4 July 2020
Here's how it works: The Recent Releases chart brings together critical reaction to new albums from more than 50 sources worldwide. It's updated daily. Albums qualify with 5 reviews, and drop out after 6 weeks into the longer timespan charts.
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Eventual third album from the rock giants, a mere 17 years after Use Your Illusion
Let's get right to it: The first Guns n' Roses album of new, original songs since the first Bush administration is a great, audacious, unhinged and uncompromising hard-rock record.
The music toggles between two primary modes: grinding industrial rock and keys-and-strings balladry.
The songs are epic, long-winded, cleverly stitched together, and subject to constant mood-swings - much like Rose himself.
These aren't songs, they're suites, energetic and skittering and unpredictable hard rock hydras cut with miasmic industrial grind, stadium rattling metal solos, electronic drift and hip-hop churn.
So rather than taking popular music one step forward, it's an unashamed Nineties rock album, hence the grunge tinge to Shackler's Revenge and the gigantic ballads Street Of Dreams and There Was a Time.
The stomping of an imperial army on the march? Or a nod to the self-serious metal monoliths of the '90s - less hair and more scare, perhaps?
Chinese Democracy's Finnegans Wake-esque gestation means that each track is dense, heavy and will take multiple listens to unravel.
Clearly not the greatest rock album ever made, but nor is it an absolute and utter failure.
Woefully flabby in places... but there are still enough momentary flashes of the old steel that made the Appetite for Destruction so good.
Packs both volume and aggression, but its pleasures are buried in the rubble of 14 different studios and a surfeit of Nine Inch Nails-style industrial rock
It would be a miracle of Sistine proportions if this album amounted to anything coherent and consistent since 1991.
The only laughs are unintentional
Let it be known: ‘Chinese Democracy’ is not the disaster it could have been. Not quite.
Guns N' Roses: Chinese Democracy
Keleketla! breeds an impossibly enticing sense of hope that one day things might be better
Loud And Quiet
Some tracks lean too far towards tastefully decaffeinated worldbeat. But there are soulful depths and deliciously supple rhythms too. Print edition only
Galvanising, jazzy embrace of call-and-response tradition. Print edition only
Provides a stirring reminder of how cross-cultural encounters spark new musical forms. Print edition only
Keleketla! is a powerful combination of activism and musical exploration, bonding the sounds of several locations and eras in order to express messages of joy, optimism, and revolution
With contributions from over 20 artists, including such musical giants as Tony Allen and Thabang Tabana, Keleketla! is a collaboration of rare magnitude. It is at once a celebration and a call to action
Coldcut and an inspiring array of South African and British musicians – plus the late Tony Allen – combine on this beguiling album
So When You Gonna...
Though it's very different from Dream Wife, So When You Gonna… is just as genuine, and the duality in Dream Wife's music only makes them a more interesting, and more relevant, band
With a limitless blend of genres, there are songs that your pop princess can access alongside her punk sister, uniting them in their struggle
The record dazzles with its detail, beguiles with its lyrical performances and leaves a lasting impression with powerful songwriting
What's Your Pleasure?
The UK singer offers her own emotionally charged spin on classic club music
Full of prodigious riffs, intoxicating vocals and a narrative you just can't ignore, So When You Gonna… exemplifies just what happens when talent meets passion
A fascinating time capsule delivered passionately and faithfully
The main caveat is that Chester’s vocals and melodies just aren’t up to snuff here; they perpetuate an unflinching feeling of rough demo ideas, or things that just weren’t good enough to see the light of day twenty-some years ago
Sputnik Music (staff)
Notably, Chester’s son, Jaime Bennington, also contributes some guest vocals and while all of this is new, Chester’s vocals are – crucially – his original ‘90s recordings. And the power and emotion that would go on to define his music for years to come are abundantly, and often jaw-droppingly, present
Since we've been around, that is. So, the highest-rated albums from the past eight years or so. Rankings are calculated to two decimal places.
To Pimp A Butterfly
Fetch The Bolt Cutters
D'Angelo And The Vanguard
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Rough and Rowdy Ways
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy