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ISSUE #134
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ArrowA NEW YEAR'S GREETING from Mohammed Ajmal Kasab Iman
The last Mumbai terrorist says hi!

ArrowTHE BEAST 50 MOST LOATHSOME PEOPLE IN AMERICA, 2008
Get ready to write an angry e-mail

ArrowSTUPID, or HOW TO LOSE MONEY RUNNING A SPEED LAB
Part III:
John Dolan

ArrowCHANGE YOU CAN SMOKE?
Is Obama smart enough to end the drug war?
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowINVASION OF THE OUTSIDERS
A people's plague
Anchor Downs

ArrowHOW TO RUN AN ELECTION
Minnesota gets it right
Brad Friedman

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 5
Race-baiting Hysteric

ArrowWaxy Beast: Music Reviews
by Eric Lingenfelter

ArrowKino Kwikees: Movie Trailer Reviews
by Michael Gildea

ArrowBEAST-O-SCOPES!
Your completely accurate horoscope

[sic] - Your letters

 

Guns ‘n’ Roses, Chinese Democracy (Geffen)

O glorious day, you have arrived.

W. Axl Rose, the Howard Hughes of cock rock, has finally seen fit to bless the world with his magnum opus, to lift us up from the doldrums of modern rock mediocrity. Now we, the unwashed, Dr. Pepper-swilling, Best Buy-shopping masses, have the grand opportunity to drink in the aural Courvoisier that is his singular, unencumbered musical genius.

Hallelujah.

I feel that mere description would do an album -- nay, an event -- of this scope a major disservice. To fully convey the feeling that one gets upon experiencing this piece of rock and roll history, I would have to be able to manipulate your brain to play the introduction to “Also sprach Zarathustra” (that’s “Ric Flair’s entrance theme” to those of you who aren’t up on your Nietzsche-inspired, late 19th century German classical music) in your head while inducing a slow-burning sexual arousal, building up the pleasure along with the music and culminating in most mind-melting orgasm of your life, timed precisely with the final “BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” of the “baaaaaah, baaaaaaaaaaaaah, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” that brings the piece to a close.

Alas, an all-in-one device that would allow me to do those things in the precise manner that I require has yet to be invented and I have no formal psychic training, so I cannot communicate the supreme splendor of this work in the way that would be most illustrative of its life-altering greatness. I have only the English language and the paucity of emotions that it can express at my disposal. But I will try my best.

To refer to this album as anything less than the greatest of all time would be an insult on par with telling your firstborn daughter that she was the unwanted by-product of a six-pack of Schlitz and a broken condom.

This album is more classic than Sgt. Peppers. It’s more diverse than London Calling. It’s more metal than Reign in Blood. It’s more rockin’ than Highway to Hell. It’s more gangsta than Straight Outta Compton. If Iron Maiden had 666, the Number of the Beast, than Axl has 667, the Number of the Best. Because that’s what this album is. The best.

But I’ll go even further than that. Chinese Democracy is nothing less than the greatest all-around achievement in the history of human endeavors, more awesome than the wheel, the Sistine Chapel, raspberry sorbetto, and the Nintendo Entertainment System combined.

This album is more epic than The Lord of the Rings. It’s more compact than a haiku. It’s cheesier than Flash Gordon. It’s weightier than Schindler’s List. It’s more soulful than James Brown. It’s more schmaltzy than Billy Joel. It’s gayer than Liberace. It’s straighter than Wilt Chamberlain. It’s whiter than an albino goth chick. It’s blacker than the soul of Jesse Helms. It’s more overrated than losing your virginity. It’s more underrated than losing your virginity. It’s more human than human. It’s more anything than everything ever.

Axl, you are God.

No. Scratch that. You’re better than God.

You are Axl Rose.

Amen.

Chinese Democracy gets a rating of 14 years, $13 million, 14 recording studios, 12 officially credited band members, 54 additional studio personnel (orchestral arrangers, classical instrumentalists, digital editors, initial producers, additional producers, recording engineers, engineering assistants, etc.), and one barely audible Sebastian Bach, who supposedly sings backup on track 10.

 

The Bronx, The Bronx (III) (White Drugs)

Sometimes, I kind of regret taking those first steps down the road to music snobbery.

Don’t get me wrong. Good things happened while I followed that path. I discovered some incredible musicians. I made some good friends (though a few turned out to be not-so-good). I went to some great shows. I got drunk at some excellent parties. I conned a local magazine into thinking that my opinions are worth paying for. I (mostly) figured myself out.

Music has made my life better, and I say that without a hint of irony.

But, as always, there’s a flip side. Sturgeon’s Law says that 90 percent of everything is crap. So it follows that as you expose yourself to more stuff, you expose yourself to more crap. And not only that, but as you dig up more of the good stuff, the stuff that you thought was the good stuff suddenly doesn’t seem so good anymore.

And so it goes with my listening habits. The more music I come across, the harder it is to find something that hits all the right notes. Stuff that would have made me bounce around like a sugar-filled kindergartener a few years ago barely makes me nod my head today because I’ve heard so much other stuff that’s just like it. Old favorites become old hat when I realize how boring and half-assed they are compared to my new favorites. What I used to think was the shit is now just plain shit.

And so I look for more, better music, like a tweaker in search of the ultimate crank, the shit that’s gonna fly him straight up to methhead nirvana, never to return.

It’s kind of depressing. That is, it is until I find that new, higher high. And, oh boy, have I ever fucking found it.

Boys and girls, meet the Bronx, L.A.’s most well-oiled, well-armed rock and roll killing machine. You may have met them before, seeing as how this is their third album (hence the (III)), but say hey again because they’re bigger and badder than ever. And if you’ve never partied with these guys before, be warned. You may wake up three days later feeling like you got headbutted by a rhinoceros, wondering why you’re on the floor of a stranger’s apartment wearing someone else’s pants. Backwards. You may then wonder why the apartment smells like bacon. Or where you met the beautiful woman cooking said bacon. Wearing only an apron. And smiling. At you. You may wonder how your dumb ass got so lucky. You may want to start asking questions. Don’t. Be the smooth motherfucker you aren’t. Just go with it.

What I’m getting at here is that the shit that these guys spit is hot. Like, giving-a-blowjob-to-a-flamethrower hot. They rock like they were born fully formed from the head of Izzy Stradlin, but decided to rebel a little against their traditionalist sire by adding some hardcore punch to their Sunset Strip swagger.

For those who know, they remind me of a more violent Rocket From the Crypt, minus horns, plus throat-shredding screamsinging that’ll make you want to suck a sympathy lozenge. For those who don’t, you’ll just have to listen to understand.

So listen. And understand. Don’t question. Just do it.

The Bronx (III) gets a rating of bacon, my highest possible rating.

 



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