★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ah, the late 80s; the halcyon days of Guns n Roses. Whether you believe if Use Your Illusion 1 or 2 is a greater record than Appetite for Destruction or not, the GnR debut album shook the foundations of rock music forever. It was a game changer.
Love them or loathe them, for 6-7 years or so in the late 80s/early to mid 90s, GnR were in your face. Loud, brutal, uncaring, they pumped out some amazing music and were the biggest and most notorious band in the world.
But what about their early days? Formed from a collaboration of Hollywood Rose and LA Guns, the band underwent a few roster changes before settling on the line up that released Appetite.
This 3-disc mega collection features a number of hits from the early days, either by Hollywood Rose, where you can hear Axl's unmistaken voice in its rawest, pure form, or LA Guns. These are interspersed with many more songs, either covers of other GnR ones, or covers of other bands, Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper and Bon Jovi, to name a few.
The artists featured have had some part to play in the development of the GnR sound. From Gilby Clark, who replaced Izzy Stradlin, to Teddy 'Big Bad Zig Zag' Andreadis, who featured on the GnR live shows. Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum also feature, as do some other well known guests.
Disc 3 features none of the GnR spine, but is a collection of songs from "Hair Metal" bands from the 80s, who surely must have decided that it's all over, when Guns burst forth. This disc has none of the class as discs 1 or 2, but the songs on it are good fun nonetheless.
The real gems, are the songs featuring Axl. The early Hollywood Rose tunes of Rocker, Killing Time and Shadow of Your Love, plus an early incarnation of Anything Goes, and an early demo of a Nice Boys by the original GnR line up, just proves why GnR kicked ass, and Axl was recently defined, scientifically, as having the greatest rock and roll voice of all time. There are some GnR classics too, such as Patience, Sweet Child O Mine, Welcome to the Jungle, Mr Brownstone, You're Crazy and Don't Cry.
Any GnR fan must own this collection. The money is worth it just for the early Axl songs alone.