â€˜Of silence, its been 14 years of pain, It's been 14 years that are gone forever, And I'll never have againâ€¦â€™
The lyrics above are taken from the Guns Nâ€™ Roses track â€˜14 Yearsâ€™ and sum up quite aptly what die-hard GNR fans have experienced waiting for Axl Rose to unleash his oft-delayed album, Chinese Democracy.
Well the wait is almost over.
$13 million (according to the New York Times), 14 years, countless expended band members and hours of studio time later, Chinese Democracy is ready. November 24th is the day to mark in your rock diaries as the release date of the music industries longest running joke. As the years went by and the promises became broken, the album took on the status of an urban legend.
The first single from the album is the title track, â€˜Chinese Democracyâ€™. The song premiered on radio stations across the world on Wednesday, and initial reactions have been mixed so far. After 15 years it was to be inevitable that expectations were high. But in reality, any album that has been in production for 15 years and suffered more delays than the M25 during rush hour was bound to be a bit of anti-climax. It sounds surreal enough actually hearing new material from the band on the radio.
However, die-hard fans have been listening to leaked versions of some songs for almost a year. They reveal that Rose hasnâ€™t lost his touch.
Chinese Democracy mixes the grandiosity of the Use Your Illusions albums with an industrial, heavy rock that seems quite unlike anything out there at the moment. Tracks like â€˜There Was a Timeâ€™, â€˜Madagascarâ€™ and â€˜Street of Dreamsâ€™ (widely believed to the â€˜The Bluesâ€™ one of the earlier leaks) are November Rain-esque and show that Rose hasnâ€™t ditched his penchant for grand instrumental arrangements and emotional ballads.
Songs such as â€˜I.R.S.â€™, â€˜Betterâ€˜, â€˜Shacklerâ€™s Revengeâ€™ are much heavier and contain some catchy lyrics alongside the wailing guitar solos that the now departed Slash nailed so perfectly back in the original line-upâ€˜s glory days.
Quite what the mainstream will make of the record is anybodyâ€™s guess. A lot has changed since The Spaghetti Incident, both musically and socially. Then again, Axl Rose never really cared about pleasing people. Erratic? Definitely. Temperamental? You bet. Mr. W. Axl Rose is about to step out of the shadows. Welcome back to the Jungle.