GUNS N’ ROSES – Appetite For Destruction [Super Deluxe Edition] (2018)
Next June 29 we will see GUNS N’ ROSES classic debut “Appetite For Destruction [Super Deluxe Edition]” in a remastered 4-CD expanded edition plenty of previously unreleased material.
It’s been 31 years since Guns N’ Roses released their landmark debut album. The record has gone on to become one of the more revered rock ‘n’ roll records of all-time, with hits like “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Paradise City,” and “Sweet Child O’Mine” and killer deep cuts like “My Michelle,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Rocket Queen,” “It’s So Easy,” “Nightrain,” and “You’re Crazy.”
Looking back at this expanded 4 CD ‘reloaded’ edition has me reflecting on just how great of a record this is and how well the songs have stood the test of time.
“Appetite For Destruction [Super Deluxe Edition]” has been brilliantly tweaked with a fantastic remastering, fortunately not a victim of the ‘loudness war’. The crew that handled this package really took the time and care to do it right and not wreck this edgy and dangerousness of this gritty, sonically bombastic classic.
On disc 1, you get the original album remastered in all its glory. There’s more air between instruments, clearer guitar sound and much better cymbals.
It’s both beefier – practically punching you in the face in places – and more nuanced, the vocal harmonies, for instance (in many ways, GNR’s secret weapon – you don’t notice they’re there, until you do), coming into their own.
Amping up its already formidable power, the remaster never loses the sense that this was the work of a bunch of scrappy upstarts, while reminding you just how well-constructed Appetite For Destruction really was.
The second disc features ‘B-sides N’ EPs’ (some of these until this point only vinyl) newly remastered from original analog tapes, including the Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide EP (not actually live), live B-sides (yes, actually live) and acoustic recordings – though no ‘One In A Million’.
Presumably Axl no longer feels he can defend the song’s racism and homophobia (we’ll all just ignore the rampant sexism of Appetite… itself, otherwise this would be a very slight reissue, indeed).
On disc 3 and 4 there’s 25 unreleased recordings from ‘1986 Sound City Session’, plus 2 unreleased recordings from Mike Clink Sessions: “Shadow Of Your Love” – from December 1986 Mike Clink tryout session, and “Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)” – from GN’R Lies sessions.
A huge deal has been made regarding the ‘new’ track that was unearthed; “Shadow Of Your Love.” I’m sure some of you have heard this song before in demo form via The Deadline Music album of Hollywood Rose demos that was issued a number of years ago, or on the Guns N’ Roses import EP.
On the 1986 Sound City Session recordings is where you realise that, despite the sloppy exterior, GN’R were an unbelievably tight unit that found the perfect balance between being loose and locked-in.
There was work to be done, sure, but these ’86 recordings reveal a band fully studio-ready. Any recalibrations needed for the final takes were, however, perfectly judged: between these breakneck recordings and the Appetite… versions, GN’R found an extra groove that elevated the songs from the run-of-the-mill without losing an ounce of energy.
The acoustic demos further the case: a nascent version of “You’re So Crazy” is more than just a fumble through chord changes; it’s proof that these songs were built from the ground up, with more attention to detail than you probably imagine – that’s the Izzy factor.
Also, a slightly slower pace and acoustic version of “Move To The City” is an interesting surprise.
But they’re all overshadowed by the “November Rain” piano demo. The single greatest song the band released since Appetite… was, amazingly (and, given how fertile this period was, perhaps unsurprisingly), birthed during these sessions.
Like the version that ultimately saw the light of day in 1991, it’s still clearly Axl’s baby (indeed, the band felt that an epic piano ballad had no place on Appetite…, and they were right), and this intimate take – Axl on piano, feeling his way through the song; tentative backing vocals searching for the hooks – is, to these ears at least, worth the price of purchase alone.
This a great package to consolidate your previous copies of ‘Appetite’ into one box with extra goodies revealing a raw, killer material, all with excellent sound quality.
These five guys were untouchable at their peak. They crashed and they burned, but what a hell of a great ride it was from the late ’80s to the early ’90s.
CD 1 – Appetite For Destruction: Remastered
01. Welcome To The Jungle
02. It’s So Easy
04. Out Ta Get Me
05. Mr. Brownstone
06. Paradise City
07. My Michelle
08. Think About You
09. Sweet Child O’ Mine
10. You’re Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen
CD 2 – B-Sides N’ EPs: Remastered
01. Reckless Life
02. Nice Boys
03. Move To The City (Live)
04. Mama Kin
05. Shadow Of Your Love (Live)
06. You’re Crazy (Acoustic Version)
08. Used To Love Her
09. You’re Crazy
10. It’s So Easy (Live)
11. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Live)
12. Whole Lotta Rosie (Live)
CD 3 – 1986 Sound City Session: Previously Unreleased
01. Welcome To The Jungle (1986 Sound City Session)
02. Nightrain (1986 Sound City Session)
03. Out Ta Get Me (1986 Sound City Session)
04. Paradise City (1986 Sound City Session)
05. My Michelle (1986 Sound City Session)
06. Think About You (1986 Sound City Session)
07. You’re Crazy (1986 Sound City Session)
08. Anything Goes (1986 Sound City Session)
09. Rocket Queen (1986 Sound City Session)
10. Shadow Of Your Love (1986 Sound City Session)
11. Heartbreak Hotel (1986 Sound City Session)
12. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986 Sound City Session)
CD 4 – 1986 Sound City Session N’ More: Previously Unreleased
01. Shadow Of Your Love
02. Move To The City (1986 Sound City Session)
03. Ain’t Goin’ Down No More (Instrumental Version)
04. The Plague (1986 Sound City Session)
05. Nice Boys (1986 Sound City Session)
06. Back Off Bitch (1986 Sound City Session)
07. Reckless Life (1986 Sound City Session)
08. Mama Kin (1986 Sound City Session)
09. New Work Tune (1986 Sound City Session)
10. November Rain (Piano Version)
11. Move To The City (Acoustic Version)
12. You’re Crazy (Acoustic Version)
13. November Rain (Acoustic Version)
14. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Acoustic Version)
15. Move To The City (1988 Acoustic Version)
W. Axl Rose – lead vocals, synthesizer, percussion
Slash – guitars, slide guitar, talkbox
Izzy Stradlin – guitars, backing vocals, percussion
Duff McKagan – bass, backing vocals
Steven Adler – drums, percussion, backing vocals