Almost thirty years after “Sweet Child o’ Mine” topped the Billboard Charts as Guns N Roses first #1 US single, the now beyond-legendary group have released their genre defining first album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ alongside a myriad of extras that extensively chronicle the bands’ early days, in a definitive remastered collection. The collection is available in two formats, being released as a ‘Super Deluxe Edition’ (which has 51 songs over 4 CDs, as well as a Blu-ray Audio Disc with the original album in high fidelity), as well as a holy-grail ‘Locked N Loaded’ edition. The ‘Locked N Loaded’ edition features the entirety of the ‘Super Deluxe Edition’, as well as a plethora of physical goodies, ranging from records, to rings, to replica gig banners.
The first disc (aptly titled ‘Appetite for Destruction: Remastered’) is an update of the original 1987 album that turned Guns N Roses from a group of LA rebels into Rock and Roll royalty. With ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ featuring on the iconic track-listing, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ is truly an album that even the most casual of listeners would recognize. For fans of the band, the Remastered album brings no surprises, but more than fulfils all expectations in its high-quality goodness.
‘B-Sides N EPs: Remastered’ is the second CD of the box-set. The disc features remasters of Gunners’ 1988 ‘Lies’ EP (minus the controversial ‘One in a Million’) as well as the band’s 1987 live recordings of ‘It’s So Easy’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ and AC/DCs’ ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. The remastering of the live tracks is impressive to say the least, with each of the members’ parts being clearly identifiable and absolutely nothing getting lost in the mix.
Disc 3, ‘1986 Sound City Sessions’, is essentially an Appetite for Destruction demo disc, with every song besides ‘It’s So Easy’, ‘Mr Brownstone’ and ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ being present. The demos give insight into how the album could have potentially turned out, making it a very interesting listen. While the tracks aren’t too dissimilar from what would make it onto the final release of the album, at least compositionally speaking, it really reflects how much Guns N Roses grew as musicians within the following year, with the performances on the now-iconic album being far superior to the playing on the demos. Listening to Slash’s solos from the Sound City Sessions is almost uncomfortably jarring, with very few of the legendary and instantly recognizable solos that Appetite is renowned for being present. The disc concludes with covers of Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, the Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and a demo of the original Guns N Roses track, ‘Shadow of Love’.
‘1986 Sound City Session N’ More’ is the final CD of the box-set. The disc is a continuation of the previous CD, containing demos of songs from the 1986 Sound City Sessions that wouldn’t make it onto the first release of Appetite. The CD also has a previously unreleased studio recording of ‘Shadow of Your Love’, which was extensively used during the promotion of the box-set. However, though this is the first time this particular version has been released, the song has been used as the B-Side for several of Guns N’ Roses singles, as well as featuring on their 1988 ‘Live From The Jungle EP’. Among the other recordings from the 1986 Sound City Sessions are demos for the majority of ‘Lies’, and, perhaps most interestingly, two 1986 recordings of ‘November Rain’, which would go on to become one of Guns N’ Roses biggest hits following it’s release on 1991’s ‘Use Your Illusion I’. Rumour has it that Axl Rose had been working on ‘November Rain’ since 1983, and though a majority of what would eventually be released is present on the 1986 recording, his ‘perfectionistic nature’ made him unwilling to release the track until it was finalized in 1991. The final CD wraps out with acoustic recordings of ‘You’re Crazy’, ‘November Rain’, ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ and ‘Move to the City’.
From the remaster of the original album, to the live recordings, to the release of the 1986 demos, the Appetite for Destruction Locked N Loaded box-set is a thoughtfully crafted time-capsule of a begone era. The set does a sensational job of capturing the what Guns N’ Roses was about in their early days and will be a certified fan-pleaser for those who have a great appreciation for early Gunners.
Get your copy of Appetite For Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded HERE!