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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2006
This is a very different beast from "Appetite", or even UYI Vol 1. Whilst Guns always could rip it up and tear it out with the best of them (and they do so brilliantly on Vol 1's "Perfect Crime", "Right Next Door To Hell", "Bad Obsession" and so on), on this album there's a concerted effort to display musical and emotional growth. Axl was always a broader musican than Slash - a fact evident from the fact that on this moderately-paced album, Slash only has 3 or 4 writing credits. This is very much Axl's baby, although the quibbling over credits (unlike "Appetite", which is band-credited) already suggests the loss of band solidarity. This album is less of a stomping hard-rock album and more of a classic rock album, where the act is established and they can now stretch their wings. Slash has already said that the UYI albums are their equivalent of the White Album.

The songwriting is I think consistently stunning. There's more, and more varied, emotion too. God only knows why "Estranged" isn't more recognised - it's one of the pinnacles of their acheivement, a cold, disconsolate beginning, shifting (via one of Slash's finest ever lines) to a sneering, callow hauteur, then a sad, yearning instrumental, to a open and warming ending, closing on an almost desperate note. "So Fine", sung wonderfully by Duff, has shivers and sighs of pure emotion, a rock ballad of unusual exquisiteness. "Locomotion", like "Estranged", considers the end of relationships and the realisation of emotional emptiness, Axl's nasal, almost-sneering delivery suggestive of the immaturity he's singing about. "Breakdown", another song that's oddly underappreciated, again suggests a man on the edge of his tether, yearning for the innocence and certainties of younger, simpler days (note the country-style intro - similar to Axl's piece of straw in the "Welcome To The Jungle video - he was an Indiana boy after all!) - which "Yesterdays" does explicitly but with far less style. "Pretty Tied Up", a classic piece of Izzy, is typically Stones-y and also features some outstanding sitar. And so on - the album is filled with classic moments ("Civil War", "You Could Be Mine").

Some have suggested that you could make one killer album from the two volume of Use Your Illusion. I think that would miss the point. Firstly, the two albums gave them the space to stretch their wings musically, which "Appetite" being far more condensed and focused didn't. Who would have expected sitar, spanish guitar, bizarre electronica, and so on? Secondly, the two albums very much have their own character. Volume One is far more aggressive and vitriolic, Volume Two is much more reflective and sensitive. GN'R always had both sides to them - hence their name, typically Yin/Yang.

This album is almost a return to a more 60s/70s rock album and succeeds on every possible level. Treat yourself.
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on 8 December 2004
What proved to be their last album was one of their finest. Having said that they only made three albums full albums of new material (Appetite, Illusion 1 & Illusion 2). Lies and Spaghetti were mere fills during major tours.
Illusion 2 gave us the newer material that the band had at the time as Illusion 1 was made up old songs that never made Appetite. I remember waiting for the albums to be released and going to Wembley Stadium the week before they were released. The new songs songed good live but I found them to be even better on record. GNR were a band of highs and lows, but when they were good they were the best on the planet at the time. Illusion 2 seemed to capture the band at the height of their powers and is an album not to be missed. Rock songs at the time had to be short and sweet with the epic's being a thing of the past. This album though changed things and people realised once again that a long song was not a bad song. Estranged, Breakdown, Pretty Tied Up, Locomotive and Civil War being the highlights. Pretty Tied Up once again showing the darker side of GNR in their lyrics. This is still an album that should be part of any rock lovers collection.
This is one of the highlights from one of the all time great rock bands.
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on 11 May 2001
This album very much represents the pinicle of achivement for one of the greatest rock & roll bands ever. It builds upon Appetite for Destruction and Use your Illusion One in masterful style. With the exception of My World and Shotgun Blues, each track on the album is a modern masterpiece within itself. Of course the highlight of the album is the 14 minute opus, Estranged. It is hard to put into words just how much talent the track represents. Two of the most sublime guitar solos ever combine with the most heart felt lyrics to be found on any album. The use of use of constant cultural references thorughout the album in quotations, gives the album as a whole a delicious flavour of Post-Modernist angst. This is very much a thinking mans rock album. It is one of the greatest suprises of the music world that such an amazing album as this was followed by the horror that was the Spaggeti Incident, Oh well. Buy Use Your Illusion 2 today!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2015
I have often read (possibly a hundred times over in fact) that Guns N' Roses' debut Appetite For Destruction is one of best rock albums ever made, and yes, it is indeed a classic, probably the defining rock record of the 1980s, but personally, I believe 1991's 'Use Your Illusion II', to be even better, with much more variety and complexity. As far as I'm concerned, it's the greatest rock album of the '90s, and one of the best albums of any musical genre

I wasn't sure all that sure how I could pick out a few of the highlights, when I have a soft spot for all of these songs. Well, all apart from the final track 'My World' that is, which is best to just ignore and forget even existed, why let one dud spoil such an otherwise flawless release?

The epic and powerful 'Civil War', really is a masterpiece (which is not a word I frequently use when describing a song), and a strong contender for the title of my favourite Guns n' Roses' song. The superior cover of Bob Dylan's 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' is the best version of this timeless song I know, and 'Don't Cry', an excellent original, is beautiful. On a personal note, this song, of which there are two versions (the other which appears on the 'Use Your Illusion I' album, with alternative lyrics) has the ability to comfort me when times are tough. Here's a tip, you'll love what you hear on record, but do look at the music video for this track, which is a real work of art. 'Estranged', which runs just under ten minutes, contains some of Slash's best guitar melodies, and Axl's most remarkable lyrics. The hilarious rant that is 'Get in the Ring', a direct dig at those music critics (named and shamed nonetheless!) who gave the band negative reviews due to their on stage antics, never fails too make me grin, and the big hit single 'You Could Be Mine', is as close to heavy metal as the album gets.

'Use Your Illusion II' is definitely an album that any self-respecting rock music fan should own in their collections, right alongside 'Appetite For Destruction', but deserves a place in the hearts of those less fond of the genre as well. These are simply just timeless songs, with some of the best musical arrangements, and emotional lyrics ever written. Buy it, and you'll want to keep it for life.
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on 13 August 2016
Had it on CD and just started collecting vinyl again; so thought I'd kick the collection off with a childhood favourite. It's still a good album all these years later. Civil War, Pretty Tied Up, Locomotive, Estranged, You Could Be Mine, Don't Cry... some big songs with some big guitar solos.
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on 27 December 2003
NOTE: This is a review of both Disk 1 & 2 (sold seperately).
Firstly, for those of you who don't know, Guns N'Roses were (are? not seen them in their new guise I'm afraid, so I'm talking pre-1994) the biggest and most dangerous band in the world. They were also the best by far. In the early 90s the music scene was dominated by Grunge, with such bands as Nirvana & Pearl Jam stealing the limelight from stadium rockers.
Guns N' Roses were, with the possible exception of the Rolling Stones or the Chili Peppers (Slane Castle, brilliant!)the greatest live band of all time. These DVDs show a full concert from Japan in 1992, at the height of their massive World Tour, and when the Gunners were at their peak. Ironically, the DVDs are set out in very much the same way as the UYI albums were. Disk 1 tends to concentrate more on the fast paced rockers (Mr. Brownstone, Bad Obsession, Live & Let Die etc.) whilst Disk 2 contains the more 'epic' stuff (Rocket Queen, Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Estranged etc.) which I think is brilliant as depending on your mood you can either sit back and relax to their classic, solo infused stuff or the shorter rockers. There's also a brilliant (if somewhat too long) guitar/drum solo on Disk 2 for those of you who're into that kind of thing.
Another great highlight is Civil War, towards the end of the first disk complete with several costume changes from Axl and a great solo (when aren't they?) from Slash. The DVDs are brilliant overall, there's so much to enjoy from the head bangin' stuff everyone knows (Welcome To The Jungle, Paradise City etc.) right up to the brilliant (and underrated) So Fine & Estranged on Disk 2.
All in all an essential (and I don't use this word lightly) purchase for any Gunner with a DVD player. Absolutely brilliant throughout, and for the Stones fans out there (and who isn't?) there's even a great little rendition of their classic Wild Horses on Disk 1, performed as a duet by Gilby & Slash.
My only regret about the concert as a whole, is the fact Izzy isn't in it, but that's obviously no technical flaw, I just don't feel Gilby ever knew the shoes he was trying to fill.
Don't hesitate, just buy it, you will not be dissapointed.
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on 7 August 2014
I love this record but think GNR should have just combined Illusion 1&2 with only the best songs as it would have been just better. Appetite was such a killer set of songs and had not bad songs on it..... and the goal of Illusion should have been to only have the best songs put forward. Axl stated to believe in his own hype and did things HIS way. Would bet he is the reason for a 1&2. Oh and please do not get me started on how bad the new version of GNR is!! If you find the new GNR cd in a bargain bin at your local shop....just leave it in the bin as it stinks!!
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on 30 December 2010
After creating possibly the finest debut album in rock history, Guns N' Roses found themselves with the all-important question: How do you follow-up something like 'Appetite For Destruction'? The answer, it seems, was to do something completely different. By 1991 Guns N' Roses were a very different band to the one which exploded onto the rock scene four years earlier and that is reflected in the sound of this experimental piece of work.

Bassist Duff McKagan honestly put it; "This is a different sound. It's the sound of a different band. When we made the first album we were all living in one apartment sleeping on the floor, by the time we made the second record we all had our own houses and a million in the bank..."

The band now had time to play with their sound and do whatever they wished. 'Use Your Illusion' is the album where Guns N' Roses opened it's wings musically and soared to it's highest heights, as well as diving to it's lowest depths. In fact it is this rollercoaster nature which makes this album such a great listen. Rock critics widely report that if they had combined the finest material from 'Use Your Illusion I' & 'Use Your Illusion II' onto just one album they would have created one of the best rock records of all time. As it stands, however, we get two separate albums which feature quite a few of the best rock songs ever written scattered among b-side material. The playlist appears to have been almost chosen at random (quite odd considering the notorious perfectionism of Axl Rose) and this is the LP's major flaw as this mix & match approach doesn't allow the listener to get truly into the groove set by the great new GN'R tracks on display here, an example can be seen in that the soft So Fine (one of the album's weaker numbers) is sandwiched inbetween the riff-laden Locomotive and the epic Estranged.

'Use Your Illusion II' is not as heavy as the first installment and features some truly epic songwriting from a band at the peak of their powers. Kicking off with the charity single Civil War, an experimental number written for the Romanian Child appeal. Fans of old-school GN'R were very pleased to hear the second song on the album switch into familiar GN'R territory, the bending guitars of 14 Years showing why fans had waited four years for GN'R to re-appear with this new material. In fact one look at the songwriting credits of the album show a surprising hidden star in the band's arsenal, with the majority of 'Use Your Illusion's quality rock songs being penned by Izzy Stradlin, often referred to as the hidden guitarist for his shy nature in the background of the eccentric Axl and Slash. Izzy is responsible for many of UYI's highlights, including Dust N' Bones and Double Talkin' Jive from the first album, and the tremendous Pretty Tied Up.

The cracks of being one of the world's most popular bands were beginning to show massively in the recording of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums and they are well and truly there to be heard now looking back, most notably on Pretty Tied Up. This is a song penned by Izzy Stradlin who was on the verge of quitting the band beleiving that Axl's ego had gone out of control, and this song in particular discusses these issues to such a degree you'll wonder how he was able to get Axl to sing it without realizing it's about him ("Once there was this rock and roll band rolling on the streets / Time went by and it became a joke").

In the wake of 'Appetite For Destruction' this was a band trying to decide who they wanted to be and they needed time to make their minds up, this can be heard of Locomotive - a track with guitar work worthy of a place on 'Appetite For Destruction' which starts of a rollicking hard rocker and twists and turns into a spralling eight-minute-plus experimental piece which ends posing the reflective statement "If love is blind I guess I'll buy myself a cane.."

We get some material which is b-side quality such as the alternate version of Don't Cry and the frankly terrible My World, many fans found the sheer scope of the albums a little too difficult to swallow as they were hoping for a straightforward sequel to 'Appetite For Destruction' however the band knew they had to adapt to follow-up such an epic album and that's what they did, although it wasn't to everybody's liking (Axl even mentions this negative approach to the band's adapting sound from the media in the song Breakdown with the line "Funny how everything was roses when we held onto the guns"). The well-intentioned yet over the top cover of Knockin' On Heaven's Door was seen by many as the final nail in the coffin for the 'most dangerous band in the world' tag the band were known for and many gasped at the crudeness of Get In The Ring, a Duff McKagan rocker needlessly spoiled by Axl Rose with a rant towards media journalists. However the exceptional quality of the band when they hit their stride more than makes up for this. With GN'R you couldn't have the good without the bad, it's what made them special. What made Guns N' Roses different to any other rock band is that when they were good, they were better than anything else in the world and this elevated them head and shoulders above any of their peers. You'll be blasted with the guitar work of Locomotive, the excellent Yesterdays, the groove of 14 Years, Breakdown and Pretty Tied Up and the sheer angst of You Could Be Mine, which sees Axl and Slash combining better than they ever have before.

The album's highlight, however, comes in the hugely overlooked Estranged. This nine minute epic is quite possibly the best piece of work Axl ever wrote and stands tall among GN'R's all-time classic songs, showing that this reckless band of outlaws did indeed posses the quality no other rock band on the scene could get anywhere near.

'Use Your Illusion' cemented the band as rockstars for life and is a tremendously under-rated album from some of the most talented songwriters the rock industry has ever seen. The fact that they knew it wasn't going to last is partially what made it so special, and this album is so personal you can at times hear the strains of a band on it's way to breaking point.
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on 5 February 2016
Great album. Some people say it's overblown or pompous but I fully disagree. The album is choc full of hard rock epics. The musicianship on the album is second to none. Every song is memorable and deserves a place on the album.....apart from the atrocious and self-indulgent My World. What Axl was thinking with that track, God only knows
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on 10 March 2001
After the fantastic "Appetite for Destruction", it's hard to imagine how this fantastic band could ever equal that achievement. Although not as hard-core as "Appetite...", this is still an amazing collection of songs nonetheless. Songs like "Civil War" and "Pretty Tied Up" will make you think, but then other songs such as "Locomotive" and "You Could Be Mine" are great for air guitar accompaniments!! Having said that there are one or two disappointments, namely the punky "Shotgun Blues", and the very strange "My World". However, these are easily forgotten about once you listen to the rest of the album, including a fantastic cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and my personal favourite Guns N' Roses offering, the excellent "Estranged", for anyone who knows what it's like to have their heart broken. Overall, there is a good range of music on this album, showing that the band have a tender side to their notoriously tough exterior, and this is one collection of songs which no music lover should be without. Buy it!!!!!
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