Disclaimer: Please, in the name of all that is holy and true in the world. Do not not expect an unbiased review of this album from me, I figure I need to say that here and now, before you read further. The following is only my opinion. Besides which, if you love Guns N Roses enough to care what i think, you are definately way tougher than me. So please don't take it as a personal attack. I also think its important to note from the beginning that what we are dealing with here is the life's work of a multi millionaire* For as far back as I can remember, Axl Rose has been working on this album. Ok, I'm ready to press play. Cue the ROCK. Album opener, the imaginatively titled "Chinese Democracy" begins with muted wailing, with what sounds like a tv playing in the background and reverb soaked tribal tub thumping, designed to build some tension. Its saying, this is what you've been waiting for! Enter guitars. Power chords as standard with suitably long pauses, they are milking it already. Cue the trademark Axl screech and BAM! Enter band. Cue the fuggin ROCK!  My first impressions of this song lead me to believe that the album will be massive. I mean people fill stadiums for Nickleback. This is going to be popular right? It is technically proficient "hard rock" by numbers and plenty meatheads need albums to lift weights to. BUT WAIT DUDE.  CUE THE FACE MELTER! ** You can almost see Axl prancing around the studio like the collosal tool that he is, as whichever session guitar player it was that week, licked the neck of what was probably a BC Rich guitar. Awesome! Sample lyric: "they were missionaries, real time visionaries, sitting in a Chinese stew" Now that is brilliant. Come on!  Second track "Shackler's Revenge" has a disco beat! it is awesome, just awesome. Disco beat aside, there are no surprises, when you expect a chorus you get one. When you feel like a solo will happen, it does. So very often on this album that is the case, but what else would you expect? It seems all the studio tricks and experimental tendencies*** are crammed into the intro's before Mister Producer slides the guitar back up, (in some cases, he also turns off the drum machine) and cues the verse, chorus, verse, chorus, FACE MELTER, chorus, chorus, end. Sample lyric: "No one ever told me when i was alone, they just thought i'd know better" Enter piano. "Street of Dreams" is genius. Emotive piano, gently strummed guitars like a soft sea breeze through your hair. Your 80's metal hair. Axl sings with the help of a vocoder for the first few lines before breaking into his best impression of The Count from Sesame Street. I believe thats where he got the idea for the songs title. I actually cried listening to this song. It is just that funny, but, I'd put money on it reaching the Top 40. "If The World" almost reaches the same heights. Axl begins wailing about a lost love, over the top of, I guess it could be described as Eastern sounding guitar. Oh wait, there's the chug, muted chords and 80's synths. This song could be on a James Bond Soundtrack. I don't care for James Bond soundtracks either.  I figure that if this album was recorded in the 80's it would've been incendiary, but twenty odd years later it just sounds like a comedy rock odyssey. It certainly comes with a story you couldn't make up.  As I listen to the album I can't help but think about Axl Rose. The deluded hero of this unlikely story. Hiding in the studio for all this time, slaving away, safe in the knowledge that the big old world out there still loves him. I think about how different a place the world was in 1995 when he started working on this album. About how much I have changed as a person in just a couple of years, and how these last 13 years must have affected him. About all the long days and longer nights, the money and the musicians that he lost along the way, the blood and sweat and tears that went into it. Then I remember that Axl Rose doesn't cry. He just sits down at the piano and wails. No point in being the only one suffering.   Then along comes "Catcher in the Rye". Its the first time on the album thus far that a reaction is actually forced from me, its a gut reaction, I am offended. To use that books name in this context is sacrilege to me, I'm pretty sure Salinger will quit being a recluse if he hears this song, just to hunt down Axl Rose and beat him half to death with his walking stick.  And with that, the joke has worn thin, Axl Rose no longer amuses me. He actually makes me want to puke.  I won't talk any further about it. Its a waste of both of our time. I will however say this. If you liked Guns N' Roses before this album, if you have many different shirts and jackets that you wear out with their name on, you'll probably still like them now. If you didn't and you don't, then you really won't.  I'm not even going to give a mark out of ten.   * Work reportedly started on this album in 1995. I'm pretty sure that 13 years of his relatively short life, constitutes a life's work, its about a third of his time on the planet. Feel free to correct me.