Velvet Revolver Contraband RCA Records
Produced By:

Running Time: 60.00

Release Date: Out Now

Released: WORLD

Musical Style: Modern Rock

Links: Velvet Revolver
Songs: 80%
Sound: 95%
No-one is going to make me love this album. It just doesn't do anything for me at all. I don't think it will be rated a classic, but I could be wrong! There will be a great number of people that will enjoy this album and it will certainly find a range of new fans.
This is a good honest modern rock album, of which Slash is clearly the star of the show. But I don't think it has the charisma, or lasting abilities that Guns N Roses or Stone Temple Pilots had.
I'm a huge GNR fan and was hoping that this would be a partial return to the glory days of the band. I'm realistic enough to realize it's never going to be a carbon copy of GNR, but my expectations pretty much went out the window when I heard Weiland had been hired as the vocalist. That move was a clear indication this would be a modern rock project and that's exactly what it is.
But, I believe it could have been much better. I think the biggest problem is vocalist Scott Weiland.
I don't like his vocals to say the least and I'm not overly excited by the musical content. It's produced to perfection and all involved play their hearts out, but I'm still not sold on it.
It's like the Brides Of Destruction album all over again. I knew the albums would go head to head this year, but I am surprised that I feel almost the same way about both.
Before anyone reminds me it isn't 1988 anymore, let me remind you that I think there are plenty of killer modern rock albums available that feature strong, authorative vocals and memorable song hooks.
There were some reports the album featured no guitar solos not true, there are a few fine solos on Contraband. My views are mainly due to the style of the songs and the vocals behind them. This is no frills, in your face, aggressive modern rock.
The Bottom Line
There are some good solid songs here the heavy rock ballad Fall To Pieces is a highlight, as is Do It For The Kids - a solid modern rocker. The lead tracks Slither and Set Me Free are also very good. Much like Brides Of Destruction, this line-up does not see their future connected with their past and have updated their sound and chosen their vocalist accordingly. I think there are some killer examples of modern hard rock out there, but none of those artists are ever going to come close to the publicity these guys will recieve. And that's a shame.
Discography / Previously Reviewed

Line Up
Scott Weiland: Vocals
Slash: Guitars
Matt Sorum: Drums
Duff McKagen: Bass
Dave Kushner: Guitars

Essential for fans of:
Stone Temple Pilots
Neurotic Outsiders
Guns N Roses
Track Listing
Sucker Train Blues
Do It For The Kids*
Big Machine
Illegal I Song
Fall To Pieces*
Set Me Free*
You Got No Right
Dirty Little Thing
Loving The Alien
--*Best Tracks

22/02/05: indri -
Rating: 100
Pure rock. Ain't no baby thing. Glad to have them back.

20/02/05: Todd Carper -
Rating: 80
Sometimes in life, you have to admit you are wrong about something and find a way to make it right. I did a review of this disc a few months ago that was rather long winded, but in which I said this release was average or below. I believe the score I gave the release a 60. This score is an average of what I thought before, and what I think after listening to the disc a few more times. This is simply put a "grower"; the songs have to be played a few times to really have the desired effect. I liked the ballad Fall to Pieces pretty much from the start, but the lead trax I heard Slither and Set me Free didn't grab me much at least not at first. This is a very aggressive release, the songs have a withered/modern feel to them. That said, by waiting to buy this I was rewarded by the fact that later versions came with a cool "cover" EP featuring Surrender, No More No more (by Aerosmith) and Nirvana's Negative Creep. One of the things I "dissed" was the lack of hooks the other was Scott Weiland's vocals. I stand corrected on both, Scott can flat out sing and the package I bought proves it. Whether it be on the cool covers EP (I personally faovored Cheap Trick's Surrender), the ballads such as Fall to pieces or Loving the Alien) or the rockers of which the rest of the disc is THIS DISC SMOKES!!! The aggressive edge of punk that is Duff's influence is present, but balanced by quality writing over all. So we get the attitude and edge of punk and modern rock mellowed the slightest bit by the ballads....proof positive that you need to wait a bit before you open your mouth and make declarations you might later have to recant. I loved Guns 'N Roses, but they are no longer out there (at least for now)and this band has a real future. My biggest apology is to Weiland, who not only has the attitude (and chops) to carry off the rockers, but the ability to slow it down and make a slower tune with melody his own too. So, I am sorry for those I misled, this disc will grow on you if you give it a chance and it is definitely worth it!!

25/12/04: Dave -
Rating: 30
Only like 2 songs off this cd (Do It For The Kids and Set Me Free) the rest I didn't like. Not a fan of the modern rock sound. If the G'N'R guys wanna make some money go kiss Axel's butt, that's where the real money is not with the STP refugee.

29/11/04: RL -
Rating: 87
I think 'Contraband' is a very good effort. This band clearly shows signs of their 2 former acts, but this is also a band that obviously grew up on early KISS, early Cheap Trick, & early Aerosmith. Combine all of those influences with some Beatles-like harmonies and the album scores with both uptempo rockers ("Do It For The Kids", "Slither", "Set Me Free") and raw melodic ballads ("Fall To Pieces","You Got No Right","Loving The Alien").

Too many fans expect the same old same old from bands and complain when a new band (especially those with high profile players) tries to find it's 'musical footing'. This is a damn fine debut and to it's credit it features quality hard rock MINUS the high pitched nasle warblings of a hugely overated bandana wearing prozac chewer. Hats' off to Slash, Matt, Duff, Scott, & 'Kush'. Great effort... much continued success.

29/08/04: Todd Carper -
Rating: 60
Wow, this CD has generated some VERY strong opinions. I do not like comparing one style to another or for that matter rating an artist based on what they have done before. When we do that, we are usually going to find the new disc wanting because it doesn't measure up to yesterday's great sound, or some other such complaint. These folks are artists and as such are going to grow (or digress) or be influenced by what is around them. I hate writing anything negative, especially when it involves artists that I have REALLY taken a shine to in the past. Let's face it, GNR were amazing, original, knew how to write great hooks, and they put out some great material. I listen to music from all of rock's eras: the turbulent 60's with Dylan, the Stones, the Beatles, The Who, Janis Joplin, and who could forget the godfather of guitar heroics Jimi Hendrix. Kiss, Rush, Black Sabbath and the bands I grew up with in the 70's continued the growth of the Rock industry. The 80's thru 92 featured my favorite generation of music; the guys had voices that soared and every guitar player aspired to be a hero. There were lots of coppy cats or people who followed the trends, but what an era for amazingly original music. Metallica and Slayer with sheer brutal speed and just enough melody to keep it interesting. Whitesnake, Motley Crue, WASP, Bon Jovi, GNR, The Crowes, Ozzy Osbourne in his 2nd life with his solo band, Skid Row, all the Euro-metal bands (Rainbow, The Scorpions, Maiden, Saxon, ETC); this era was special because you had to have a set of pipes to sing the songs and the players in these bands were phenomenal. The 90's brought us a more rootsy, every man type of approach; simpler songs without all the guitar (which I miss, but it is still good) solos, gloss, and high pitched wailing. Bands who favored the old style persevered, and some of the cream came through with Kiss, the Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Tesla, WASP, Metallica.....ETC carrying on. Folks, there is room for it all to coexist under the monicker we love and call ROCK. As for this record, well I am not sold. It is ok, but not wonderful. What did I find lacking?? Hooks that I could sink my teeth into for one. How about a melody that was memorable?? Scott Weiland's voice is ok, it was VERY memorable on the 1st two STP discs and the songs were memorable. Everything after that for me lacked that HOOK or melodic snap that makes you play a disc over and over. GNR had it with Axl's amazing voice, and some of the best musicians a guy could ever have playing and writing with him. It was cosmic when it worked like it did on Appetite for Destruction and it blew us away (but only in flashes) on the other discs by GNR. Plenty of hilights like Don't Cry and Civil War or epics like November Rain; you want covers, GNR could really grab you there too with Live and Let Die, Knocking on heaven's door, and a whole disc worth of nuggets called the Spaghetti Incident. I personally would LOVE to see Axl and the boys reunite either with Izzy or Gilby (both of whom have done FANTASTIC solo Stones influenced stuff on their own) and blow us away again. I hate Axl's ego and attitude, but when mixed with Izzy, Slash, Gilby, Duff, Dizzy and Matt (or Steven Addler), we are talking EPIC!! This disc misses the mark on having hooks or being memorable (for me) it gets a 60 because of who is in the band and the fact that though it isn't memorable for me, the music is average. If you didn't know who was in the band, and someone played it for you, would you buy it?? For me, that answer was no. I listened to it in a store and decided there is TOO much other music that is memorable that I wanted first. Everyone has different tastes, only you can decide if it works for you. You wanna be around 40+ years (like my hero Bob Dylan, great songs/distinctive voice) or 30 years and going strong like Kiss, you have to write memorable songs that people want to hear. Sorry if this is long winded, but like eveyone who offered an opinion, I had a strong one too! Keep Rockin'!

19/07/04: John Elway -
Rating: 92
This is just a great straight ahead hard rock record. Strong songs and fantastic playing.

06/07/04: frostywills -
Rating: 97
I'm somewhat amazed that most of the people here don't LOVE this record - but then again, it sound's as if those same people were expecting this album to be something it was never intended to be - the next GNR record. Frankly, I'm so glad it's not.
I'll admit, I'm a far bigger STP fan than a GNR fan. GNR made one classic album (and yes, I would say one of the best debut albums of all time), but that was it. And oddly, the more popular they got, the less interested I became, as their music became more shite, too.
STP on the other hand,released 5 albums that all amazed me as much as the next. They remain some of my most played. Also, you'll never be able to convince me that Axl is a better singer than Scott Weiland, or that Weilnad isn't one of the best singers in rock.
But - that's neither here nor there, and really has not so much to do with this band, or this album.
I LOVE this album because of what it is, instead of not liking it for what it isn't. It's a great rock album from a band living in the now, making music that is now - not some group trying to re-hash former glories.
There's only one track on this disc I don't care for, "Illegal i Song", and that's why it doesn't get a perfect 100. Other than that, this is one of the very few great albums I've heard this year,and, that was worth buying to begin with.

06/07/04: Lynchomaniac -
Rating: 40
This album was just like I had expected after hearing the Slither single; a bit modern sounding hardrock with attitude and a few good songs (3 or 4 of them I believe). Opener Sucker Train Blues is the best of them all. The overall songwriting is pretty weak, and their sound is somewhat diffusing, as well as another singer with a lots of "balls" would have improved the overall impression. In other words quite disappoiting really, as I had expected so much more from (most of)these guys

05/07/04: Tango Mike -
Rating: 80
I think the nail has been hit on the head a few times w/ the "SW's voice just doesn't fit the band that's behind him" and "Unfortunately, "Slither" is the only *really* good song on the disc," quotes. I never liked much of STP, so I was pretty disappointed when I heard he got the gig over Bach. I listen to the cd when I go to the gym, but it is not making it to the car (the big leagues of my listening).

30/06/04: zaxonia -
Rating: 65
actually this was a Great Album,i think.but i dispointed with the Vocals-Scott Weiland(STP)-boring Voice.but for the Music,it's ok for me.this Band should change the Vocals like Sebastian Bach or Mike Tramp(Freak Of Nature).

26/06/04: razzle -
Rating: 80
the band Earth to Andy released an album several years ago
entitled "chronicle kings"....i wonder if velvet revolver ever
listened to it before releasing this album.

23/06/04: Vince Ripper -
Rating: 0
Quoting - MAGICTOUCH - said:
Vince Ripper...I don't understand how you are ok with classifying 80's Rock but have a problem with classifying Modern Rock...that's a double standard...there's nothing wrong with calling nubreed Modern Rock to separate it from the 70's (Classic) and 80's (80's) Rock...won't even go into the Dead Decade...Modern Rock IS a subculture of "Rock"...especially now if we have to call INXS "rock" :rolleyes:"

I am glad a review page for the Velvet Revolver album turns into a private individual bashing site, but since you asked - As a general statement, I hate 80's rock. I am the biggest fan EVER of all the great 70's rock bands like Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, etc, but the 80's really turned me off to rock and roll because it was just one crappy band after another, all with the same sound, the same girlie look, the same songwriting formula, and the same presentation. In the 80's, I turned to underground bands to get some original sounds and to try to enjoy music again, because the 80's rock scene almost ruined it for me. Sorry, but I wasn't a pre-pubescent girl in the mid to late 80's, and the message of that time in rock and roll was just not for me. Of course there are exceptions like AC/DC and others, but as a GENERALIZATION ONLY - 80's rock has a distinctive style of overblown and self-indulgent guitar solos thrown into a song by the "insert gratuitous guitar solo here" method, and over the top vocals by high pitched screamers, or girlie sounding singers. Now yes, I admit that is a generalization, but who here would argue with the fact that you KNOW as soon as you hear an 80's tune? The style is instantly recognizable, and my stomach turns almost every time I hear a radio station playing anything by Poison, Warrant, Winger, Bullet Boys, or any of those manufactured unoriginal bands from that era. Thank GOD for the bands of the early 90's like the Black Crowes and STP for helping to kill the 80's sound (at least here in America) and for keeping real rock and roll alive during the 90's when everything became "rap rock" for awhile (another horrid trend that happily is waning).

Modern Rock, if you MUST title it so and force yet another meaningless division in rock music, is for bands like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Blink 182, and bands of that ilk. The whiny vocals and the pop/punk/emo nature of the music is something that could be distinguished as a subculture of rock, and those kinds of bands can be called Modern Rock if you must use that title. Velvet Revolver does NOT, in ANY WAY, fit into that catagory.

Velvet Revolver is the rock band of today. It is just ROCK. The Title 'rock' is not just for bands of the past, or bands who sound like they are from the past. Rock, like any other genre, continues to grow, and there are still bands coming out today that carry the ROCK label, and deserve it. For those bands, like Velvet Revolver, Jet, Audioslave, the Darkness - to title THEM as 'Modern Rock" is to diminish them. Keep the Modern Rock titles for the Pop bands, and let's let some others have access to the title 'rock'. If anyone is deserving of that distinction, Velvet Revolver is.

And while I'm at it, for those who were looking for STP or GNR in this release, well, buy an STP or GNR album. Bands CAN grow, y'know, and to expect a new band to sound like their old predecessors is unfair to both the new and the old. Allow these guys to be their own thing without references to their past ventures, and then maybe you'll see this album in the light it deserves, not the shadow of the past.

22/06/04: WardyS3 -
Rating: 70
Damn there's some varying opinions here then! Good thing, generates some rants...

Disagree with you Andrew (as I often do! lol, mind you I rate this album less than you so go figure!?) Velvet Revolver is NOT boring or a disappointment, but it does lack that something I think most of us were looking forward to.

I was never a huge fan of either of the previous incarnations of this band, although much respect and the occasional headbang was had to both! (normally with yet again a little help from our friend alcohol!). Anyways, I always liked SW vocals, very cool, very raspy, very emotional which I think goes a long way to making a song better. And the gunners always played a good tune.

Agreeing with Andrew now, this album does lack the hits but occasionally gets it right. Fall to pieces and Loving the alien are both great ballads, helped by that vocal delivery I mentioned and Doing it for the kids rocks well enough. Headspace reminds me of STP moreso than other tracks, and Falling to pieces has familiar GnR guitar trickery but in truth the comparisions pretty much stop there.

Bottom line, a good but not great album, worth your dollars if you have some spare and your in for something simple, but not for you if your wanting something more challenging. I'll be comfortable with it in my collection.

18/06/04: Brian -
Rating: 73
As a fan of both GnR and early STP, I found this a really hard album to rate. When I first played "Contraband", I specifically listened for hints or similarities that would make me think "That sounds like GnR" or "That sounds like STP". Well, what I found was that there are very few similarities. This is a band that is trying really hard not to sound like GnR or STP. Velvet Revolver is a band that is trying to establish it's own identity, which is not a bad thing. My initial reaction was that of disappointment though. This album got alot of hype prior to it's release and that may have hurt it in the eyes (or ears) of some listeners. I know my expectation level was pretty high too as many critics had labeled Velvet Revolver as just "Earth Shattering". It definitely pales in that comparison, sounding much like any band on commercial radio these days, but as a whole, the album is ok. I really like the later half of the CD with such songs as Set Me Free, Slither, You Got No Right, Loving The Alien, (and my personal favorite) Dirty Little Thing.

Not a bad effort....just nothing terribly memorable!

18/06/04: Manuel Riviera Gomez -
Rating: 95
As a frequent visitor of the site, I was a bit dissapointed in your review of this cd Andrew. I am a huge fan of both "classic" and "modern" rock and I feel that this album blends the two amazingly well. Weiland's vocals really shine on this material. While several tracks such as the lead single Slither are not a major departure for Weiland, others such as Fall to Pieces really show a different side of the front man. Slash's work on this cd is equally impressive. As anxious as I am for new GNR material, I do not believe that it can compare to Velvet Revolver. Axl may have some regrets before all is said and done. To the folks that rated this cd lower than 90 percent, go give it another listen. This is without a doubt my favorite release of the year so far and I look forward to the future of Velvet Revolver.

18/06/04: Panagiotis -
Rating: 0
More S.T.P. less GUNS'N'ROSES. SORRY i'm not into that. I prefer HARD ROCK than grunge or alternative. TOO BAD.

18/06/04: Chewsmoka -
Rating: 85
If you don;t like this CD,please go back to listening to the the new Scorpions album. All of you expect to hear some of that Guns N'Roses sound, and not remembering that this isnt' Axl?????
STP flat out were ok, and this CD by far is an improvement over his former band's fast few CD's. BUt some of these reviews I'm reading just sound like a bunch of bandwagon fans. Scott Weiland may hae once been a good singer, but too much of that smack just killed his voice, and he will prob. be dead whenever from it. Repeat, if you want G'n'R, listen to those CD's and if you want STP listen to those. Quit whining and bitching otherwise. I took this CD for what it was, Modern rock music, and it passed, good but not good for repeated listens.

18/06/04: MAGICTOUCH -
Rating: 0
Vince Ripper...I don't understand how you are ok with classifying 80's Rock but have a problem with classifying Modern Rock...that's a double standard...there's nothing wrong with calling nubreed Modern Rock to separate it from the 70's (Classic) and 80's (80's) Rock...won't even go into the Dead Decade...Modern Rock IS a subculture of "Rock"...especially now if we have to call INXS "rock" :rolleyes:

18/06/04: jj2fast4 -
Rating: 98
All but maybe one or two songs are outstanding, Weiland is far better than most of you give credit for, VR is the next great band for sure.

17/06/04: JohnnyBoy -
Rating: 40
I think this album is completely shite... I'd rather seen a brand new Snakepit Album than this... Backyard Babies rocks harder then the ex-gunners nowadays... sad, VERY SAD...

17/06/04: John -
Rating: 65
What we would all give to have"Appetite For Destruction" Part 2.I am not a big fan of Scott the lead singer,but nonetheless it does rock and Slash sounds great.

17/06/04: Vince Ripper -
Rating: 90
Gotta disagree with you Andrew. This album absolutely ROCKS! Scott Weiland is one of the greatest male singers of our time, in part because of his uniqueness and his incredible versatility as both a writer and a singer. His voice is instantly identifiable, something many of the 80's rock singers cannot boast. Yes, 7 octave singers are cool, but if I hear just one more high pitched screamer doing the same old 80's vocal stylings, I think I'll puke. That style of singing hit it's heyday in 1973 with Judas Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny", and it was never improved upon, and was incredibly predictable and old by 1990, much less today. Weiland keeps it real as he always does, his lyrics are both poetic and deeply cathartic, and the listener can feel that. Killer vocal and guitar melodies, phenomenal guitar work by Slash, and this album is simply one of the best rock releases in several years.

Suggestion - stop calling it "modern rock". It's just rock - there is no subculture called modern rock. 80's rock is 80's rock, and it deserves a separate distiction because of it's style, but "rock" is not defined by what happened years ago and therefore does not hold exclusive title to the classification of "rock". To continue to define contemporary music as it's own classification of 'modern rock" only reveals your preferences for older music, and shows your seeming refusal to put any current rock music on par with the bands of the past. Rock and Roll is on its way back (thank God!) and Velvet Revolver is as true rock and roll as it gets. To call it "modern rock" is only to diminish it, and it does not deserve that. This album could very well prove to be a classic, it's that good.

17/06/04: Kris -
Rating: 75
I agree 100% with your review. I expected so much more. I mean you hear that Slash, Duff and Izzy are writting songs together again; you expect great things. Then Izzy isn't in the band and this albums comes out. This could have been another STP album.. It's not far from being one. Sad to say.

17/06/04: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 55
There are some good tracks on here, but the whole of the album is a bit disappointing. Why ? Well, a bit too much modern influences and not classic enough. But, it's not overdone and it is still no crap. But good ? !

17/06/04: Doug -
Rating: 50
Like Andrew, my expectations were VERY HIGH that this album was going to be a classic, based on the hype and excitement alone. Hearing the single, "Slither" only increased my anticipation. Unfortunately, "Slither" is the only *really* good song on the disc. There are a couple of *ok* songs and a lot of filler. The bottom line is, SW's voice just doesn't fit the band that's behind him. It's a shame. This is as corporate and contrived as it comes, and not the "punk rock" masterpiece that Duff swore we'd find it to be.

16/06/04: cesar agudelo -
Rating: 70
the 70 in my rating is for the musical members of the band..the 30 that they dont get from me, are for the vocals made by scott weiland...awful....and seems to sink into the music...but slash still rocks!!!!

ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100)