Rhythm & Views

Velvet Revolver

Velvet Revolver is the all-star group featuring former Guns N' Roses members Slash (guitar), Duff McKagan (bass) and Matt Sorum (drums); Scott Weiland, the voice behind Stone Temple Pilots; and former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner.

So, is it Guns N' Pilots or Stone Temple Roses? Actually, it's neither.

The group's debut album, Contraband, seems to be an attempt to become the new millennium's answer to mainstream rock: a marriage of late '80s hard rock and the '90s grunge sound that somehow truly does not sound like its members' former bands. At times, Weiland produces some STP-ish vocal styles, but that's about it.

"Sucker Train Blues," a high-energy track, kicks off the album. McKagan's swaggering bass lines mixed with Sorum's powerful drum style and Slash's signature mini-solos highlight the tune.

"Fall to Pieces" is a modern power-ballad that is sure to be an arena rock favorite that will make the ladies swoon.

"Illegal i Song" and "Headspace" are songs meant to re-define "hard rock." Angry and in your face, these are the stand-out tracks on Contraband.

Also included on Contraband is the far-overplayed track "Set Me Free" from the Hulk soundtrack, the first song the supergroup recorded.

One criticism about the album--even from non-prudes--is that Weiland can't seem to make his way through a song without using the word "fuck." Then again, maybe it's just his way of making a "statement."

Although Contraband could in no way be considered groundbreaking, given its extensive pre-release hype, it likely will not disappoint curious listeners.