Adler, ‘Back From the Dead’ – Album Review
In the past few years, Steven Adler has made more headlines for his wacky one-liners and past substance abuse than he has from his musical endeavors, but all that’s about to change with the release of his new disc ‘Back From the Dead.’ With a title that’s as literal as it is figurative, it delivers one of the purest, straight-up rock albums of the year — chock full of the grit and grime that only comes with experience.
Adler, who finally saw his future beyond the looming shadow of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, formed his own band of talented gunslingers to create his new eponymous outfit Adler. The rocky past that led him here from being booted out of Guns N’ Roses for drug addiction so many years ago to his subsequent stints in rehab and reality TV, certainly wasn’t an easy road, but in retrospect it’s made him who he is today, and that is someone who’s hard not to root for. He’s a real rock star in the truest sense, having experienced the rise and fall of it all, only to pick up all the pieces and do it all again with reckless abandon.
Arguably, one of Adler’s best decisions this time around was recruiting his current band. Tapping singer and, most importantly, songwriter Jacob Bunton from Lynam, Lonny Paul on guitar and bassist Johnny Martin, the collective known simply as Adler are not resting on the talent of Adler alone, functioning as a band in the truest sense with all parts equal, and that is felt throughout from start to finish. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of the finished product, the disc was produced by Jeff Pilson, who also played bass on the recording before Martin became a permanent fixture.
‘Back From the Dead’ starts off with the title track, a swanky little number that invites the listener in with a soothing bluesy vibe before exploding into the general theme of the disc: “I’m back from the dead / I’ve got no regrets / I may forgive but I won’t forget.” With a Stone Temple Pilots feel throughout, the song makes a serious statement and that statement is a simple ‘f— you’ to anyone that stands in their way. It’s that common sentiment that plays throughout, as Adler finally finds his footing, unhinged from his past and forging on with his future.
And what’s a great rock disc without a few special appearances, especially when those appearances come from two of the best guitarists of the modern era. Adler’s old bandmate and friend Slash joins the fun on the track ‘Just Don’t Ask.’ A song that starts out with a beautiful instrumental courtesy of the aforementioned top-hatted one before morphing into a ballady love song with a huge chorus and a signature Slash solo mid-song. Overall, it’s a beautifully executed spot of vulnerability in an otherwise rough around the edges collection of songs. But that’s not where the guest spots end. Rob Zombie ace John 5 lends his talents on ‘Good To Be Bad’ and his signature fretwork helps mold the song into one of the most dynamic the disc has to offer.
Without so much as a stumble along the way, it was hard to make it through the 11 tracks without wanting to hear them all again. From the sexy vibe of ‘Your Diamonds’ to the harrowing lyrics of ‘Habit,’ and the straight up ass-kicking delivered courtesy of ‘Blown Away – ‘Back From the Dead’ delivers on all facets.
Perhaps the proverbial nail in the coffin on closing out the past, the disc ends with the prophetic anthem ‘Dead Wrong,’ “You’re dead wrong / I was right to let you go / Cuz I’m better off on my own / I’m alright and I’m moving on / You were dead wrong,” Bunton screams out over a punishing bass line. A song about overcoming the odds, moving on, and conquering the rock world, something that Adler has truly accomplished with ‘Back From the Dead,’ we can only hope they stick around for awhile and enjoy the ride.