Appetite for Destruction

Guns N Roses

Review score: 92%

Review Date: August 2012
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

Amazon UK: Buy CD | Buy MP3 / Amazon US: Buy CD | Buy MP3

Ah, Guns N' Roses, what a great band. I first saw them live at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington in 1988. Hadn't heard any Guns N' Roses numbers before the concert, so it was amazing to hear them playing their Appetite for Destruction set. The following week I went out and purchased the Appetite for Destruction CD. In fact, this album has the honour of being the very first CD I ever purchased as I moved away from vinyl.

Back in the eighties there was something fresh and a bit different about this now classic album. Guns N' Roses band members certainly appeared to live the hard rock lifestyle, and the music blatantly reflects that. Profanity filled stuff, the sort of music to attract parental warnings and notifications of 'explicit' lyrics.

The highlights for me are:

Welcome to the Jungle

Appetite for Destruction opens with this terrific hit. I loved the video at the time, Axl Rose getting off the bus in the big city – LA - , to be told by a stranger 'You know where you are? You're in the jungle!" OK, my memory is a bit hazy after around a quarter century, but I seem to recall rock legend Alice Cooper praising up Welcome to the Jungle, and how Axl found a little room to act during the start of the video. It's a gritty, energetic rock song about being in a scary, unfamiliar place, brought to life by the Gunners.

Nightrain

A catchy number, forgive me if this is sacrilege to you, but I found it softer rock and reminiscent of the prevalent glam rock sound at the time. Loved the lyrics though – 'Loaded like a freight train' Nightrain screams about addiction and decadence.

Out Ta Get Me

If I hadn't heard it before and someone played Out Ta Get Me then from the guitar sound alone I would swear that this was an AC/DC number, and a good one at that. It's not until Axl's trademark vocals kick in that you recognise Guns N' Roses. Love it.

Paradise City

Listening to this memorable Guns N' Roses classic today brings back bitter-sweet memories of that historic day at Donington Monsters of Rock, darkened by tragic deaths of two fans who were crushed at the front of the crowd.

My friends and I were safely located a long way back from the stage (a big 'Hi' to Mark, Brian and Vicky if you are reading this). We knew something was wrong at the front but had no idea how serious until a white-faced teenage lad staggered towards us from the front , picked an empty patch of grass a couple of feet away from me, sat down exhausted and burst into tears. Paradise City was a hit single at the time. The album version is longer than the UK single, and features the full guitar solo.

Sweet Child O' Mine

Another hit single, this one instantly recognisable from Slash's now famous guitar intro. Seems like common wisdom at the time was that every rock album needed a ballad, and this is the one picked for Appetite for Destruction. It's a great soft rock song full of aching passion and quality musicianship. But then you probably know Sweet Child O' Mine already, right?

Rocket Queen

Ooh, how naughty missus - mixing those sounds into the middle of a hard rock number? Rocket Queen is a fantastic melodic rock song and might have made a great single. It brings the album to a memorable close whilst leaving the lyrics looping in your head.

Cover Art

My UK version of the CD had a really good cover, caricatures of band member's skulls set on a cross. This image replaced the artwork originally intended, which was considered too controversial to use. Both made good t-shirt designs at the time though...

Conclusion

Love this album! It brings back many memories. The music is fantastic, Appetite for Destruction showcases Guns N' Roses rocking hard at a time when the mainstream US rock reaching here was becoming softer (glam) and commercial. Without a doubt I would include Appetite for Destruction in a list of 'albums you must hear before you die'. A classic debut album from the talented Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler. Highly recommended.

Buy Now! Amazon UK: Buy CD | Buy MP3 / Amazon US: Buy CD | Buy MP3


Track List (may vary)

  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • It's So Easy
  • Nightrain
  • Out Ta Get Me
  • Mr. Brownstone
  • Paradise City
  • My Michelle
  • Think About You
  • Sweet Child O' Mine
  • You're Crazy
  • Anything Goes
  • Rocket Queen