Released: 2011, Eagle Rock Entertainment
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan returns from an uninvited extended hiatus that began with the departure of Velvet Revolver vocalist/primadonna Scott Weiland, whose exit from the band put plans for a third album by the L.A. hard rock veterans on ice indefinitely. In the meantime, Duff found time to record the major label debut full length from his side band and now steady priority, Loaded who ironically were originally put on hold to accommodate the rigorous touring and recording schedule of Velvet Revolver.
The disc opens with the edgy title track "Sick" that walks a fine line between sleazy hard rock and street smart seventies punk. Duff has become quite the lead singer since his Guns era solo album. Loaded also finds the notorious bassist swap the four string in favor of lead and rhythm guitar. The phrasing and delivery on the chorus "Flatline" reminds me a bit of Ozzy, where as "IOU" carries a modern indie rock influence with it's odd time signatures and quirky chorus.
"Translucent" branches out with the country rock twang of mid era Dinosaur Jr. and I hear J. Mascis' best Neil Young ripoff all over McKagan's delivery on the chorus and I mean that as a compliment. We get the blues on "Mother's Day" and something more akin to Foo Fighters on the rowdy "I See Through You". Loaded are absolutely all over the place musically speaking on SICK. Pop punk one minute, country rockers the next, throwing in equal parts Stones and Iggy Pop for good measure and even incorporating big band horns on "Blind Date Girl".
A bonus DVD is included featuring a late 2008 performance filmed at the Garage venue in Glasgow, Scotland as well as the promo clip for "No More" and a string of webisodes making this CD/DVD combo pack the most bang for the buck for Duff fans. I guess here is where I have to mention that this is an eclectic album that may through many hard rock fans for a bit of a loop.
There is so much musical territory explored herein that I expect this release to receive mixed and varied reactions from Duff McKagan's vast legion of supporters. Having said that if you're feeling adventurous, there's plenty of twists and turns on tap and like I said earlier, this deluxe edition is packed to the gills with content.