[ALBUM REVIEW] Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators – Living The Dream

Living The Dream Track Listing:
The Call Of The Wild
Serve You Right
My Antidote
Mind Your Manners
Lost Inside the Girl
Read Between the Lines
Slow Grind
The One You Loved Is Gone
Driving Rain
Sugar Cane
The Great Pretender
Boulevard of Broken Hearts

Reviewed by Casper De Ro-Ro 

Ready for release on September 21 via Snakepit Records in partnership with Sony Music Australia, few rock aficionados on this earth are not poised in eager anticipation to seize this latest installment and even fewer would not regard Slash himself as a living rock deity.  Early release of Driving Rain has certainly resulted in an unreserved thumbs up from the global rock community but the real excitement is surely that aforementioned eager anticipation of the album played loud and in sequence.  After all, past recordings have seen us all acutely aware that such a sensational living legend as Slash, surrounds himself with only the finest of conspirators when it comes to letting loose on the world the very best of music.   So it will be of little surprise that Myles Kennedy, Todd Kerns (Bass & Vocals, Brent Fitz (Drums), and Frank Sidoris (Guitar & Vocals) have created a truly majestic collection of tracks in Living the Dream that stacks up as a masterclass in heavy rock brilliance.

Renowned visual artist Ron English has created an image for this album that smacks more of a joyful and colourful celebration than the traditional malevolence of a hard rock skull, which is perfectly apt when considering the collection’s title.  The cover simply ‘pops’ as a celebration of Living The Dream indeed but when one first explores the album with opener The Call of The Wild, the true genius of this release begins to unfold.  The perfect producer for an album of this magnitude could be none other than long-time collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette.  There is no one more skilled when it comes to working with the unique vocal genius of Myles Kennedy, so much so that Alter Bridge regard him as the go-to guy for their recordings and Myles himself could rely on no other to produce his long-awaited solo debut, Year Of The Tiger.  Past work with Mark Tremonti and the Tremonti successes enshrined within A Dying Machine, All I Was and Cauterize, his splendid work with Trivium on Silence in the Snow, along with work with Falling In Reverse, Coldtrain, Temple Agents and Sevendust to name a few, are all testament to his masterful skill and his contribution to Living The Dream has obviously been key critical in creating this soaring behemoth of a hard rock heavy hitter.

The southern twang opening proceedings in The Call Of The Wild sets the scene brilliantly and before long the myriad hooks take hold and every ounce of your being is in unbridled celebration that this tremendous collection is yours to realise.

A feeling of bewildered awe wrestles to the fore as the tremendous skill of each protagonist become equally important and various stages of the album.  I found myself uttering ‘dammit’ over and over as the mastery of Todd Kerns and his rhythmic brilliance became the focal point again and again.   Just as the percussive prominence and prowess of Brent Fitz manifest itself as far more than a contributing factor across the collection and one is left wondering if another could have delivered in quite the same way.  Then just as you thought you had settled into an appropriate mindset, Serve You Right compounds the experience of the former and blows you away by setting a whole new standard.  Get your air guitar ready as riffage oozes from your speakers like silky, shimmering molasses of pure perfection.  Some dude pretty good on a guitar seems to be playing here as all within earshot, with grins from ear to ear, burst into my den of toil screaming “OMG is this the new Slash?

My Antidote is such a powerful number wringing with riffage that will resonate for years to come as being of the very finest variety but Frank Sidoris really shines here by holding it all together and harnessing the brilliance into a cohesive and sensational number.  Does Slash know how to pick ‘em or what?

Mind Your Manners is perfectly named, but for mine it’s because listeners will be hard pressed not to be shouting profanity in pure glee as you spin around the room, moshing and rocking your way through this mighty number.  Go on, you just try and sit still. IMPOSSIBLE.

Lost Inside The Girl relaxes the pace but not the powerful performances of each protagonist as a reminder of the tremendous ability of each performer to adapt to any style and a call to diversify.  Slash ‘bleeds’ the angst and feeling from his guitar during the solos that are driven by pure emotion and proves, yet again that he fluent in a language that we all hear, but so few can impart as he orates via six strings emotions that speak directly to your heart and soul.

Head Between The Lines lifts you skyward again with its bluesy drive and sections of creeping doom and foreboding, albeit with Myles shining again like the shimmering star he truly is.  As we explore the Slow Grind, The One You Loved Is Gone and Driving Rain in sequence, the majestic skill of Myles leave you breathless because it’s only now that you realise the unbelievable skills of all the group together have held you captivated the entire album and you are only now able to focus on each protagonists performance individually and enjoy in awe.  Sure, this is the one vocalist who could make Tiptoe Through The Tulips sound like an all class, ballsy rock number and he is undeniably one of the greatest of all time, but listen to Slow Grind and surely feel how Todd takes to the fore and owns this bad boy or how the gentle refrain of The One You Loved Is Gone sees the individual performances of each band member as instrumental in sucking the air from your lungs, swelling the lump in your throat and welling the eyes as you remember him, or her or them.   In fact, at exactly 3.55 you will hear Slash launch your emotions like a phoenix from the ashes of destruction and propel you skyward with the courage to break free from the despair and soar aloft on wings of hope.   Then mop the tear from your face and claim it was nothing more than the Driving Rain as we are returned back to the uplifting celebration of fine music.  The very, very finest and if the early release of this track has seen you one of the 18,000 giving this the thumbs up with a metaphorical ‘fuck yeah!’, then the rest of the album will have you in celebrating in maniacal glee.

Sugar Cane is sweet, sweet ear candy of the most superb variety and as addictive as any other vice. Hook central and splendid from note to note, brilliantly executed and with a revved-up old school rock solo that will drop your jaw in wonderment.  And the backing vocals, DAMN!  This track alone is worth buying the entire album but there are no low points…NONE. This magnificent gem doesn’t let up for a second and just as you thought there could be no more to possibly launch this album to the top of your playlist, another dimension is added with Sugar Cane followed by utterly brilliant The Great Pretender, as I start to feel more than a little bipolar.  This track is truly dazzling in every way possible and every note played to perfection by the perfect performer.  Again, one wonders if anyone but The Conspirators could possibly have brought such raw emotion bleeding to the fore from every pore.  The solos…oh god, the solos.

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams brings the collection to a close brilliantly.  Vocally, musically, lyrically and metaphorically…brilliant. Uplifting and powerful in every possible way.  Reflective of a life lived but angst and urgency built right in to fire you from the album back into the world with a determined hunger to be all you can be ‘my shining star’.

This collection is far more perfect than we could possibly have possibly hoped.  Every track a hit, every note a celebration and yet another step skyward for Slash and The Conspirators as one of the greatest collaborations of all time.  Pin not your hopes and dreams of this album being a repeat of any past recordings.  Rather, prepare to celebrate a conspiracy of command in worldwide musical domination as some of heavy rocks finest, redefine the word brilliant.

Pre – Order Living The Dream HERE