- Like the hard-rock equivalent of Brian Wilson's SMILE, Guns N' Roses' CHINESE DEMOCRACY was one of the greatest records that never was--a project more fable than fact, more speculation than actualization. Created over 15 years with countless producers and musicians, the album often seemed as if it would remain forever mired in the swamps of Axl Rose's legendarily unpredictable personality. When the disc finally did appear, the musical landscape had changed so significantly that many wondered if Rose's fans even still cared.
- What the faithful got for their undying loyalty may not have been classic GnR, but it was an unquestionably powerful slice of enigmatic, genre-pushing hard rock which retained some the group's famously rebellious attitude. Sonically, CHINESE DEMOCRACY benefited from its long gestation period by incorporating bits of many post-SPAGHETTI INCIDENT subgenres, including nu-metal, electronica, new garage rock, and post-grunge. Luckily, even after all his bizarre, Michael Jackson-like personal travails, Rose lost little of his lyrical bite, shooting back at disbelievers with the fervor of a much younger and hungrier artist, leaving admirers wondering if perhaps the best was still yet to come.
Rolling Stone (p.120) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] great, audacious, unhinged and uncompromising hard-rock record. In other words, it sounds a lot like the Guns n' Roses you know."
Rolling Stone (p.90) - Ranked #12 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "[I]t is audacious and unhinged..."
Spin (p.46) - Ranked #39 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[I]t's no less idea-stuffed than USE YOUR ILLUSION I and II."
Spin (p.92) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The music toggles between two primary modes: grinding industrial rock and keys-and-strings balladry."
Entertainment Weekly (p.73) - "This is unapologetically huge music....The blistering 'Shackler Revenge' rides a sinister riff to headbanging heaven, while the piano-heavy 'Catcher in the Rye' showcases GN'R at their '70s-aping stadium best."
Billboard (p.41) - "The artist is in fine, ever-changing voice throughout, and there's certainly a ton of musical food for thought here, requiring several listens before the nuances are revealed."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.108) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "CHINESE DEMOCRACY reveals itself to be an ambitious, brave and expansive offering."
Blender (Magazine) (p.61) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "These aren't songs, they're suites -- hard-rock hydras cut with miasmic industrial grind, stadium-rattling metal solos, electronic drift and hip-hop churn."