Guns N' Roses have released their first studio-recorded single since 2018, Absurd. It finds the hard-rock institution turning Slash loose on the Chinese Democracy-era track Silkworms, stripping it down into a high-octane rocker.
Produced by Axl Rose and Caram Costanzo, Absurd features former drummer Bryan "Brain" Mantia, and arrives a few days after the band debuted the reworked track live from Fenway Park, Boston, during their We're F'N Back! Tour.
During the Chinese Democracy era, Rose had incorporated a lot more electronic elements to the band's sound, but if Silkworms was considered one of the more futuristic compositions – ultimately one of many tracks recorded but unreleased – Absurd returns Guns N' Roses to the fundamentals, foregrounding the electric guitar.
That said, there's still a neo-punk, Public Image Ltd quality to Rose's vocals, and the energy is much darker and chaotic than the sunbleached-denim classicism of Sweet Child O'Mine.
After a few days spent squinting at poorly recorded smartphone footage that looked like Paul Greengrass was filming during an earthquake, it is something of a relief to hear a high-fidelity version of the song, and perhaps it arrives with the promise of more new music to come.
Guns N' Roses are presently tearing up the States with Wolfgang Van Halen's Mammoth WVH in support – a stretch that terminates with a two-night stint at Floriday's Hard Rock Live Arena on 2 to 3 October. Their UK and European tour, which features a number of stadium dates, has been put back to 2022.
It has been a good summer for Guns N' Roses fans with Slash's much-anticipated signature Epiphone collection released, offering five Les Pauls and a pair of J-45 acoustic guitars in the same finish options as their Gibson counterparts. And Slash himself become the first artist to sign up with Gibson Records, whose first release will be the next Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators album.