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July 23rd, 1987
Thorn To Be Wild (Appetite For Destruction review)
Kerrang! No.151 July 23 - August 5, 1987

'Appetite For Destruction'
(Geffen WX 125)

'TALKIN' 'BOUT our degeneration'

How very apt, how very, very apt! Kerrang!'s front cover feature on Guns n' Roses (issue 148) couldn't have summed up the latest swing on the musical pendulum any better.

Start licking those lips, sleaze pleazers, for rock 'n' roll is being most definitely wrestled from the hands of the bland, the jaded, the tired, the worn, and thrust back into the hands of the real raunch rebels.

Sure, there's Faster Pussycat, there's LA Guns, there's Cathouse, but it's Guns n' Roses, the five-piece, LA-based Brat Pack that's out there in front right now, ripping up tarmac and burning rubber as they hot-foot it to the top, leaving the competition gazing in awe at their tail-lights. Shooting stars? You betcha!

You got the taste for what was to come with the band's four-track 'Live ?!*@ Like A Suicide' EP and you suspected that with the backing of a major label and a major budget you'd get something pretty special at the end of the line. And did we get something special? DID WE GET SOMETHING SPECIAL? Do I wear my hair long? Do I like rock 'n' roll? Of course, we got something specialand its name is 'Appetite For Destruction'!

It's amazing, really. What with their hi-profile penchant for excess and indulgence of the strictly illegal variety, I'd hardly credit the five-man outfit of guitarists Izzy Stradlin and Slash, bassist Duff McKagen, drummer Steven Adler and vocalist W. Aid Rose (real names one 'n' all, I assure you!) with having taken the time to sit down and learn to play this good, to write songs so infuriatingly catchy and yet as hard as railroad steel! How they've done it is a mystery to me, but done it they most certainly have and if I were to say this is the most exciting rock release of the past three years would you believe me? I'd say you bloody well should!

Did you notice that I said 'rock record'? Ya did? Good, because anyone who thinks they'll be getting a Heavy Metal album from Guns n' Roses is gonna be sorely mistaken, sorely disappointed! 'Appetite . . .'is so captivating, so enthralling, so Goddamn exciting, because it's so flexible, a veritable musical roller-coaster ride that dips and pivots, twists and turns and provides thrills and spills from head to toe, top to bottom. The Roses can switch from the pure balls-to-the-wall anger of'You're Crazy' (complete with cerebrally stimulating 'You're f**kin' crazy' chant!) to the Summery charm of 'Child Of Mine' without losing even a pinch of the band's essence. You can bet your ass that these boys have a wide and varied record collection.

But if you don't like rock 'n' roll, then just forget it. This is attitude music through-and-through, a lethal cocktail that can use as many tricks as it likes (voice box on 'Anything Goes', for example) and still come stomping out of the corner with 'ATTITUDE' etched on its musical forehead!

What these boys wanna talk about is the sleazy side of life, living in the gutter and getting by on an excessive combination of cursin' and boozin'!

The band's current single, 'It's So Easy' pays no heed to the 'necessary' niceties of being airplay-orientated, Axl yelling 'so f**kin'easy' enough to guarantee no radio exposure whatsoever, while 'Night Train' pays joyous tribute to the beauty of the bottle, secondhand Aerosmith riffs bludgeoning you into submission with elegant ease.

This is not a nice record, but when did anything worthwhile ever come along without the two necessary ingredients of pleasure and pain? Oh yeah, if it's sleazy, then Guns N' Roses put their noses on the line for it.

I've been told that 'Mr. Brownstone' is a drug-orientated opus, but illegal substances ain't slowing this troupe down none! 'My Michelle', meanwhile, recounts a sordid tale of a hot baby whose daddy works in porno after her poor mama got hooked on heroin and copped it! It's not pretty, but then again life ain't pretty and it's the X-rated stuff that seems curiously appealing!

You lot out there know that I'm hardly the most liberal man on earth when it comes to dishing out that magikal Five-'K' accolade, but in the case of 'Appetite For Destruction', I have no hesitation in letting it all hang out.


Thanks to Brendan.


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