Original Guns N’ Roses returns after 28 years

‘Hard Skool’ EP review


Kamal KN

Album Cover for the new EP. Photo retrieved from lyricsbuzz.

Hannah Hunt, Co-Managing Editor

Guns N’ Roses has released a new four song EP for the first time in 13 years! Out of the four tracks, two are singles which were released within the past year. “Hard Skool” is the work of band members Axl Rose, Dizzy Reed, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, Josh Freese, Paul Tobias, Robin Finck, Slash and Tommy Stinson. It is the band’s first EP since the return of Slash and McKagan in 2016.

The EP was announced Sept. 24, 2021, with the release of the title track “Hard Skool,” this being track one on the EP. “Hard Skool” maintains Guns N’ Roses’ 90s rock feel. The opening baseline, met with a classic Slash riff, is the aggression fans come to expect from the band. Rose sets the scene of betrayal with his thrashy, ragged chorus, “But you had to play it cool, had to do it your way / Had to be a fool, had to throw it all away / Too hard school and you thought you were here to stay / If that were true, it wouldn’t matter anyway.”

Now, we simply cannot forget the classic Guns N’ Roses guitar solo. This song being the title track just makes sense all because of the breakdown. There’s Slash’s guitar solo, Rose’s moans and wails in the background and then the slow build up back into an even harder chorus. The band fades away as Rose repeats the chorus again and again.

Track two, “ABSUЯD,” which was released as a single on Aug. 6, 2021, is the first look at “Hard Skoolthe world got, and also the first look at Guns N’ Roses after the return of Slash and McKagan. For the first time in 28 years the original band was back together, and releasing music! This song may be familiar to fans of the band, because it was originally released under the name “Silkworms.”

Cover image from the Youtube video of ABSURD. Image Retrieved from Youtube.

From the opening guitar riff listeners can already tell that this song is heavy. Then, with a howl from Rose, listeners are launched into the fast lyrics which explain how grateful they should be for this “song that should be heard.” The other lewd lyrics which are repeated throughout the whole song are surprising, but not as surprising as the pause halfway through. The break from the heavy guitar solos, and the chanting of the song title is extremely abrupt and almost startling.

Then, almost immediately, you are thrown back into the refrain and squealing of Slash’s guitar. Then it is just… over. This clearly is not the classic Guns N’ Roses we have grown to love and miss, and it was shocking for fans for this to be the first thing the band has released in so long. However, that does not mean it is a bad song. It is exciting to see the band’s aggression and energy in the song. It is also good to see that they are not going to try to replicate what they had in the 80s and 90s. They are writing what they want. 

Tracks four and five are live recordings of  already released songs. Track four is “Don’t Cry” which is on the album “Appetite for Destruction,” released in 1987. Track five is “You’re Crazy” which is on the album “Use Your Illusion I,” released in 1991.

The digital, CD and cassette versions of the EP were made available Feb. 25, and a seven-inch vinyl version will be released on June 24.

This is not all we see of Guns N’ Roses. In 2019, the band started working on new songs, and there were rumors of an LP being released. These rumors caused some to be disappointed by the release of the EP with only two new tracks. However, who knows what the future may hold!

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