Review: Duff McKagan's Loaded – Sick [2009]

amazon-duff-mcThe latest side project  from Velvet Revolver and ex-Guns N’ Roses bassist, Duff McKagan, delivers a heavy punk rock vibe (“Sick”) and a classic GN’R sound (“I See Through You). Duff McKagan’s Loaded features McKagan on lead vocals, which results in moments of Axl Rose vocal impressions on “Sleaze Factory” and “Wasted Heart.” In fact, it would have been more acceptable and preferable for Chinese Democracy to sound more like Sick. While cliche riffs (“Flatline,” “IOU”), generic beats (“The Slide”), and predictable lyrics (“Mother’s Day”) might fuel this record, these are still the elements we enjoy, expect, and demand from McKagan -Meds

25-stars

1 Comment

  1. Duff McKagan’s Loaded has reassembled seven years after their studio debut Dark Days (and only prior studio full-length) and ten years after forming following the collapse of the monumental Guns N’ Roses era. Even to the Velvet Revolver fan base, this is likely news to practically everyone. There are so many rumors and so much associated hype surrounding the quest for a new singer to front Velvet Revolver that Sick will probably lie under the radar for some time. But with the super group amidst a changing period, it’s the perfect time for McKagan to make some music of his own and get on the map. Even Slash is working on a solo project of his own.

    Going back to Velvet Revolver for a moment, everyone expects a second-coming of Guns N’ Roses, but Loaded is actually more suitable of the tag. They’re more ragged and rock and roll than Velvet Revolver has ever been. It’s just that McKagan and three guys no one knows won’t get as much attention and play because of who they are… or rather, who they aren’t.

    Moving on to Sick, this is even better than Dark Days, which was reasonably good for a side project debut. The sound is a little bluesier this time around, but still maintains punk and rock tones. If only the entire album were like the first half, though. The first six songs are all fast-paced and rockin’, essentially what should be expected. But the second half’s songs vary in style – “Mother’s Day” is a ballad, “I See Through You” has a punk lining, “No More” is grounded with a funky bass line, etc.

    The opener/title track is hasty and a perfect way to kick things off. And “The Slide” would be a welcomed choice as an alternate opener. It’s not as sleazy, but what makes it so strong is McKagan’s lack of range – it actually works in the song’s favor because there’s nothing fancy about the riffing and drumming. Throw it all together and it’s pretty catchy. But speaking of range, “Translucent” is perplexing. Is that Duff? Why can’t he be like that every song? You can feel some emotion and power there, which is impressive for him. The only truly lacking aspect of Sick is a guitar lead. There really isn’t any soloing, and it doesn’t necessarily set the band back, but a solid lead would do nicely.

    Is this a serious band to stick around, though? The answer lies in the fate of Velvet Revolver.

Leave a Reply