For the casual fan, most know Duff McKagan as the bassist in Guns n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, but the Seattle native has a long history in rock ‘n’ roll. He has released solo albums, he was in the short-lived Neurotic Outsiders, and if you go way back, the talented multi-instrumentalist was part of the early “grunge” movement with the bands The Fartz, War Babies and The Fastbacks.
Seemingly always working, McKagan is still with Velvet Revolver, but in the meantime he has created quite a little side project he calls Duff McKagan’s Loaded. McKagan fronts the band as lead singer and guitarist, along with Mike Squires (guitar), Jeff Rouse (bass) and new drummer Isaac Carpenter.
With Terry Date at the controls for their third release, The Taking, the dozen tracks rumble and rattle bones with low end, spit and spew lightning guitar licks, and howl and wail with McKagan’s superb vocal delivery.
The Taking births raging punk rock with a mixture of classic guitar-driven rock. From the get go, the album hits you square with the buzz saw guitars on “Lords of Abbadon” and drives, pedal firmly to the floor, with tracks “Executioner’s Song,” and the first single “Dead Skin.”
McKagan and the boys don’t let up, either. “We Win,” though a bit more down tempo, is sure to be a crowd pleaser in a live setting and “She’s an Anchor” is a gloomy rocker which smolders then ignites with the chorus. “Indian Summer” pours the melody thick and heavy while “Cocaine” has a little blues flare, only with the amps cranked to 11.
Duff McKagan’s Loaded’s The Taking is a great album from top to bottom, easily the best album McKagan done since leaving Guns ‘n’ Roses, and that’s saying a lot considering how many irons he has in the fire. This very well could be my favorite album of the year.