Seeing Velvet Revolver on the Lowlands Festival in 2004 I could finally say I saw Guns n’ Roses complete live. The two year before I watched Axl Rose and his friends on the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium (I just can’t call them Guns n’ Roses). Being a Guns n’ Roses fan for a long time this finally satisfied my needs and although I have given up on Chinese Democracy for long time now there already is another album from that band with all those other Guns n’ Roses members. Velvet Revolver came together in 2003 when Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan and Slash started to jam together. Not long after that Scott Weiland (ex-Stone Temple Pilots) was added to the band along with Dave Kushner (ex-Wasted Youth).
Their first album Contraband who was a modest success with 3 million sales worldwide, a number 1 debut at the Billboard Top 100 and a grammy award for the single´Slither´. Despite this success I wasn’t completely satisfied with that album, in my opinion there were not so many good songs on it. This probably had something to do with me expecting an album more in the style of Use Your Illusion. But I had to expect Velvet Revolver is a completely different band and the fact they play Guns n’ Roses songs live is just something to please the fans. So with that cleared out in my head I looked out for the sophomore album of this superstar band. Libertad was produced with Brendan O’Brian which we know from his work with the greatest bands of the music scene: Pearl Jam, The Offspring, Limb Bizkit, Stone Temple Pilots, Incubus, Bruce Springsteen.
Starting with ‘Let It Roll’ the album knows a kick ass start which reminds me of Guns n’ Roses. Especially the riffs in this song are great and make you wish you only could be half as good as Slash. With ‘She Mine’ Velvet Revolver shows that the great start of the album is a fact and gets my expectations up for the rest of the album. After ’Get Out The Door’, which is just a simple straight forward rock song, we’ll head into the first single on the album.
‘She Builds Quick Machines’ has a great pushing riff and a very catchy chorus that keeps circling in your head. The second single on this album is called ‘The Last Flight’ and is a song that has a sort of bluesy vibe in it. Too bad this song just misses some climaxes; it never has a moment that stands out, it just goes on and on until the end of the song. After this, the album has more weak moments ‘American Man’ and ‘Mary Mary’ are probably the most annoying ones along with ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’ which is a ballad with no inspiration or whatsoever. Luckily enough these songs are compensated by songs like ‘Just Sixteen’ and ‘Spay’ which just rock like hell.
Overall I have some mixed feelings about Libertad. There are some truly great rock songs on this album. Especially ‘Let It Roll’, ‘She Builds Quick Machines’, ‘Just Sixteen’ and ‘Spay’ push the album to another level. On the other hand there are some songs that just can’t live up to the standards considering the past of these musicians. Finally it’s still an album that is the name Velvet Revolver worthy but I do hope the next album is truly one that kicks ass more than ever.