After fifteen long years of speculation, rumours, and disappointment, the one-time "most dangerous band in the world" finally reward their fans' patience with the release of Chinese Democracy. Guns N' Roses' fifth full-length studio album of original material is an uncompromising, fully-focused, hard rock monster that brings the rockers' early sound alive with modern day stylistics.
Title track 'Chinese Democracy' opens the album in grandiose style. A montage of sirens and Chinese dialogue rise as the track bursts into life with a riff of speaker-endangering proportions and Axl Rose's trademark falsetto squeal. Keeping Guns N' Roses familiar sound intact with ferocious riffs, Chinese Democracy throws in grinding industrial rock and keys-and-strings balladry for good measure. While the stabbing-dagger licks of 'Riad N' The Bedouins' and looping squeals of 'Street of Dreams' offer an Appetite For Destruction fuzz, 'There Was A Time' reverts away from the band's previous raw sound with a delicately structured style that incorporates new-found techniques with wah-wah guitars, a full-strength choir, and Axl Rose's overdubbed sour-growl harmonies. Incorporating a vast array of movements, themes, and motifs, Chinese Democracy offers a scattergun approach to song structure that packs the maximum punch per pound.
Despite frontman and mastermind Axl Rose being the sole remaining founder member of Guns N' Roses, the music sounds much as it did back in the band's glory days: it is massively produced, bluesy rock with a decidedly misanthropic vibe. But with the added accompaniment of new techniques and sounds developed over its fifteen year construction, Chinese Democracy has become an audacious, unhinged, and uncompromising hard rock record that marks a triumphant return to form for one of history's greatest rock bands.