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!
As a veteran rock fan who was around in the early 70's when Zep, Purple, Sabs etc were at their zenith, I'm sick and bl**dy tired of listening to people banging on about Appetite for Destruction! There seems to be a generation of fans who seem to think the release of that album was the Day the World Began! Sorry, but there are just as many out there who don't! Anyway,enough about that. With such mercurial talent on Contraband, this album was always gonna stand or fall on the quality of the songs, and by and large is a success. Not a masterpiece, but a high quality album with the right blend of heaviness, melody and attitude.
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.
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.
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.
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