So 15 years. The joke was always that China would be a democracy before the album was released, but alas, the album came first. I scurried my behind over to best buy today. Every other album release by GNR I got the day of release. In fact I once waited in line for 4 hours after skipping school to get my copy of Use Your Illusion I only to learn II was out! I once camped out for tickets to the opening day of the Use Your Illusion tour which kicked off here in WI at Alpine Valley. There was no way I wasn't getting "Chinese Democracy" today.
At first listen, I was mildly let down. All these years (15 of them) awaiting this, and the edge isn't there. I knew what I expected, dreamed and hoped for. It wasn't there. The edge is gone. The raw grit is missing. Now at second listen, trying to separate the GNR I worshipped as a child. Its an oddly mellow CD. Axl's voice sounds more refined and less gravelly. The list of musicians involved in the project is totally mind boggling. Buckethead, Bumblefoot, Brain. All amazing artists in their own respect collaborated on this project. This is the first album I have ever looked at liner notes and each song had a list of people playing instruments and who did what on arrangements.
Some songs give touches of old GNR. "Scraped" and "Riad n' the Bodouins" are songs with hints of the old guard. "IRS", while a more mellow selection is most definately a Guns song. Songs like "Sorry" have in my taste too much processing on vocals, almost to the point that Rose's voice is unrecognizable.
I think die hard GNR fans like me may need more than one listen to get into the CD. When not comparing it to what I expect, the CD is ok. Just remember its the new Guns.