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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 5 December 2008
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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on 15 December 2008
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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on 14 February 2013
As many reviews have already said this is not guns n roses as people know... so if you have your heart set on guns n roses 2 this is not the album for you... however, that being said this album isnt particually bad, it has decent enough songs, some great guitar work from the likes of buckethead etc. However, the reason this is only 3 stars to me is that its 'gnr' without filling in as 'gnr', its axl's solo album. But overall as an 'axl solo album', yeah its okay..
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on 18 August 2013
Was a big Guns N' Roses fan in the 80's and this was the only album missing from my collection. Wish I hadn't bothered as the tracks weren't up to their usual quality. Played once and filed under Dull!
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on 1 December 2008
The CD version has masses of customer reviews, but how good is the vinyl? Well the answer is it is a fantastic pressing on double 180g, and sounds amazing. The CD is pretty good but this is better, something that is not always true of vinyl versions. Someone who knows what they are doing has worked on this and it shows. Somewhat surprising as G'N'R vinyl was not that great previously - the Use Your Illusion albums are for example not very good on vinyl.
The sleeve is gatefold and the cover is about 100 times better than on the CD. Inside you get the wide Mao picture which is in the centre pages of the CD booklet, printed over with credits, but disappointingly no lyrics. The inner sleeves are plain back plastic lined.
The music? Well, you can read plenty of petty nit picking on the CD review pages, but if you like this sort of thing (rock) there is nothing better. It's a great album, but coming out in 2008 instead of say 1978 is not going get it the recognition it deserves.
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on 3 January 2015
Its a very long album, and as yet I have not found the patience to get through to the end of it in a single sitting. A bit disappointed with it as it does sound very guns and roses but that is mainly due to the vocals which frankly become rather tedious. Well, I got it for a cheap price and maybe one day I will make it all the way through....overall not very impressed really.
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on 24 November 2008
Has there ever been an album so many wanted to hate without ever listening to it ? Has there ever been an album so delayed ? Has there ever been so many guitarists credited on one record ? Lets get this straight, if Axl Rose ahd released this in 1995 like he perhaps should have done it would easily have sat up there with some of rock's greatest albums. However the interminable delays and band changes just pushed both expectation and antipathy to ridicuous levels. Ok so Slash isn't there, but we all know Slash is a live guitar playing icon. He was never the driving force behind what Guns N Roses did in the studio and arguably if he didn'thave frizzy hair and a hat he may never have quite had the persona he as now. Anyway give this album a listen or two. Its a more consistent album than Use Your Illusions without perhaps not quite hitting the highs of November Rain & Estranged. And the dirty punk of Appetite disappeared as soon as they sold their first million records - so don't expecta Welcome to the Jungle. But in There Was a Time, Street of Dreams, Sorry, Madagascar and the title track there are so truly memorable moments. A couple of tracks like Scraped don't really stand up but then neither did the likes of Right next door to hell off Illusion or dare i say it Think About You on Appetite. The world has moved on and none of us are ever going to recapture 1988 I'm afraid but isn't it good to hear that voice again.
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on 22 December 2008
"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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on 12 September 2012
I'll be honest. I LOVE the old Guns N Roses and I used to want to be a professional guitar player from 14 to 21 years old because of Slash, I wanted to make other people feel the way I felt listening to him.

I bought Chinese Democracy because it was cheap and I have all the other Guns N Roses albums, so I thought...why not give it a chance?? even if I expected it to be bad or horrible.

I have both Slash solo albums, and I respect artist's liberty to do whatever they want with their careers, so I have no grudge against Axl Rose and my concerns where about the music in the album, not the whole Slash versus Axl debate or something like that, just like Dream Theater is my favorite band and I have their great last album without their all time drummer Mike Portnoy, and I also have Mike Portnoy's new album with another band.

Truth is... the music in Chinese Democracy is NOT bad, and I'm tempted to say it's actually a good one!! sure, it doesn't sound much like GNR other that Axl's voice, but the songs are still fun to listen to, there are a couple of decent guitar solos, and the song "This I love" with Axl's broken/sad voice reminds me of the best of times like the song Estranged in Use your Illusion II.

If you're not a childish fanboy and have a mind open enough to enjoy this album for what it is without judging it because it says "Guns N Roses" on the cover you could very well end up surprised like I did and thinking "boy! I'm glad I decided to buy it!".

Give it a chance, specially at this low price.

Solid 4 stars rock album for me and the song "This I Love" definitely made it to my top 10 Guns N Roses tracks!
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on 7 August 2014
I was actually pleasnatly surprised by this album. The modern GnR and Axl come in for a fair bit of criticism, but this album is actually good. Perhaps a bit over produced, but if you like rock music I would be very surprised if you're not smacking your steering wheel in the car in line with the drum riffs on this album whilst driving. Worth listening to before judging!
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