This is not a guns n roses album. This is not a guns n roses album. This is not a guns n roses album.
I can't really stress that point enough.
As you know, there is no Slash, Izzy, or Steven in this album, and anyone with a bit of sense would know better than to place one of the biggest names in rock on his (lets just face it) completely different project. But not Axl. Axl chose to release his and his constantly changing line-up of session musicians material under the banner of 'guns n' roses'. That way, no matter how the songs are written, they will inevitably be compared with classics like 'sweet child of mine', 'don't cry', 'november rain' and 'paradise city'.
I approached this album with an open mind thinking of listening to it as Axl's new project, not the new Guns cd. In that respect, it is not all that bad, but nothing special either. Some songs have absolutely no pattern or co-herency - Shacklers Revenge is about as structured as a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the front - it is completely random, with a bunch of solo's, and axl screeching over the top, with nine-inch nails-esque opening riff, followed by some electro beats which wouldnt sound out of place in a need for speed movie. However the opening song 'Chinese Democracy' is a bit of a throwback to the later days of guns n' roses - the main riff could have been in use your illusion 2 even. That opening song really raised my hopes for a good album, but my high hopes were destroyed with the next two songs, shacklers revenge and better (which has some awfully fitting sweep picked solos-they dont fit the song at all!) songs like 'sorry' and 'catcher in the rye' are just plain boring.
Overall - i would rate this album 1 star, 2 stars for the actual content of the album and 1 star lost for Axl's complete and utter stupidity for releasing the album on the impossible-to-beat name that is 'Guns n' Roses'.