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Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

http://music.ign.com/articles/910/910606p1.html

Guns N' Roses - "Shackler's Revenge" Review
Axl takes a trip into hyper industrio pop metal.

by Spence D.

September 16, 2008 - The hype and circumstance surrounding the eventual release of Chinese Democracy is so thick you'd need a chainsaw dosed in napalm, lit on fire, and buzzing at 33,000 RPM just to cut through it.

Axl Rose's charge to resurrect the GnR name in modern times has been plagued by the worst of all demons: delay. For whatever reasons Rose has yet to make good on his promise to release a new GnR album, other than give us a title, a few start-and-stop live shows, and "Shackler's Revenge," the first "official" release from his camp. Keep in mind that even though Rose has jumped on the Rock Bandwagon, he still has yet to announce an official release date for the album (which by all rumored accounts is finished).

Honestly it's tough to review "Shackler's Revenge" without slipping into a slight Op/Ed mode. Furthermore, it's nigh impossible to listen to the "new" GnR and not compare it to the "old" GnR. If Axl didn't want the comparisons he should have jettisoned the name and started fresh (but c'mon, GnR is nothing more than a b(r)and at this stage of the game anyway. Besides since Coke survived the whole "New" versus "Classic" debacle, chances are Rose will ride this one out as well).

To put aside all the baggage that comes with the names Axl Rose and Guns n' Roses'”if only for a moment--and judge the track on a purely musical platform, "Shackler's Revenge" sounds unforgettably dated. The core elements of the track sound as if they have been culled from early NIN, pre-Mechanical Animals Manson, and leftovers from the short-lived Nu Metal push of the late '90s. Toss in some Motley Crue circa Dr. Feelgood and some pop hooks that sound like think Bon Jovi on steroids and you've got the nuts and bolts of the song. It's rife with sorely outdated and somewhat cliché musical ideas; it sounds as if it were recorded 10 years ago, locked away in a vault, and just recently dusted off.

Driving detuned skirl licks and thickly treated wah-wah rhythm guitar kick start the whole affair. Axl's voice starts off in a low Stygian stepchild mumble that eventually fades out to a shell of his former caterwaul greatness. His voice growls, careens, and weaves around the speedball cadence of the music, grinding to the turgid beat with delayed frenzy. More often than not his trademark timbre gets buried underneath a wall of industrial tinged aural slop. Since this is a GnR track and guitar has always been at the core of any good GnR song, there is the requisite solo, albeit a brief one. Tucked into the middle of the track it's a short burst of crystalline riffage that ultimately feels just as generic as the rest of the song itself.

Despite the routine nature of "Shackler's Revenge", repeated listens eventually find the track soaking into your pores, but only because of its innocuous intent. This is meth fueled ear candy for the ADHD set and nothing more.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that "Shackler's Revenge" will be a hit on commercial radio; it's the kind of neo-generic metal-cum-industrial-cum-modern rock mash-up that the general populace has come to embrace with open arms these days (if only because that's all they're being offered on a mass scale). Additionally, at a mere 3:43 running length, it's been time-tailored perfectly for FM radio's short attention span programming style.

What made early GnR so seminal was that their music was born out of sense of desperation, depravity, and hunger (not to mention the band's well known battle with heroin and other substances). There was an urgency to the music that made it connect with the masses and still makes it relevant to this day (this is the case with all lasting music, really). And yes there was Slash, a bona fide axe slayer who embodied the sheer essence of rock 'n roll at a time when most folks had forgotten what it meant to be a rock and roll musician.

In stark contrast "Shackler's Revenge" reeks of affluence, sounding more like a one-time wizard of rock playing with ProTools and faceless hired guns in his bedroom palace, creating a song that will ultimately be a disposable hit without any legs to stand on. It's the sound of a man who no longer battles addiction, flirts with Victoria's Secret models, and plays Jagger to Slash's Richards. Instead it's the sound of a musical recluse who has lost touch with the ideals and emotions of his core audience. To this end "Shackler's Revenge" is ultimately a sad, sad song.

Once upon a time GnR were the leaders of the pack, with other bands emulating their style and sound. Now it just sounds as if Axl is grasping at musical straws. After making fans wait for more than a decade for new material, to unleash a song that sounds this slapped together is a travesty. Shouldn't the fans deserve more? After all they're the ones who made Axl famous in the first place.

-Jack-
 Rep: 37 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

-Jack- wrote:

Yeah and if you click the link they gave it a 5.5/10 mediocre rating.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the song. Sometimes I really like it... other times it really annoys me. Over all I would say it's pretty forgettable... but, I like it... but... ehhh.. too many conflicting feelings

Once upon a time GnR were the leaders of the pack, with other bands emulating their style and sound. Now it just sounds as if Axl is grasping at musical straws.

So true...

Mikkamakka
 Rep: 217 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

Mikkamakka wrote:

Quite harsh, but I agree with most of his observations. I think it will flop though.

Randall Flagg
 Rep: 129 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

I have to agree.  I ask myself would I dig this song if Axl hadn't written it and the answer is undeniably no.  You can make yourself like any song after enough listens.  In this regard, this is Shackler's greatest assesst in this medium.  It's on a video game where the user will more than likely have to play it several times before mastering it and thus have the tune in their head.  I know that I have had the same response to songs on the other guitar hero/ rock band games.  So if promotion is done right and the youth relate this song to a new album, CDs success could be huge. 

If the author is right and this song is going to be accepted by the masses, than its selection in the game was genius.  A song that gets in your head and is enjoyed by the majority of the public is the greatest marketing ploy they could use.  Generate interest in the band and album through a catchy (albeit weak) song and allow the consumer to be blown away by the great tracks on CD.

So as a GN'R fan I find this song pretty weak, but if it attracts new fans to the underlying greatness of the original leaks and unheard tracks, I'm all for it.

misterID
 Rep: 468 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

misterID wrote:

This is why SR was the worst possible choice for a single. What's really sad is that the song doesn't represent the album (what we've heard anyway) as a whole, which holds some brilliant musical pieces on it. Sad, sad, sad. I don't know what the GNR camp is thinking putting this out as a single. But... there is still time to change direction. As the reviews for SR roll in it will give them ample time to make a change in first single.

I really wish they could have taken the chorus and hooks of SR along with the insane sputters of guitar solos and fused it onto a more guitar-oriented version of Oh My God... That would blow some minds, right there.

TheMole
 Rep: 77 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

TheMole wrote:

Ugh, I really hope Axl has no more control over when the album comes out. If not, a couple more of these reviews and we can forget about the album altogether...

That being said, the last paragraph really hits the nail on the head.

TheMole
 Rep: 77 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

TheMole wrote:

By the way: I almost didn't read this thread 'cause I though it was a re-post of the review (or hands-on) the xbox team had done a while ago. Maybe the title needs clarification?

faldor
 Rep: 280 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

faldor wrote:
TheMole wrote:

Ugh, I really hope Axl has no more control over when the album comes out. If not, a couple more of these reviews and we can forget about the album altogether...

That being said, the last paragraph really hits the nail on the head.

So you're just gonna disregard all the positive reviews the song has gotten?  That doesn't seem fair.  This is the first negative review I have read.  Is this reviewer the end all be all of all reviewers?  Whatever he says is gospel?  After all, as shitty as he thinks the song is (even though he said it was catchy after a few listens), he did say it would be commercially successful.  I think he's right there, if the band ever releases it that is.

slashsbaconpit
 Rep: 0 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

It's not a bad song, but I can't help but wonder the same thing I did with Oh My God '” we've waited this long? For this? I like it, but it's just not 15 years worth of work.

Maybe the album will be better?

TheMole
 Rep: 77 

Re: IGN reviews "Shackler's Revenge"

TheMole wrote:
faldor wrote:

So you're just gonna disregard all the positive reviews the song has gotten?  That doesn't seem fair.  This is the first negative review I have read.  Is this reviewer the end all be all of all reviewers?  Whatever he says is gospel?  After all, as shitty as he thinks the song is (even though he said it was catchy after a few listens), he did say it would be commercially successful.  I think he's right there, if the band ever releases it that is.

I think you're misunderstanding me. I don't care too much about reviews one way or the other, but I hope I don't see too many negative reviews 'cause I'm sure Axl will care. My fear is that he will once again be put off by the negative press this inevitably will get and pull the plug on the album once and for all.

Aside from that, I haven't seen that many professional reviews at all (not been looking either). This is the first one I see, and it's negative. I would also love to see some positive professional reviews.

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