bit light when i first heard it, now its my favourite tune on the album! Awesome solo! 10/10
5) The Last Fight - Think they were trying to have their 'fall to pieces' track here, its good but not great. 6/10
6) Pills Demons & etc - Cool funky wah-wah riffage. Cool solo, but rhythm section needs to be tad louder there 7/10
7) American Man - This along with mary mary is probably most mainstream stuff here 6/10
8) Mary Mary - See above 5/10
9) Just Sixteen - 50's esque rock, with not so 50's lyrics lol. Really cool 10/10
10) Can't get it out of my head - Quite chilled riff with top wah solo. 7/10
11) For a brother - Solid if unremarkable - 5/10
12) Spay - Probably the closest sound to contraband, cool unexpected slide guitar. 8/10
13) Gravedancer - Love this tune, strongest singing on entire album i think. Beautiful, up there with Loving the Alien. 10/10
14) Hidden track - Cool little country ditty 6/10
15) Psycho Killer - A cover track, weakest in my opinion, Still ok though 4/10.
I think theres a definate maturing to all the musicians on this album, a more textured sound, although i have some issues with the production. It's definatly more chilled out then Contraband. But not so much as e.g difference between RHCP's 'Blood sugar sex magic' to 'By the way'. Weilands voice is definatly stronger, and they all seem to gel better and have developed their own sound.
Overall 8/10. For comparison G'n'R's Appetite for Destruction (my fav album ever!) gets 9.5/10. So really good, doesn't quite scale the heights of greatness, but so much better than alot of other efforts. Think this and Bullets and Octane's -
In the mouth of the young are the two best hard rock albums out recently. Definatly Recommended.
on 2 July 2007
As a huge fan of Velvet Revolver I knew that this album was going to be a must have in my collection. Little did I know how good it was going to be. You can really hear the transition of VR becoming more established with this record. I really recomend this to any rock fan.
on 3 August 2007
I awaited in the utmost anticipation for Velvet Revolvers follow up album to contraband.
I picked up Contraband on its day of release (having always been a fan of Guns'N'Roses), to find out what I read about the latter days of GNR to be true. The fued between Axl and Slash really did compromise Slash's talent. the guitar riffs were truly stunning, and showed Slash in a completely different light in my opinion.
So when I read that Libertad was soon to be released, I was truly excited about listening to their new material.
the moment I put the album on and listened to the first 2 minutes of the first track, I knew this was going to be a fantastic follow up to Contraband.
There is not a single track on this album that I dislike and skip (which is rare on mosts bands albums nowadays). There is hard, heavy tracks and guitar riffs but also slower tracks such as 'The Last Fight' that help break the album up whilst still letting flow smoothly. This is reminiscent of the GNR albums with tracks such as 'Sweet Child O Mine' and 'November Rain' etc.
Upon first listening to Libertad, Scott Weilands voice will surprise and amaze you. Its almost as if Velvet Revolver have got a new lead singer. This just shows that no matter how good an album Contraband is, Weiland was still battling his drug addiction, which obviously affected his voice somewhat. Weilands voice on this album is now softer and more melodic, although he can still sing the hard rock tracks when demanded of him.
It is great to see an album of this calibre from some of the best musicians from the last 20 years, and I can only hope and look forward to a third album. Especially since Audioslave (one of the other bands that, in my opinion, have gone on to greater things since splitting from their original bands/lead singers) have now seperated and are very unlikely to regroup in the foreseeable future.
i shall certainly be listening to Libertad a severe lot whilst they are (hopefully, please, please) getting together and preparing a third album to take the world storm with.
on 1 March 2014
Having loved the first GnR album back in the day, I thought I'd check out Velvet Revolver. Ok, so I'm a bit late to the party.
I had the first VR album, contraband, and like most great music, it slowly grew on me.
Libertad is actually as good as Contraband, (second albums are a difficult thing, GnR being a case in point, the first was unbeatable).
Here the production is more refined than on Contraband, the sound is richer and has more depth, you can hear the sum of the parts more clearly, and I like that. Some 'heavy rock' acts like to give a really raw and what I would call flat white noise sound, but a bit of production quality makes the music that much more accessible for me.
The energy and playing are still there, I love the slash wah pedal solos, and I also love Scot's vocals. This production allows the Duff bass to make a good presence, and it all gels.
Shame that they are now sans singer, but there are still two great albums to listen to.
`Libertad' is the second album from Velvet Revolver and it has a much more coherent feel about it. The sound is refined, the riffs are more powerful and the band seem to have gelled more. Produced by the great Brendan O'Brien you already have an inkling about what this album will offer and from the opener `Let It Roll' you know you won't be disappointed. Slash plays better on this album and his distinctive sound is to the fore throughout and Scott Weiland sounds more polished and at ease than on `Contraband`. If you enjoyed their first album it's a safe bet you'll be impressed by this and if you found `Contraband' to be lacking then give this a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.
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Three years on from the rather turgid "Contraband", Guns'N'Pilots seem to have kicked themselves up the backside and produced a classic rock album. Opening with the riproaring, blink and you'll miss it "Let It Roll" races at a suckerpunch pace - a roaring scream of guitars that pins you to the back wall by the scruff of the neck and never lets go.
Unlike "Contraband"s rushed -three-weeks-and-rehab vocals, "Libertad" stands up to scrutiny. The previous albums weak points, the rushed and nonsensical lyrics, the pedestrian vocal melodies that were added after the music was complete, are thankfully missing here. In "Libertad" Weiland works with the band to shape the songs. As a result this record doesn't sound like two different bands playing at once, but one cohesive hard rock outfit that is utterly contemporary. Not bad for grizzled rock veterans approaching their 25th anniversary in the Metal Wasteland.
Also, thankfully dispensed are the Jovi-lite dull ballads. Libertad pounds away like a jackhammer, propelled by an articulate and unstoppable musical fury. The one mis-step is a cover of ELO's "Can't Get It Out of My Head" - sadly a pedestrian lowpoint on the record.. Whilst comparison to GNR are unavoidable, VR are clearly now moving into their own arena and their own musical identity. In terms of musical progression, there's little new in the palette that wasn't there in 1987 back when "Appetite For Destruction" came out - whereas Axl's new look GNR tinker endlessly with "Chinese Democracy" (the songs of which have been heard are fascinating) - but VR have created a unique identity and moved forward to continue creating material and forging forward a new artistic vision. In comparison to the debut, "Libertad" is leap years ahead and significantly more interesting. Aside from the occasional lapse into Rock Cliché ("Gravedancer" and the ELO track), "Libertad" is a fine rock record and a record far better than any bunch of long-in-the-tooth forty something metallers should produce
on 19 May 2012
I've got to be honest and say that when I first heard this album I thought it wasn't up to scratch, not what I expected and that left me a little dissapointed. But... then I listened to it again and... wow. It is so much better than I remember!.. catchy riff's and cool chourus' that stick in your head. I love velvet revolver now, and moreover this album.
But GNR are still my top band but slashs new start is great, Im happy he got something! But now hes moved on into Slash 'rnf'nr' and his new album 'apocoloptic love'...
But yeah, this album is really good, 8(n a half)/10 :)
on 3 July 2007
If I wasn't a massive fan of Guns N' Roses, and Slash in particular, I would probably have never had the chance to hear this bands two albums.
I've never heard one of their songs played on the radio, and other than the excellent "Slither" (the first single from the first album), their videos are rarely seen on the various satellite television music channels.
This is a travesty, as this, and their previous album "Contraband," are both fine examples of what Rock music is supposed to be, with none of the identical nonsense that all of the "Rock" bands that are in the charts today put out.
The most notable songs from the album are, in my opinion, the first single, "She Builds Quick Machines," "Let It Roll," which is a short but to the point introduction to the bands brilliance, "The Last Fight," "American Man," and "Gravedancer," which has an excellent solo from Slash.
Forget what Axl Rose is doing at the moment with the ever delayed "Chinese Democracy," as this is the closest thing you'll get to seeing Guns N' Roses back at their best.
on 7 July 2007
Ok, basically all/most of the songs on this album are pretty good, but (and it's all downhill from here) essentially, I'm finding it pretty hard to actually get at any of them because they are shielded by this ridiculous overamped/distorted production. It sounds pre-clipped to me, which is unforgivable really. It's just really poor production made for the ipod generation I think. So frustrating, because there are some really good riffs that makes you want to turn it up as loud as possible but you are instantly left regretting it as it just gets messy and so harsh. My favourite album for a long time is Iron Maiden, A Matter of Life and Death which they decided not to use the master for. Having heard this, I am eternally grateful because in contrast, this sounds like it's been mastered badly about 10 times on top of each other. It seems like when you turn it up the only thing that gets louder is the tinniness and the distortion, and the music is left behind. I am finding the louder I make it, the harder it is to listen to. Tbh i dont see why velvet revolver are using sony - bmg - rca (talk about dissolving responsibility) who frankly dont seem to know what they are doing. It sounds like a rock album produced by people used to dealing with pop groups.
Decent album though, which is why it's so frustrating.
(I'd give this probably 4 stars if not for the production, so if you arent listening on even a low end hifi you should probably take this as a glowing review as you may not notice the iffy production.)
I buy few modern albums though, so i will struggle on with it, and would still say it's worth buying.
 Yeah, turns out I never really did get into this album. The production didnt help and there was nothing super-amazing that kept me trying so I guess I gave up on it. I don't listen to it much any more. Not really surprised they split up. Still, could be worse - could be death magnetic.