Ain't Life Grand

As the poet once sang, it's hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain — but Slash is still hanging in there, shining the light within his soul as a lucid path back to the days when guitars were guitars, hair was hair and shirts were for pussies. Like a sweet child from out o' the past, welcoming us to the jungle o' the future, the ex-Guns n' Roses axman rides again on the second album from Slash's Snakepit. There's nothing here as inspiring as the debut's Zen pinball meditation "Be the Ball," but the real problem is that great guitarists need great bands, and the Snakepit dudes are barely functional backup peons who don't even have cool names, except bassist Johnny Blackout. So concentrate on Slash, and feel the burn of his guitar reminding you that, once upon a time, he was the guy who co-wrote "Paradise City," "It's So Easy" and "Get in the Ring." One question, though: Where's Izzy?