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Slash - Orgy of the Damned (Album Review)

Friday, 24 May 2024 Written by Adam England

Photo: Gene Kirkland

Given its heady slate of guest vocalists, from Iggy Pop to Demi Lovato and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, ‘Orgy of the Damned’ could easily feel like a compilation. It’s to Slash’s credit as a guitarist and bandleader that it hangs together, though, with his playing serving as the glue that binds these blues covers into an exciting whole.

Slash has long been regarded as one of the best guitarists of all time and his ability to spar with dynamite singers — from Axl Rose in Guns N’ Roses to Myles Kennedy with the Conspirators — is one of the keystones supporting that rep. It’s a good thing, too, as while on ‘Orgy of the Damned’ there’s not a Kennedy or Rose in sight, stars come and go in a manner that has plenty in common with Slash’s self-titled solo debut from 2010. 

By and large, it works. The brilliant bluesy quality of Chris Robinson’s voice is a perfect fit for the opener The Pusher, while Gary Clark Jr. leaves a similar impression to the Black Crowes singer on the blues standard Crossroads, helping to deliver something heavier than the Robert Johnson original and groovier than the classic Cream cover. 

On Key to the Highway, featuring Los Angeles rockers Dorothy, Slash turns the Chicago blues classic into the most badass five minutes of music you’ll hear this year, while Lovato – who worked with Slash last year on her ‘Revamped’ project – turns up on Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone and continues her hot streak as a rock vocalist. 

Conceptually, ‘Orgy of the Damned’ isn’t pulling up any trees, but it feels like more than simply a vehicle for Slash to show off his impressive skills. As a tribute to the blues legends who came before him, it’s a very fitting one.


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