The top hat-sporting rocker’s fifth album opens with the surging The River Is Rising. His savage guitar intro flows into vibrant hard rock with its heart firmly in the 1980s. With its melodic vocals and strong chorus, the feel is closer to Britain’s mighty UFO than Slipknot. Naturally, the song speeds up so that Slash, aka Saul Hudson, can metaphorically set his fretboard ablaze.
The album’s template is classic rock, the world’s top-rated stadium rock guitarist working with a first-class vocalist in Boston-born Myles Kennedy.
The Alter Bridge singer once recorded with Led Zeppelin, stoking rumours he might replace Robert Plant in a mooted Noughties reincarnation that never quite happened.
There is an occasional echo of Zeppelin here, too. Songs including Whatever Gets You Down and C’est La Vie smash in with fearsomely dark chords that give way to relatively restrained verses and radio-friendly choruses.
Hardest hitting are the driving April Fool and the biting, riff-propelled Call Off The Dogs. Spirit Love is the most daring, its opening so Middle Eastern you are half expecting sand dancers to shuffle on.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words opens like a hard rock George Harrison, with wah-wah guitar in Ravi Shankar mode.
The gentlest song, Fill My World, is a mid-paced soft rocker with a Guns N’ Roses-style opening ? sweet riff o’ mine? ? and a huge chorus.
Unusually, the album was recorded entirely live in the studio with country producer Dave Cobb.
Stoke-born Slash is channelling his teenage heroes with the tourniquet-tight backing of Todd Kerns, bass, Brent Fitz, drums and Frank Sidoris, rhythm guitar.
This is not risk-taking music. He’s not tearing up any rule books but he’s Slash and he doesn’t need to.