Steven Adler, the onetime Guns ‘N Roses drummer, has released the debut album by his band Adler. If you recall the ousted drummer had an on again off again band called Adler’s Appetite. Okay, not the most ‘original’ idea but what do you expect? Adler wasn’t a writer or a creative force and he’s used his role in the ‘classic’ Guns ‘N Roses line-up as a stepping stone. It hasn’t worked however; God knows he tried. Adler has had an ever-revolving line-up with Adler’s Appetite and with stints in and out of rehab. Any momentum he had gained was immediately lost.

So when Steven and his (new) crew hit the studio as the newly dubbed Adler (again not the most creative name), true to his predictable nature of never letting you forget ‘hey I was in Gun ‘N Roses,’ Adler resorted to simply using his surname. Back From The Dead was co-produced by Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner, T&N) with Adler. Pilson, in addition to the production duties, helped co-write a pair of tunes and played bass tracks on the entire album. The album sounds huge due to the mixing skills of in-demand producer Jay Ruston. On board in Adler is vocalist Jacob Bunton, whom you might recall from Mars Electric – one of the many John Kalodner bands that didn’t ‘take off,’ guitarist Lonny Paul and bassist Johnny Martin. Back From The Dead features guest appearances by (wait for it) Slash on “Just Don’t Ask,” and John 5 (Rob Zombie) on “Good To Be Bad.”

Back From The Dead sounds great sonically – it should. Between Pilson and Ruston there’s a lot of experience. The truth is, what people will remember about an album is the craftsmanship in the songwriting and how it hooks you and sucks you in. Back From The Dead can be produced by the best of the best in the business and you can load it with guest after guest, but if the songs aren’t there – they simply aren’t there, as is the case here. Bunton does a respectable job with contemporary rock vocals, Paul showcases his chops on guitar, and Steven sounds pretty good. I think the fortunate thing here is since Steven will be reliving his past the likelihood of Adler performing more than two songs off Back From The Dead is a blessing. My question is can this band pull off the Guns ‘N Roses back catalog?

If you’re fine with cookie cutter, uninspiring, contemporary ‘radio friendly’ rock that is extremely forgettable then Adler is just for you. Having said that, if I went to see Adler the two ‘originals’ that I’d be curious to hear live would be “Habit,” and “Back From The Dead.” Everything else on the album will leave you feeling rather empty and duped.


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