26 June 2022
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
A record that doesn’t just thrill, but empowers too, it’s enough to put MUNA firmly amongst the highest echelon of modern pop bands. Quite possibly the album of the year so far
Its musical brightness and self-acceptance are the album’s defining characteristics
Loud And Quiet
Arriving at the tail-end of pride month, but at the beginning of Summer, MUNA is the best soundtrack one can find for the next few months. Seemingly destined to join the canon of pop’s great cult-classics (Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion, Robyn’s Body Talk, among them), it’s an album whose legacy should last much longer
Beats Per Minute
Transporting us to a different, brighter, louder, prouder, and safer place
It’s a perfectly produced summer album that allows desire to drive decisions, but most of all, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun
MUNA bring fun and lush arrangements to their self-titled third album
After being dropped by their label the three-piece had to regroup – but find a new level of freedom in this liberating era
A celebratory expression of queer love that loses none of the trio’s magic
MUNA is all killer no filler
The Line Of Best Fit
An album of dense atmospherics and piercing emotional clarity. Print edition only
A beautiful return marked by intricate introspection
Hercules & Love Affair
On In Amber, Butler ventures into new emotional landscapes with passion and an open heart. At times, these feelings are left unanswered, or incomplete; in an album rich with stories, the ending is still unclear
Ugly Season is a scenic route to the world’s end that finds hope in bodily beauty, however ravaged
Ultimately, Sometimes, Forever is a portrait of an artist careworn beyond her years “I’m just 22 going on 23/ Already worn down from everything,” she sings on Feel It All the Time
As the shadows deepen on Sophie Allison’s third album, she sees into the lie on the other side of success: You can win, but you still have to live with yourself
Since we've been around, that is. So, the highest-rated albums from the past twelve 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
Rough and Rowdy Ways
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
We’re All Alone In This Together