RCA - 2004 - 60 minutes

If the personnel and experience gathered here could not come up with a somewhat decent heavy rock record, it would be time to write the obituary for the genre, find a hermitage and not come out until you needed to replace your copy of 'Appetite for Destruction'. Guns N' Roses survivors Slash and Duff McKagan and former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland are men who've used up their share of nine lives but - together with G N' R drummer Matt Sorum and guitarist buddy Dave Kushner - still show no signs of heading quietly towards the fortysomething comfort zone.

But, like all supergroups, expectation gets the upper hand over execution. No song here is as memorable as anything on 'Appetite...' or Weiland's work on 'Big Empty' or 'Big Bang Baby'. At times the singer is on the wrong side of the line dividing throaty and hoarse, while innumerable Hollywood Strip outfits could have made a go of some of the tracks here. At its best 'Contraband' is on a par with 'You Could Be Mine' not 'Welcome to the Jungle'.

Still you can't underestimate the joy of Slash soloing speakers to within a decibel of their usefulness and in hearing his fellow survivors alongside him. Together they do enough to make you want another album - odds are you won't have to wait as long for it as anything from Axl.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Sucker Train Blues - Do It for the Kids - Big Machine - Illegal 1 - Spectacle - Fall to Pieces - Headspace - Superhuman - Set Me Free - You Got No Right - Slither - Dirty Little Thing - Loving the Alien - Bodies (Live)