I didn't like it but I'm still a bit shocked that it actually came out. I don't mean that negatively, just that, wow, it actually came out... for a good chunk of my life, the idea of GnR coming out with a new record was floating around, that'd it eventually come out. IMO, the "Crystal Skull" of rock, at least for me, something I'd never believe would actually happen five or six years ago.
What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? RIP Dinobot RIP Deadpool RIP Doc Sivana RIP The Line RIP Jagilki
Again, the not Gn'R stuff is excretory matter, since they had different line-ups for Live like a Suicide?!*@/Appeitie/Lies, Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, "The Spaghetti Incident", their Sympathy for the Devil cover single, Oh My God, Chinese Democracy.....Yeah, no album had the same line-up...ever. Just Appetite and two EPs...Oooooooo. Big snork deal.
The difference is, up until after Sympathy for the Devil, the band still had most of its original leading members. "Different lineups" is misleading there; the only difference between Appetite and the Use Your Illusions was a different drummer, and after that, the only difference between Use Your Illusion and The Spaghetti Incident was that Izzy was gone and there was a new rhythm guitarist. Like I said before: one man, no matter how major a contributor he was, does not a band make, unless said individual man's name is in the band name or something (or IS the band name, a la Ozzy Osbourne).
Here's an example: after Rage Against The Machine broke up and the other members went and helped form Audioslave, would it have made sense for Zack de la Rocha to assemble an entirely new band, and then call it Rage Against The Machine? Or when Creed broke up and the other members went and made Alter Bridge, would it have made sense for Scott Stapp to call his new band Creed? No. Because one single performer does not represent an entire band. A band's musical identity comes from the collaborative effort of its members, and when there are different collaborators who are contributing to the sounds and songwriting, it's going to be a different sound, a different identity, and hence, a different band.
Whatever changes made in drummers or keyboardists or whatever, GnR still maintained the core members of Axl, Slash, and Duff (and, up until after Use Your Illusion, Izzy). After Slash and Duff left, and-this is the important factor-Axl started going through new members like Kleenex, it ceased to be Guns N' Roses for me. Changing lineups gradually so that the band evolves reasonably over time is fine; Black Sabbath had a whole bunch of different lineups, but they got away with it because the changes were gradual, never really all that extreme, and whatever new members that came in were allowed time to become part of the band's identity. They didn't have a frontman who went through new members like a roll of toilet paper at a chili cookoff, which is what Axl pretty much did.
Anyway, that's not really the main issue for me as far as Chinese Democracy goes. Being different from the GnR I'm used to isn't the end of the world, as long as the music itself is good. But unfortunately, none of it stood out to me.