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Chinese Democracy – was it all worth it?

by Vadim Kolchev
Chinese Democracy Album Cover

Seems like Guns’n’Roses are around for quite a long time and it is really so. That’s why it is strange to realize that only the 6th album of the group saw light in the year of 2008.

In the past, having played many covers, beginning from Civil War and November Rain and ending with well-known Don’t Cry and Paradise City, and of course listening to all those albums a lot, Guns’n’Roses even for me as an adolescent seemed a top band, however, slightly behind well-known classics.

So I actually don’t know how I missed their new album in the year of 2008 – the one that was called Chinese Democracy, that was out after 15 years of silence. It is really the first studio album after Spaghetti Incident.

I will push a little bit forward and say that Guns’n’Roses succeeded in bringing me back to the great atmosphere of 80s and 90s, reminding of those great days. However, let’s start from the beginning.

Of course, being late for 10 years to listen to this album is no fun. No, of course I knew that the album was out, but kept forgetting and postponing. Well, it was finally the time.

It is interesting that the recording contain valuable help of guitarists Dave Navarro and Brian May and vocalist Sebastian Bach. The album should have been out in the year of 1999, however it was postponed and finally re-recorded. It was out in 2008, as I have already stated, and has arguably become the most expensive record in terms of production (according to rumours, something like 13 million dollars has been spent on it).

The album is opened by a title track that reminded me of It’s So Easy composition. The same not precise Axl Rose vocals that is somewhat dirty – a certain business card. This composition did not contain any high notes and I just wondered if Axl is still capable of them (and yes, he was good at it during the glory days).

However, the second one, Shackler’s Revenge, made my question fully answered and in a quite positive way. It is very dynamic with great rhythm section that is covered by virtuoso lead guitar passages, bringing a certain color to it.

There has also been found a place for great ballads that, as I consider, reveal the potential of any band. First to note is Street Of Dreams (however some may argue it is not a pure ballad) and on hearing it I felt familiar goosebumps over my skin.

If The World is also quite interesting composition, beginning with nylon guitar playing some Arab motif. The first verse, however, made me check what I am listening to – it so resembled the new guys I like – Greta van Fleet. But no, I still listened to Chinese Democracy. Upon the whole it sounded fresh and modern, somewhat unusual in terms of Guns’n’Roses style.

I will not hide my love to piercing rock ballads and will say that This I Love became real diamond for me – it made me feel all the feelings the band wanted me to experience.

To sum up – Chinese Democracy is good album of great level without any real downsides. It is worth listening to and I can say I have spent time right.

Enjoy the music!

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