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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But I Don't Really Like Guns N' Roses!
I have to say that, apart from one or two tracks, I've not really been much of an admirer of GNR - however, for my birthday, my eldest son purchased a copy of Black Ice for me - which, unfortunately (for him!) I had already got in my collection - so he said he'd go and get me a surprise.....and came back with a copy of Chinese Democracy. Well, I have to say that it took...
Published on 13 Dec 2008 by J. M. Green

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs some dedicated listening, but .....
Needs some dedicated listening time but, if you do put in the effort, its well worth it. As Ive read from a number of other "punters", this album really does just get better and better. It certainly is complicated with parts of some tracks sounding a bit of a mess quite frankly on first listen but, when you really concentrate on giving it your full attention, those...
Published on 10 Dec 2008 by Spike the Lionfish


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But I Don't Really Like Guns N' Roses!, 13 Dec 2008
By 
J. M. Green "john94682" (Sutton Coldfield) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
I have to say that, apart from one or two tracks, I've not really been much of an admirer of GNR - however, for my birthday, my eldest son purchased a copy of Black Ice for me - which, unfortunately (for him!) I had already got in my collection - so he said he'd go and get me a surprise.....and came back with a copy of Chinese Democracy. Well, I have to say that it took me a couple of days before I actually gave it access to my car CD player and then when I did give it a spin, the first and second tracks went by, with me just thinking that I knew why I was never really that much enamoured by this band - But then "Better" started up, grabbing me by the throat demanding my undivided attention - great riffs, voice box mashing vocals and some really stunning guitar soloing - this was something completely different, and most unexpected. I played this track a couple of more times and then went on to complete the album and, I have to say that I had more than a grin on my face.....this album truly ROCKS!!
I have since given this album a great deal of listening time as "background noise" and also with a set of cans on and I am now even more impressed with this strong and complicated album which is capable of being "dived" into at any level because it covers all the facets that an excellent rock, or indeed, any type of album should serve up....be it fast paced raucous rock or just plain beautiful ballads, technically brilliant musicianship or just simple melodies, this album delivers it all!
The real test of course will be how long the follow up will be in the making and will it ever be able to eclipse this truly brilliant album....
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185 of 197 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A realistic and honest review - I hope!, 27 Nov 2008
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Right first off I'm going to put aside all the stuff about the nonsense and millions that went into making this album as it serves no purpose and detracts from the music - yes it happened - yes Axl Rose is a bit mental and has gone OTT, but what's new? If we put such a high mantle on our artists and musician then mental is what you get, people. If I had to like every man behind every piece of music before I could enjoy their respective tunes I would have a very small CD collection indeed, so onwards and upwards.
Now then, here is my, hopefully, not overly long, down and dirty, review of Chinese Democracy in a cheeky little list format that I hope won't take up too much of your time with pretentious musings. (Please note I am not reviewing for NME who seem to think every piece of indie tosh that heads their way is a `masterpiece' and `totally astonishing` - I am assuming everyone who reads this will be from camp realism.)

PROS -
- The vocals are top notch and harken back to the days of yore when I used to launch myself around my bedroom as a rebellious teen shouting the lyrics to get in the ring (when my parents where well out of earshot of course - rebellious, yeah - starting a rebellion, not so much.) There are even some points here where I think the vocals definately surpass what has passed. Bonus.
- The riffage and solos on offer within are some of the finest I've taken in in a good long while - sure Slash is a brilliant guitarist but there are other equally brilliant guitarists out there, and I'd say quite a few of them have racked up points on this album.
- There are a vast range of styles and ideas from track to track and as the album moves on you are constantly passed from pillar to post in terms of what you're hearing. A tune for every occasion.Nice and challenging and a definate continuation of where use your illusion was headed me thinks.
- The production is obviously high and although some will see this as yet more proof of the excess that went into creating the album lets get real and remember the days of 'November rain'. What it really adds up to is a clear definition of all the elements in every track. Everything is big, bold and in it's proper place - If I wanted anything else I would go and listen to the grisly, lo-fi, sounds of some early Mayhem. It's a big rock album that wanders into the epic at times; as have it's predecessors.
- This album made me dig out all my other GnR stuff and I've realised just how good they really are - I mean I always knew they where good but I had a feeling that all the swearing (something which is kept to a minimum here) and attitude may have buffed them up in my teenage mind and left me with grander impressions than what was really on offer. However, this is not the case - they are very good albums so they'll be spinning in my player for a few months to come along with this new welcome addition.

CONS -
- Why did this have to be a GnR album? I mean the band could have gone under any other name and just pushed the `Featuring Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses' element - e.g. Velvet Revolver. Maybe it's just nit picking but I can't help but feel that if he'd have just started a new band and wiped the slate clean we wouldn't be getting the hardcore fan boys (you know those guys who have GnR tattoo's and can't get over it - oh dear) whining about how it's not enough like Appetite for Destruction - let's face it nothing will be like that, it's a top album and very hard to beat.
- The back of the booklet features the most hefty thanks and musicians list I've ever laid my eyes on, and although I'm trying to dodge the whole back story to the creation of this monster 6 pages at the back of the booklet kind of rams it down your throat. All that's just more nit picking though, which is fortunately the only kind of thing I can add to my cons list, huzzah!

CONCLUSION -
A top rock album - one of the best I've heard for a long time and expect to hear for a long time to come. Don't think of the time it's been lined up for, don't compare it to anything else, just take it, as you should with all things, as it comes and for what it is - an album with some familiar and unfamiliar sounds by some familiar and unfamiliar people, and if you do that I think you'll find it's pretty sweet.
P.S. I didn't give it five stars because five star things are few and far between in life - so, no, it's not five star perfection but it's pretty close. Also my review was overly long, sorry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smoulderingly brilliant in a lot of places., 9 Dec 2008
By 
Paul Larkin (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
I have to admit that my first listen of this album on MySpace was conducted in something of a daze. Having waited eagerly for so many years, and having deliberately avoided the leaked bootleg tracks - to actually hear the new material felt surreal and rather overwhelming. But I've now spent much of the weekend listening to it in its full glory, it is sinking in, and I'm coming to the conclusion that there are some extremely good tracks on here.

From the back catalogue, I personally prefer the slower, pompous tunes like Heaven's Door, Estranged, November Rain, Don't Cry etc, which I feel really showcase Axl's immense songwriting (alright I know he didn't write KOHD) and singing talent, and his ability to drench a song in emotion. Alright they can be a bit cheesy and perhaps even venture into guilty pleasure territory, but I've always loved the way these big bluesy tunes get my emotional juices going. There's loads of this kind of stuff on Chinese Democracy, so fellow fans of the slower stuff will probably be really pleased. The run of tracks 4 (Street of Dreams), 5 (If the World), 6 (There was a Time) & 7 (Catcher in the Rye) are all fairly grandiose numbers featuring beautiful lyrics and deep and rich arrangements, as is the superb Madagascar at 12, and track 13 (This I Love) is Axl at his most sensitive and emotive, featuring some really beautiful lyrics. This track seems to epitomise the poetic and sensitive side of the egomaniacal enigma that is Axl, and leads me to believe that alongside the hubris there is a guy with a long-ago broken heart that will not heal, no matter how much he bares it to us.

I am slightly disappointed with some of the rockier tracks on the album. I love IRS and Better, but I felt that Riad N' The Bedouins and Scraped, though interesting and different, do not really work. The title track and Shackler's Revenge also fall a little short for me, though they still have their moments and are still pretty good. Even the tracks I'm not too keen on feature moments of anthemic beauty, something which Axl has such a knack for.

Not much to say about the vocals: He's totally still got it and the performances are consistently excellent. Let's face it - no-one sounds like Axl. His outro "Ah-ah-ah..ing" on Street of Dreams is an absolute joy. That's my favourite track, hands down. The vocal melodies throughout the album are incredibly strong and very catchy - I just can't get these tunes out of my head.

In terms of the guitarists: whilst everyone would probably agree that Izzy and Slash were toweringly excellent and could never be fully replaced, the guitar work on this album is top notch, even though it is a bit of a hotchpotch of different players. Solos abound, often running alongside verses and choruses, and particularly awesome is the monster in There was a Time (which I believe is shared between Finck and Buckethead!), plus there's quite original rhythm stuff going on in tracks like If the World and Catcher in the Rye, and the overall guitar sound is hard, full, bluesy, funky, and more.

In summary, this contains some absolutely excellent tracks, and is a rich, complex, original and slick record, but is perhaps let down by a few of the quicker numbers which lack the brilliance of past work. You won't find much to rival the Appetite stuff, but if you love the Illusion records, chances are you'll love this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open your mind and be pleasantly surprised, 5 Dec 2008
By 
Mr. Arm Lawson "lawson1138" (Midlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Ok - first things first - a Gn'R album this ain't. It's The Axl Rose freakshow for the 21st Century, and trading in on THAT name is pushing things a bit to far for comfort....and yet somehow....

Somehow, the whold thing works. I approached this with a great dollop of scepticism. After all, this was the band that I'd loved since hearing them on Tommy Vance's (RIP) Friday Rock Show just before they played Donnington '88. I was hooked the moment I heard the opening riff of Mr. Brownstone and continued to enjoy the melodrama until the early 90's. They never did things by halves, even then. Acoustic album with racist overtones? Check! Releasing 2 double albums simultaneously? Check! Never being sure if they'd turn up to the gig you'd paid your hard earned cash for? Check! Ah, those were the days. And then everything went pear shaped, original band members dropped off the radar one by one until things fizzled out, and nobody was interested in Axl's demands, extreme ego and diminishing genius...

Fast-forward 17yrs (if we ignore the curiousity that was "The Spaghetti Incident") and what do we find?

We discover, quite unexpectedly, that Axl and his hired hands have created a rather fantastic collection of modern day rock classics. Forget what all the critics have said. This is a truly amazing rock album! It doesn't sound like Gn'R - but what did you expect? People change and styles evolve - deal with it! Remember the final track on "Use Your Illusion II" ? If Gn'R had continued as they were back in the 90's, they would've started to move away from 'traditional' rock songs and stuctures anyway. It's just taken a little longer than anyone expected....

That's not to say "Chinese Democracy" is perfect. It's not. It's overlong, over-produced and over-hyped. But you'll not hear anything like it right now. And Axl has never sounded better. But then, ProTools is an amazing invention....

To finish off this review (and thanks for reading this far - you're a patient browser!) - all I can say is that I've listened to this CD now pretty much continually for a fortnight. In this day and age, when we are bombarded with music that is available just about anywhere and anytime, how many of us can say that we give new music a chance to get under our skin and let it submerge itself within our inner rock consciousness? I can't remember the last time I felt so compelled by an album to press play again and again. Actually, yes I can - it was back in 1988, on a Sony Walkman (remember those?) and the tape was "Appetite For Destruction".

Spread the word....they're back. Well, Axl is anyway!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs some dedicated listening, but ....., 10 Dec 2008
By 
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Needs some dedicated listening time but, if you do put in the effort, its well worth it. As Ive read from a number of other "punters", this album really does just get better and better. It certainly is complicated with parts of some tracks sounding a bit of a mess quite frankly on first listen but, when you really concentrate on giving it your full attention, those messy bits become incredibly intricate and so, so clever. In my opinion, Prostitute (the first track) is absolutely outstanding in the "clever melodic changes" department. I defy you not to be swallowed whole by it by the 6th or 7th time. Be patient .... all good things come to those who wait (and considering we've all waited for 15 years, it really is pretty darn good). Still getting to grips with the latter part of the album but Im sure that this too will grow on me with time.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the critics - its brilliant!, 6 Dec 2008
By 
Alli "abanasta1" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Like everyone else, I've waited a long time for the release of Chinese Democracy and on first listen, I was very disappointed. But then I remembered how I needed to listen to Appetite more than once to get into it, and I feel its the case with this album. The more I listen to it, the better it gets and the standout tracks for me are the four concurrent tracks starting from 'Better'.

Is it a masterpiece? Only time will tell, but in my opinion, its close and Chinese Democracy is the most interesting album I've bought in a long time (apart from Muse's 'Black Holes & Revelations'). I now can't stop playing it. Yes, I think we all wished Slash could be on this production, but let's not dismiss the guitarists who are - they are all superb and deserve recognition for their talents, and maybe if the old band members had been involved, the album would never have seen the light of day. Axl Rose is a genius and his voice is amazing. It takes you back to your school days, but at the same time it's new, modern and totally different from anything else out there in the bland production of today's music. Perfection for me would be for Axl to ditch the corn rows and goatie, start promoting this album, and give us a world tour worth waiting for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last An INTERESTING Album, 14 Dec 2008
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Alice Cooper once commented it "doesn't take an age to complete an album" - to Axl he said. This is true but for all I respect and admire the gentleman monstrosity, Alice is that combo of write/tour/radio show/write/tour/radio show...Golf! This isn't how everyone approaches music everbody is individual and his albums are getting muddier all the time - this isn't.

Axl is a hard nut to crack (take that anyway you want), nobody seems to really know him and maybe that's how he wants it to stay. The closest anybody will get to him is through his songs.

Here's a quick dash through Chinese Democracy: The title track will definitely be the opener of any show, the stop and start of the guitar is made for screams of adoration. A typical Axl lyrical assault on the Chinese government, good start - one of the rockier songs. BETTER has fantastic vocals as do all the songs but on this song in particular Axl's cadences are perfectly displayed. CATCHER IN THE RYE I love this song again the lyrics and that voice are remakable. There are touches of Nine Inch Nails, the old Gunners and strangely Elton John(!?) and it works! This, as has already been stated by others is Axl's solo album, he has some great musicians especially the guitarist 'Bumblefoot' who is reminiscent of Derek Frigo (R.I.P - go look him and Enuff Z'Nuff up) sounds like he's using the Ibanez/Marshall combination for that beautiful looping guitar sound.

It isn't anything like Appetite... but if it was it would only be a cop out and a waste of time, Appetite... fit it's era it wouldn't be relevant for a man in his forties (Motley Crue!!!) to be writing about individual rebellion. Chinese Democracy is more about social rebellion and that fits these turbulent times. If you can believe the rumour factory there are another two albums on the way before 2012 - let's hope so!

(John Hutton in issue 127 of Classic Rock Magazine - the sometimes brilliant publication sums the album up completely)Appetite For Destruction
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guns 'N' Roses Back In Style & Substance, 22 Dec 2008
By 
J. R. Channing "madshadows" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
"It was a long time for you, It was a long time for me" but was it worth the wait for after all these years?? - All I can say "Oh My God" yes !!

Chinese Democracy is an electric and eclectic collection of awesome songs with stunning lyrics and brilliant performances by all the musicians involved, great playing, fantastic singing (Some of Axl Roses best ever IMHO), excellent production, great CD booklet with lyrics and band pics.

The 14 songs on the CD range from Heavy Rock to Ballads and everything in-between that you can imagine or want and the song lyrics convey an endless amount of emotion, Love, Hate, Despair, Hope, Anger and more and Axl sings them as though his life depends on them and at times in the last 14 years it probably did.

Axl Rose is undoubtedly a complicated person but aren't we all?? (That's the human condition!!) and I don't care how long it took - I'm just glad it's finally here and that's it's as good as I hoped and dared for - I f&@king love it !!

So to sum up is it worth getting?, I'd say a resounding "Yes", buy it, listen to it and prepare to be blown away and awed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget all the Axl bashing this is a fantastic album., 15 Dec 2008
By 
C.Clarke (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
Personally I'm sick of people slagging off Axl and Guns n Roses in 2008, yes there's no Slash or Duff, Izzy or Matt but really if the music sounds good that's all that matters and this album is superb, it gets better with every listen, it's different to their old stuff but it should be, that was 16 years ago. This album is really diverse with lots of different styles; the guitar work by various axe men is great and not far off Slash's high standards. My personal favs are I.R.S, There was a time (Axl's shrieking vocals towards the end of the track are awesome), the title track and If the world, which does sound quite different for Guns n Roses. Forget the reviews in music mags such as Q, it doesn't matter how good the album was, they still would have slated it because it's trendy to slate hard rock. Ignore the hype, just enjoy the music. This is a great return and I can't wait to see them perform these tracks live again in the UK hopefully next year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Use Your Illusion III, essentially, 11 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. J. P. Young (Newcastle upon Tyne) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinese Democracy (Audio CD)
...and there's nothing wrong with that. The '...Illusion's were where the world finally realised that Axl wasn't so much Steven Tyler as some sort of Mickey Rourke/Klaus Kinski/Jim Morrison hybrid, and that for all his antics (yes, the man is clearly nuts, and not in the usual drink-and-drug-addled way, either) he was also a phenomenally gifted songwriter and arranger, a fact which the eventual, inevitable backlash against him (was there one single good word written about GN'R throughout the whole of 1992/3?) conveniently obscured.
Accusations of laziness and tardiness are off the mark. Firstly, Axl made and scrapped about 3-4 albums' worth of material in the time it's taken to get this baby off the ground. Secondly, you can't say any of the songs here are underwritten. The pomp and bombast herein is matched only by prime Smashing Pumpkins, and even their fine, underrated comeback album 'Zeitgeist' sounds like the Wedding Present compared to the densely orchestrated arrangements that we got here. Songs pile up and up and up using every trick in the book. It's ludicrous, but it's also stunning. Corgan aside, no one writes them like this anymore. This is a veritable Dundee cake in a mainstream musical world of stale breadcrumbs.
Also, you can rail at Axl's egotism 'til you're blue in the face, but the embarrassing truth is that he could out-write and out-sing and out-play anything your favourite flavour-of-the-month could ever, ever come up with. Not one single track here is bad. From the steadily uncoiling power of the title track to the slightly demented industrial/disco/two-step 'Shackler's Revenge' to the snarling, undulating 'Better' to the volcanically grandiose 'There Was A Time' (best ignore the unfortunate acronym, eh?) to the best Bond theme that never was 'If The World' to the gorgeous golden piano work on 'Street Of Dreams' and 'Catcher In The Rye' to the twin-uppercut-punch rockouts 'Scraped' and 'Riad N'The Bedouins' (think 'Gold Against The Soul'-era Manics torn to pieces by Jane's Addiction) to the almost Alice In Chains doom of 'Sorry' to the grimy 'Don't Damn Me'-ish swagger of 'IRS' to the even more volcanically grandiose (albeit almost hookless) 'Madagascar' to the frankly high camp operatic heartbreaker 'This I Love' to the final towering, paranoically ranting 'Prostitute', we got ourselves a winner here, people. Nice gold embossed packaging, too.
It's not sold nearly as well as it might once have done. No matter. We're in an entirely different era for rock now; if the first three seconds of a song don't sound good from the download, just ditch it and move on, huh? Axl in the middle of this nonsense comes across like the world's last Siberian tiger wandering onto the 'X Factor' set (and hopefully devouring all the participants with impunity). Admit it, you'd miss him if he wasn't here...
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Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses (Audio CD - 2008)
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