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Guns n' Roses


Chinese Democracy

Year: 2008
Format: CD
Label: Black Frog/Geffen/Universal
Genre: [Modern Hard Rock/Ambient/Experimental]
Overall Rating: 9.0
Music: 9.0
Production: 9.5

One of the most anticipated albums of 2008 is Guns n' Roses' Chinese Democracy, which has been in the works for well over a decade. A lot happened in the passing years, but suffice to say GnR managed to produce a really promising comeback album. Though the band now only got one original member left, namely Axl Rose, the new songs are still able to arouse feelings of nostalgia especially on piano ballads and with Axl's distinct vocal style. Regardless, Chinese Democracy also marks the beginning of a new, more experimental era for GnR. This is largely due to the distinct guitar work of Buckethead and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal. Although Buckethead left the band years ago, his guitar wizardry can be heard on 12 of the 14 songs, and he also contributes perhaps the most memorable moments to the album on "If the World" and "Madagascar". Admittedly Rose has had a good ear for guitarists, since he got Ron Thal to replace Buckethead, both of whom actually share a similar experimental effect-favouring playing style, hence the album sounds consistent despite having different guitarists performing. The song material on this album is of high quality for the most part.

Production on this album is great, which isn't that surprising considering the time spent on this album - it is very rare for a band to have such a luxury of spending years in a studio to work on a single album. The sounds are full yet a certain digital flair of overly processed sonic texture stigmatises this record and at least I would have wished for a slightly more dynamic, rounder tonal qualities at times. Nonetheless, it's only a minor detail denting this otherwise spectacular sounding album. However, acknowledging it's been already 15 years since previous Guns n' Roses studio album, one can't avoid pinpointing the shortcomings this album has. For example, the album opener along with few other songs suffer from patchworkquiltism - some parts, like certain Bumblefoot's adlib effects, sound too separate from the song though mostly they are well used and contribute in enriching the song structure. All in all, Guns n' Roses' Chinese Democracy is a diverse, multifaceted hard rock album showing GnR more daring and adventurous than ever. I warmly recommend it to all open-minded hard rock fans.

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- MAGE (December 1st, 2008)


Rose, Axl: Vocals, Keyboards on Tracks 1, 6 and 13, Guitar on Tracks 6 and 12,
Piano on Tracks 7, 13 and 14, Synthesizer Orchestra on Tracks 6 and 13, Backing
Vocals on Track 7,  Synthesizer French Horns on Track 12, Samples on Track 12
Buckethead: Lead Guitars on All Tracks Except 7 and 13, Guitar Solos on Tracks
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14; Acoustic Guitar on Track 5
Finck, Robin: Lead Guitars, Keyboards on Tracks 3 and 5, Guitar Solos on Tracks
1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11 and 13, Acoustic Guitar on Track 10
Thal, Ron "Bumblefoot": Lead Guitars, Guitar Solos on Tracks 2, 7, 8, and 9
Tobias, Paul: Guitars on Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 14, Piano on Track 6
Fortus, Richard: Guitars on Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5 and 14
Stinson, Tommy: Bass on All Tracks Except 5, Backing Vocals on Tracks 1, 3, 4 and 6
Pitman, Chris: Sub-bass on All Tracks Except 7, Keyboards on All Tracks Except 9,
11 and 14, Backing Vocals on Tracks 3 and 6, Bass on Tracks 5, 6 and 12, Twelve-string
Guitar on Track 5, Mellotron on Track 6, String Machine on Track 5
Mantia, Bryan "Brain": Drums on All Tracks Except 1
Ferrer, Frank: Drums on Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6 and 11
Reed, Dizzy: Keyboards on Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 14, Backing
Vocals on Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6 and 9, Piano on Tracks 4 and 5, Synthesizer Orchestra on
Tracks 4, 6, 13 and 14, Orchestra Arrangements on Tracks 4, 6, 12 and 14
Scaturro, Pete: Keyboards on Track 10
Bach, Sebastian: Backing Vocals on Track 10
Hood, Patti: Harp on Track 13
Costanzo, Caram: Sub Drums on Track 13
Caudieux, Eric: Sub Drums on Track 13
Buckmaster, Paul: Orchestras and Orchestra Arrangements on Tracks 4, 6, 12 and 14
Beltrami, Marco: Orchestras and Orchestra Arrangements on Tracks 4, 6, 12, 13 and 14
Katayama, Suzy: French Horns on Track 12
Producer: Rose, Axl & Costanzo, Caram
Mixing by: Wallace, Andy; Costanzo, Caram & Rose, Axl
Mastering by: Ludwig, Bob
Guns n' Roses - Chinese Democracy  CD  Cover Image
01. Chinese Democracy
02. Shackler's Revenge
03. Better
04. Street of Dreams
05. If the World
06. There Was a Time
07. Catcher in the Rye
08. Scraped
09. Riad n' the Bedouins
10. Sorry
11. I.R.S.
12. Madagascar
13. This I Love
14. Prostitute

Length: 71:27
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