Duff McKagan's Loaded Sick

Guns N' Roses: a whole greater than the sum of their parts. No sole member of that trailblazing band has ever equalled — or halved — their impact or success. One could venture to say that even Velvet Revolver, the closest we'll come to a GN'R reunion, were still a pale imitation in comparison. Therefore, it comes as no shock to hear the blasé banality that is Sick. As expected, the music is unsurprising rock'n'roll, in keeping with the aforementioned VR, Loaded's previous releases (Wasted Heart, 2001's Dark Days) and McKagan's storied past. It's when the punk-influenced singer opens his mouth that Sick becomes a groan-inducing affair. From childish rhyming patterns to ridiculous subject matter more befitting the '80s than our current climate, tracks such as "Sleaze Factory," "Flatline" and the title track are juvenile undertakings at best. Kudos to McKagan for continuing to toil away at his beloved craft. However, he's releasing diminishing returns and were it not for the instant recognition of his name, Loaded would be altogether ignored. That might be in their best interests though, then they could forge on unscathed. As is, with such a high profile, they're an easy target weighted down by predictable four-chord songs that devolve and devalue rock'n'roll. (Century Media)