GUNS N’ ROSES – Hard Skool EP (2022)
We’re now five years and change into the GUNS N’ ROSES “reunion” – either three-fifths of the Appetite for Destruction lineup or two-thirds of the Use Your Illusions incarnation. Rumours have abounded for years with this latest version releasing new material but we’ve not actually heard anything of substance. In the meantime, both Slash and Duff McKagan have released albums under their own names and toured them.
But now 2022 seems the band is fnally working on a full album, and meanwhile they are releasing the 4-track EP titled ”Hard Skool”.
Opening with the title track, it’s really welcomed that Guns N’ Roses have released a song which stands shoulder-to-shoulder with their golden era of the late 80s and early 90s.
As the song opens with a gnarly punk-fuelled bassline from Duff McKagan, he’s joined by a signature Slash riff, containing hints of Conspirators and Ain’t Life Grand-era Slash’s Snakepit. But it’s also charged with the thrashy aggression of Appetite and the complexity of Illusions towards the solo. There’s also some fairly simple yet elegant drum work in the vein of Steven Adler, albeit here it’s provided by Frank Ferrer but it still provides that layer of authenticity.
The aptly-named “Absurd”, is a re-working of “Silkworms” from the Chinese Democracy era. Running with a relentless riff from Slash and Axel’s most ferocious vocal since their debut (or possibly ever), this is a seismic sledgehammer to the senses, an adrenaline soaked rocket ride that roars and moves at nose-bleeding speed from the off.
Some might complain that this doesn’t sound like “classic” Gn’R, but there really is no way that they – or indeed anyone else – is ever going to be able to top that legacy material. So, it would appear that the reunited and rejuvenated band aren’t going to even try. Instead Absurd does something totally different, making Guns N’ Roses sound genuinely pumped up, aggressive and full of boisterous energy.
Completing the EP there’s live versions of “Don’t Cry” and “You’re Crazy”. Recording date are not specified, but both sound very well with the band in top form.
1. Hard Skool
3. Don’t Cry (Live)
4. You’re Crazy (Live)
Axl – vocals
Slash – guitar
Frank Ferrer – drums