ADLER – Back From The Dead (2012)
Guns ‘N Roses original drummer Steven Adler (the best of the band in my opinon) problems about substance abuse have been well documented lately, notably from his appearances on VH-1’s Celebrity Rehab and in his own autobiography My Appetite For Destruction.
Fortunately, Adler battles against his personal demons have been successful enough that he’s been able to finally create new music.
After an advanced single presented here months ago and the drop of ‘Appetite’ from his band’s name (now simply ADLER) Steven is finally releasing the full length album “Back From The Dead”.
Two things hit hard as the album’s title track crashes out: the production from former Dokken and now in Foreigner Jeff Pilson (who also was involved in songwriting and plays all Bass and more here) is really massive, and the other is that Steve Adler and his band has crafted their own sound, with hints from the past yet updated, fresh and vital.
Lyrically, “Back From The Dead” – both album and open title track – smacks (pun, sadly, intended) of desperate and autobiographical times. Life teetering on the brink of collapse must be hellish, but makes for some great art.
Sonically, the recruitment of frontman Jacob Bunton is a masterstroke; the guy takes command of this album from the off and more than holds his own in some esteemed company – the band is completed by effective axeman Lonny Paul, and although all bass tracks in this recording are played by Pilson, they have in Johnny Martin a stable bassist, last seen in Tracii Guns’ version of L.A. Guns.
The aforementioned album opener, the title track, eases in on a dark vibe before exploding into life, heavy of riff, bass rumbling, with a hook as catchy as fly paper.
“Own Worst Enemy’ (what was I saying about autobiographical lyrics?) has a more modern approach introducing dark riffage and articulated singing in a solid package.
“Another Version Of The Truth” is as infectious as a zombie bite, while the album’s advanced single “The One That You Hated” (which you’ve all already heard, and liked, surely) fuses timeless arena rock sounds to the body of some great melodies.
“Good To Be Bad” features the first of a couple of high profile guest appearances: great guitarist John 5, but, apart from his solo that borders on the crazed, the song itself is the true standout, a terrace chant of a chorus proving most memorable.
The power ballad makes its first appearance of the record, alongside that of Slash, on “Just Don’t Ask”, but this isn’t your run of the mill (soft) rock standard: sure, it pushes every emotion-button required of its ilk, but it does so with its feet planted firmly in the here-and-now rather than the who-cares-when.
“Blown Away” houses possibly the hugest riff of the entire record and wraps it around a gang vocal catchier than a rubbish criminal.
It’s ballad time again when “Waterfall” crashes down around your speakers with a modern approach and intereting guitar work (co-written by guitarist (Lonny Paul). It scales new heights for a band formed around an Eighties legend.
Forget about heights for around three and a half minutes as “Habit” kicks in, lyrically finding new lows yet aurally taking this album to its peak; a snarling, depraved beast of a track (Did I say Adler is one of the most creative rock percussionists out there?). It is the one song that you should play to a friend to convince them that Adler are worthy of their time and money. One of the best tracks from the album.
“Your Diamonds” is more subtle in a melody line draping itself over a mid-paced rocker that breaks no new ground, yet sexes up what is already there. There’s a definite Enuff Z’Nuff vibe to the mid-section.
The album closes with “Dead Wrong”, another polished tune that motors this album home to its conclusion in fine style.
Written off, killed off, snubbed, subbed, mocked: Steven Adler might have been the butt of way too many jokes over the years, but the guy is having the last laugh, finally.
I never thought Adler would, could, produce an album as good as “Back From The Dead” – I am happy to stand corrected.
This is, quite simply, a rollicking, ass-kicker of a record that plants Steven Adler firmly back in the game. An album like this to back him up should busy himself batting away the plaudits rather than the demons.
With good songs, a hot band and great production, one of the rhythmically best rock drummers of the last 25 years appears to have his true ‘appetite’ back.
01. Back From The Dead
02. Own Worst Enemy
03. Another Version Of The Truth
04. The One That You Hated
05. Good To Be Bad (featuring John 5)
06. Just Don’t Ask (featuring Slash)
07. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton: lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, piano
Lonny Paul: guitar, vocals
Steven Adler: drums, cowbell, shakers, tambourine, crowbar, shovel and screams
Jeff Pilson: bass on all tracks, guitar, keyboads, vocals
Slash: lead guitar on “Just Don’t Ask”
John 5: lead guitar on “Good To Be Bad”
Michael Lord: piano on “Waterfall”
BUY IT !