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Alan Byrne "Hitman" RSS Feed (Behind You)

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Use Your Illusion I
Use Your Illusion I
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lose Your Delusions, Axl, March 30, 2005
This review is from: Use Your Illusion I (Audio CD)
Yeah, this is good.

Of course, no matter how good the opening 14 tracks may be (and apart from Bad Apples, The Garden and Don't Damn Me, they are all excellent) nothing can hold a candle to Dead Horse and Coma. These are two very underrated tracks. Dead Horse has a great acoustic intro, leading up to some devilishly catchy hard rock. A great solo just completes the package.

And we move on to Coma. What can I say? If Estranged (similarly epic, equally excellent) is a song of lost love and catharsis, this is some sort of weird acid trip through Axl's messed up mind. A kick-ass riff, some haunting lyrics and wonderful musicianship throughout combine to make this possible the second best song G'n'R ever laid down, after Estranged. I love the claustrophobic edge this song has, the weird dangerous vibe. Listen to it on headphones, and you will be thinking about it for days. Similar to Pearl Jam's "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me" in that regard, but Coma is actually a song. And what a song.

Even without the other 14 tracks, these two songs would make this a must-have record. So Axl, if you've got any brain cells left, quit your belly aching and make some decent glam rock like you and the boys used to. Velvet Revolver are really showing you up at the moment.

Use Your Illusion II
Use Your Illusion II
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lose Your Delusions, Axl, March 30, 2005
This review is from: Use Your Illusion II (Audio CD)
Okay, I can admit that out of 14 tracks, there are 3 skippable songs (Get In The Ring, Shotgun Blues and My World).

But when a band like G'n'R puts together 11 songs as unbelieveably diverse, and consistently excellent, as these tunes, you have an instant classic on your hands. The sleaze from Appetite and UYI 1 have almost disappeared, leaving some epic songwriting and awesome guitar work from the superlative-defying duo of Slash & Izzy.

1 Civil War: 10/10 - Whoa. What an opener. From the Cool Hand Luke excerpt to the wonderful guitar virtuosity, to the genuinely touching lyrics, this is an epic unlike any other anti-war song.

2 14 Years: 9/10 - A great little blues rock, honky tonk number, giving Izzy room to shine.

3 Yesterdays: 10/10 - A lovely ballad, with some nice harmonies and a great video.

4 Knockin On Heaven's Door: 9/10 - Overplayed, over-rated and SO much better live, it still merits a 9/10 for turning a mediocre Dylan number into an incandescent glam rocker.

5 Get In The Ring: 4/10 - Embarrassing lyrics, hilarious rant, actually quite good music, but still near unlistenable.

6 Shotgun Blues: 4/10 - Like a bad rash, the embarrassing lyrics just wouldn't go away until...

7 Breakdown: 10/10 - Nice banjo intro! This is a genuinely beautiful song, if you ignore the weird deep voice in the chorus, which is totaly out of place.

8 Pretty Tied Up: 9/10 - Izzy wrote this one, and it rocks the bells! A verse on S&M, a verse on the decline of the band and a verse on the dangers of fame, all "tied up" (sorry) to a hard-rockin classic.

9 Locomotive: 10/10 - In no way overlong. The lyrics are actually wonderful, the music is funky, almost reminiscent of Rocket Queen in that regard. The piano outro is gorgeous.

10 So Fine: 10/10 - Duff, take a bow, my man! This is a beautiful piece of balladry, interspersed with great blues rock. Written for Johnny Thunders, but listen to it with a special someone in mind, and it makes so much sense.

11 Estranged: ?/10 - How high can you count? An awe-inspiring piece of work. Music as art, art as catharsis. Too many highlights to number, but special mention to THAT guitar solo, after Axl sings 'And what for?' Axl and Slash prove they've got the goods to rival any frontman/guitarist duo, ever. That means Page/Plant, Jagger/Richards, Tyler/Perry etc. I really can't put into words how impossible it is to over-rate this song. It is pure emotion on a little shiny disc, perhaps only matched by Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog for sheer beauty.

12 You Could Be Mine: 10/10 - A classic hard-rocker, sleazy, arrogant and brilliant for it. If you liked You're Crazy, this goes even further into pure sexed-up glam rock.

13 Don't Cry: 9/10 - The original would get 10/10, because I prefer the lyrics, but as long as that solo is still there, I'm not complaining. A truly excellent power ballad, I could do without the strange extended 'toniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight' at the end. But if you think that's bad...

14 My World: 0/10 - I refuse to consider this a G'n'R song. Axl, if you think going in this direction is going to top what the boys have done with Velvet Revolver, you're sadly mistaken. No one wants to hear another lame rap-rock crossover act.

So, with G'n'R losing control over Axl, and the birth of grunge, this was the last classic album from the boys as a whole. Of course, everyone who has released an album since has managed to recapture some of the glory. Snakepit, any Stradlin solo LP, and of course, Velvet Revolver are all glorious rock records, and I can say from experience that VR are a top-notch live act. So Axl, get your act together fast, or you will lose all the status uo rightly deserve.

No Code
No Code
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most of you are wrong!, February 16, 2005
This review is from: No Code (Audio CD)
Let me start by saying that this is a wonderful album, as many reviewers have rightly said. It is not similar to any great extent to previous work, and is perhaps, better for it.

It starts off with the gentle Sometimes, leading into the frenetic romance of Hail Hail.

Then, PJ struck gold. Who You Are is just a really pretty song, end of story. I don't care if it isn't the next Alive. It isn't supposed to be!

Of course, In My Tree is a magical song, that really cheers you up when you're low.

Smile, I don't get. It's a good song and all, but it falls short of greatness. There is no cigar. Off He Goes, however, is a soft, touching masterpiece.

Habit is heavy. Not outstanding, but it's Pearl Jam - their worst is another's pipe dream.

Now, into the CD's best phase.

Red Mosquito features some excellent lyrics and one hell of a guitar workout from Mike. Moving on into Lukin, which is both a pummelling punk fury, and a hilarios shout-a-thon.

Present Tense is gorgeous, start to finish. Interestingly spare instrumentation at the start. Mankind is a poppy, singalong wonder, featuring Mr. Gossard on vocals, and he does a great job.

Now, this is where my headline comes into play, and where a lot of reviewers slip up. This is not a failed attempt at living up to 'rock' expectations, this is a beautiful, ambient work of art, cementing Vedder's status as a literary genius.

End excellent phase.

Around the Bend is genle, and sweet, but nothing extraordinary. I think I'm Open would have made for a more interesting end to the album. Anyone who doesn't like it, listen to it alone in a dark room. You'll see.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystalline Fuzz - my strange religion, December 17, 2004
This review is from: Bubblegum (Audio CD)
I bought this album on the strength of the two singles - Sideways in Reverse + Hit the City. As such, I was expecting a bluesy, fuzzy, rocky ride through the underground.

It isn't quite what I expected. Every song has its own unique sound, no two songs sound alike, and each one has its own story to tell.

The two singles are brilliant, fuzzed-up blues underground glam rock, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Imagine the Velvet Underground on even more chemicals, and you've got Hit The City.

Immediate highlight is Methamphetamine Blues, just for the driving, shipyard drumbeat, and the drawling lyrics.

"Keep a lock on the kitchen / Do this for your daddy /

I'll do it daddy / Eyes wide open, keep my shotgun loaded"

Another highlight is Strange Religion, featuring Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan. This is a tender, touching moment, full of introspective lyrics and gentle arrangements.

One of my favourite parts of the album is Out of Nowhere, specifically, the piano break. On a fairly downbeat song, the piano plays a lovely, uplifting melody, which pleased me immensely.

Don't expect a straightforward rock record - don't expect anything straightforward. This is a unique CD, with great songwriting, singing and most importantly, a tangible atmosphere.

Lanegan proves his genius many times over on this album, and you'd be remiss to ignore it.

Temple Of The Dog
Temple Of The Dog
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stardog Champions, August 24, 2004
This review is from: Temple Of The Dog (Audio CD)
Having been born late enough to pretty much completely miss the 'grunge' era, and having to suffer the horrific state of late 90's 'music', I only discovered Temple of the Dog last October.


This is an unbelieveable achievement. If this was a debut album rather than a one-off tribute, I'd say Temple of the Dog would be emblazoned on nearly everyone's mind by now.

It's too bad that the reason for this album is as tragic as it is. Mother Love Bone's resident genius, Andrew Wood, OD'd on heroin.

It seems wrong to take such delight in what is quite clearly Chris, Stone and Jeff mourning their good friend, but when an album contains such highlights as Call Me A Dog, Times of Trouble and Say Hello to Heaven, who can resist?

Of course, the track most people will buy the album for (myself included) is Hunger Strike, and this song more than lives up to whatever hype you've heard. A beautiful, haunting song, tender as only Chris' lyrics can be. The wonderful vocal harmonies Chris and Eddie serve up have to be heard to be believed.

This album is as touching as any rock album has ever been. Don't look at it as a grunge CD, or a rock CD, or even a eulogy to a late prodigy. Look at this as the work of art it truly is.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stone Roses?, August 23, 2004
This review is from: Contraband (Audio CD)
I think I had every right to be excited about this album. Having heard Set Me Free, at the end of The Hulk, and Slither, from its heavy rotation on Kerrang! TV, I knew in my heart that this band had the poential to be *the* rock n roll band of the 21st Century.

Boy, was I ever right!!! Along with Brides of Destruction and Audioslave, VR are leading the way for rock supergroups. Track after track of straightforward rock, with just enough of GnR's and STP's legacies to keep fans happy, while also establishing a unique VR sound.

1:Sucker Train Blues--10/10

A storming opener to the album, with excellent lyrics and mighty riffing. A good indictation of what's to come.

2:Do It For The Kids--9/10

Another great song, perhaps not quite the blitzkrieg Sucker Train Blues was. Still, as Weiland spits out his punkish vocals and Slash, Duff, Matt and Dave do their thing, you can't help but think 'I wish all music could be as good as this.'

3:Big Machine--9/10

Wow. Listen to that bassline. Brilliant, subversive lyrics are spewn out over a really punky song.

4:Illegal I Song--10/10

Matt takes frontseat with an unblieveable drum beat here. Melodic but heavy, radio-friendly, but with that VR 'F-U' attitude.


Another great song, not quite brilliant, but with a great rhythm and a neat solo from Mr. Hudson.

6:Fall To Pieces--10/10

Thank you Velvet Revolver for providing the new millennium with its first superb power ballad. Heartfelt lyrics about love and drugs (and the love of drugs) over a trademark Slash melody and an awe-insipiring solo.


Perhaps the weakest song on the album, but still a rather brilliant tune. Hair-rasing riff.


A very original song, very fresh. Another song about drugs. That makes a total of eight so far...:-)

9:Set Me Free--10/10

Quality riff--check out the bassline--and a supreme solo from Slash make this a stadium anthem for the ages.

10:You Got No Right--10/10

A power ballad par excellence. Very 60's, with a nice acoustic build-up into a distorted chorus, and a refreshingly singable solo from Slash. The second superb ballad, along with Fall To Pieces.


When I first heard this song at about 10:15 on a Saturday morning, I thought I was dreaming. An effortlessly memorable riff, a sing-along chorus, all building up to...

Oh. My. God. That SOLO!!! A screaming, heart-pounding adrenaline-rush made of pure, undiluted guitar genius.

One of the greatest rock songs ever written.

12:Dirty Little Thing--10/10

This calls to mind 'It's So Easy' and 'Sex Type Thing' for me. Is there any praise higher?

13:Loving the Alien--10/10

Scott's lyrics are the focal point here, as he considers his addictions, his failings, and his future. All of this over a gentle acoustic backing, with a GnR-esque guitar line. Yet another classic solo from Slash makes this the third superb ballad of the millennium.


A great, fun song to end the album. The first time I heard this I honestly thought it was Johnny Rotten 'singing'. Weiland nails his English sneer perfectly.

So this album isn't Appetite. Well, tough, cos it doesn't even try to be. VR flat out refuse to live in the past, and are better for it. This is a modern rock album, with a strong drugged-out feel to it. The musicianship, the lyrics and the attitude are all in place.

All we need now is the second album. And the third, and the fourth, and the...

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