23 October 2019
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
An album that's thoughtful, emotional, expertly crafted and often sublime. Print edition only
This isn’t as immediately powerful or riveting as Love & Hate. But the multifaceted material, along with the pioneering, organic and often offbeat production, grows on you. Listening closely with headphones heightens and intensifies the experience
Kiwanuka is loaded with memorable songs, but the best way to experience them is by listening to the album from start to finish. Print edition only
However bad things get, Kiwanuka wants you to feel better. Print edition only
Meredith's precision helps control the fun, but this is another buoyant invention from her musical lab. Print edition only
Like its predecessor, FIBS is a stubbornly uncategorisable hybrid of styles, tempos and angles on the traditional "song." Print edition only
Far from feeling like a jumbled assortment of styles, FIBS feels more like a sprawling spectrum that hits a spot somewhere between the irresistible and the intriguing
Loud And Quiet
Finds the singer-songwriter continuing to defy genre and break the rules.
A maximal and intricate album that blurs boundaries between the organic and electronic
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Colorado makes good on Young's promise that rust never sleeps — turns out, it gets better with age
There Existed An Addiction To Blood
Clipping expertly use horrorcore to deliver politically pointed hip hop
Giants of All Sizes
Elbow plant their feet and sing out defiantly with love.
It's an album that keeps it pretty simple, staves off the sadness with a hearty riff or two and delivers old-fashioned fun by the ferry-load
Under The Radar
The album’s direst moments are still refreshing because they find Young doing whatever the hell he wants to
Floating Points' Crush is an album of profound contrasts. For every track designed to electrify the dancefloor, there is a gentle sweeping orchestral piece
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
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
D'Angelo And The Vanguard
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
You Want It Darker
Carrie & Lowell