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Guns 'n' Roses - Chinese Democracy
Boy, oh boy, 15 long excruciating years we have been waiting to receive any vital signs of the once most notorious band of the world. Guns ‘n’ Roses or better said, Axl and his minions finally released the long awaited new album. Over the years there were tons of rumours, millions of line-up changes and numerous tours and gigs being cancelled. You wondered if there ever was going to be new material, especially because there is no Slash, no Duff McKagan or any of the original members of the classic group. Ok, there was this track called  'Oh My God' on the End of Days soundtrack. But even that happened more than a decade ago. So what does Chinese Democracy offer? Has Axl released his Dark side of the Moon, his Night at the Opera? You’d certainly wish for a magnum opus after this much time.
 
Title track and opener ‘Chinese Democracy’ starts off with a fade-in intro which tends to get annoying because you’re so eager to hear the new sounds; you just want to get on with the chorus. And the chorus…well it isn’t a bad song, but did they really work fifteen years on this song? It is quite the standard Guns ‘n’ Roses track as we heard many times before. And so are next tracks ‘Shaklers Revenge’ and ‘Better’. Both of them are nice up-tempo rockers but aren’t  exactly great originals. That said I must say that they contain some of the best guitar work I’ve heard yet. It doesn’t save the song though.
 
The ballad ‘Street of Dreams’ starts with quite an odd sounding Axl, he sounds like he’s about to burst into tears. When it turns into his regular voice it basically develops into a song that could have been easily on one of the Use Your Illusion albums. And those albums contained one of their most beloved songs: 'November Rain'. Chinese Democracy also has a track with orchestra arrangements. With 'November Rain' being the absolute winner of the two.
 
According to a New York times article in 2005, production costs for the album reached $13 million, making it probably the most expensive recording ever. So almost toward the ending of the album, I’m still searching for a reason Axl needed to work fifteen years and spend millions on this. The songs aren’t bad, but not exactly original or memorable. I can’t discover obvious hits in the vein of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or other favourites like ‘Paradise City’. There are some odd moments on the album, some strange vocal lines, some experimentation like the short-titled ‘Sorry’. A song that tends to be heading towards early Pink Floyd, but quickly reroutes to the safe direction. Slash once said that you shouldn’t think too much when you're creating music, so if Axl takes this advice we may not have to wait until 2035 for the follow up for this album.  
Guns 'n' Roses - Chinese Democracy
75/1001Details Geffen
Released on Sunday Nov 23rd, 2008
Hardrock

Writer @Angel on Tuesday Nov 25th, 2008

Tags: #Guns 'n' Roses
Tracklisting 1. Chinese Democracy
2. Shackler's Revenge
3. Better
4. Street of Dreams
5. If the World
6. There was a time
7. Catcher in the Rye
8. Scraped
9. Riad n' the bedouins
10. Sorry (with Sebastian Bach)
11. I.R.S.
12. Madagascar
13. This I Love
14. Prostitute
Line up Axl Rose – lead vocals, backing vocals
Robin Finck – lead guitar, backing vocals
Bumblefoot – lead guitar
Richard Fortus – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Tommy Stinson – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dizzy Reed – keyboard, piano, percussion, backing vocals
Bryan Mantia – drums, percussion
Frank Ferrer – drums, percussion
Chris Pitman – synthesizer, programming

Former members who are featured
Buckethead – lead guitar
Paul Tobias – rhythm guitar

Additional musicians
Sebastian Bach – backing vocals
Patti Hood – harp
Marco Beltrami – orchestral arrangement
Paul Buckmaster – orchestral arrangement