In truth, not a Guns N’ Roses album, but an Axl Rose and Friends production, as not another single member from the band’s original line-up is present here. In their place is a virtual militia of guitar players — often four to five at a time — and an extended crew of keyboardists, including Use Your Illusion-era Dizzy Reed. With all this firepower, Rose uses his surly, knowing howl to ID these hard rock tunes with his fervent, often imagined, sense of injustice and works his way into quite a tizzy. He’s raging against something that’s holding the world back in the title track and he’s stalking the stage with the gothic thrust of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson on “Better” and adopting the Robert Plant banshee scream throughout “Riad N’ the Bedouins.” While Rose spends much of his vocal range in a high anguished falsetto, his backing group use everything from prog-rock Mellotron and strings for “There Was a Time” to piano and orchestra for the Freddie Mercury-inspired power-ballad “Street of Dreams.” Rose doesn’t believe in small moves. An album that has taken 15 years to appear and has used 14 studios to create it could only be this grandiose: Larger than life in every conceivable way.