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Slash: Orgy of the Damned Review

Slash and some of his favorite collaborators are paying tribute to the genre that inspired their musical pursuits with Orgy of the Damned, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist’s first solo album since 2022’s 4.

Due out May 17 on Gibson Records, the 12-track album is mostly comprised of blues classics, with a different star singer featured on each. Slash expertly handles the solo guitar work (listeners wouldn’t expect anything less) and taps vocal talents from Billy Gibbons to Demi Lovato to breathe new life into well-tested lyrics. Bassist Johnny Griparic and keyboardist Teddy Andreadis, both of whom Slash worked with in his Blues Ball days, play on most tracks, as does drummer Michael Jerome and rhythm guitarist/singer Tash Neal.

Slash first gave listeners a sample of what he had coming on Orgy of the Damned with the album’s first single “Killing Floor,” a song Howlin’ Wolf first recorded in the mid-1960s. Slash’s version, which he released in March, features AC/DC’s Brian Johnson on vocals and a cameo from Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on harmonica. The song—and its corresponding music video, which weaves together in-studio clips of the rockers recording the track—set a clear vision for the album, which shows several musical talents putting a new spin on their favorite songs.

Slash was inspired by the blues at an early age, and he selected musicians for this album who similarly have close personal ties to the genre. Gary Clark Jr., Dorothy, Billy Gibbons, Beth Hart, Iggy Pop, Chris Robinson, Paul Rodgers and Chris Stapleton all sing on songs made famous by the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Fleetwood Mac, Robert Johnson, Albert King, Steppenwolf, The Temptations, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Stevie Wonder. Slash also called up one of his newer collaborators, Demi Lovato, to take on the vocals for “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” a nearly eight-minute track that spotlights the guitar with wailing solos and funky pedal work.

The expertise behind the album and the varied voices on it make the project as a whole a fascinating listen. With Slash serving as the connective tissue between each song, the album itself is able to explore different blues sounds and styles in accordance with how each of the chosen singers meshes with the material. Orgy of the Damned presents blues fans with an exciting way to hear new takes on favorite songs. While Hart brings her incredible vocal range to “Stormy Monday,” Rodgers lays his smooth vocals over the jaunty rhythms of “Born Under a Bad Sign” and Neal takes on lead vocals in “Living for the City,” which a press release for the album identifies as one of Slash’s “long-time favorites.”

Slash closes out Orgy of the Damned with one of his own songs, a three-minute celebration of guitar called “Metal Chestnut.” The joyful track fittingly arrives as the only vocal-less song, giving the album a perfect Slash sendoff.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– The Pusher
– Killing Floor
– Papa Was a Rolling Stone
– Stormy Monday

The Big Hit

– Killing Floor

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