Velvet Revolver, Contraband

When Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland and ex-Gunners Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum merged, it was publicized by the media as a "super group." Expectations were set high, but some fan opinions were clouded with doubt over the group’s potential success. After the disbanding of Guns N' Roses, Slash and co. didn't release anything of substance, and Weiland's publicized bouts with drug addiction were troubling. Somehow, with all odds stacked against them, Velvet Revolver has become the most unexpected success of the year. Contraband is made up of tight mean rock ‘n’ roll riffs and catchy choruses. What makes the record so gratifying is Slash's contentment to keep his soloing at short intervals, unlike on the Use Your Illusion albums where eight-minute solos got in the way of the songs. Also, Weiland's talent and presence as a singer adds to the old school rock arrangements. On Contraband, Velvet Revolver is working towards their own sound but this record echoes earlier STP with the punk attitude of Appetite for Destruction. (RCA)

Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

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