Album of the Day: Beautiful Creatures’ Self-Titled Debut
In 2001, I got an e-mail from Vince one morning that was about this band he’d seen the night before, Beautiful Creatures. “They’re Guns N’ Roses for the 21st Century!” he raved. Good sell: I ran out and bought their self-titled debut album immediately, without ever hearing a note.
As usual, Vince was a prophet: “Guns N’ Roses for the 21st Century!” is exactly what the band wanted to be. Their aforementioned debut was produced by Sean Beavan and engineered by a dude known as “Critter,” both of whom had just spent several years working on an album called Chinese Democracy. And while, at the time, vocalist Joe Lesté of Bang Tango fame was easily the most well-known member of the band, their lead guitarist and primary songwriter was this dude named Dj Ashba.
Yeah. Dj Ashba. Who would go on to become Dj Slashba.
Like I said. Vince is a prophet.
ANYWAY, here’s the thing: this album ruled in 2001, and it rules now. Yeah, it’s got more corn in it than Billy Milano’s dumps, but that’s par for the course with arena rock. The truth is, I’m not sure any band from the current crop of pop-metal acts have made an album this good, and I’m not sure any former member of the original Guns N’ Roses has made an album this Guns N’ Roses-y. (Avenged Sevenfold have clearly come the closest, but they incorporate enough other influences that to compare their music only to GN’R is reductive.)
Okay, so Joe Lesté is no Axl Rose, that’s for damn sure, but holy red mother of egotistical gingers, did he ever “borrow” Rose’s vocal phrasing on this album. Which is to say nothing of the whole Slashba thing… yes, there are other influences, and clearly Slashba was trying to sound more modern than Slash, but c’mon: close your eyes and tell me you can’t imagine Slash, Duff, Izzy and the gang rockin’ out to this shit.
Sadly, Beautiful Creatures has been completely forgotten by time! Not entirely surprising, given that it sold seven copies upon its release (one to me, one to Vince, one to each of the five band members’ moms). But it’s not even on Spotify! Amazon has one copy in stock, and it’s $32, which is fucking insane (luckily, there are some cheaper used copies — snatch ’em up, muthafuckas!). I don’t endorse pirating, but I share this information as a way of making a point: I looked for it on a very popular torrenting site, and it has no seeders. Do you realize how crazy that is??? More people are illegally downloading fucking Risk right now than are downloading this album. Shit, even finding a decent-res image of its cover is a real bitch. This is the best I could do:
Unfortunately, after the album shit the bed, Slashba split the band. They made one more album in 2005, Deuce, a title that is both clever and accurate on multiple levels. Vince and I saw them live once after that album, and they were pretty bad, plagued by technical difficulties and Lesté being visibly hammered.
Still: Beautiful Creatures is the maybe the only reason not to be totally infuriated by Slashba’s ridiculous routine. If he somehow ever actually gets to write a record for Axl Rose, it could end up being basically Appetite for Destruction in the 21st Century, which would be less interesting than Chinese Democracy, but is probably the album most fans really want.
Luckily, someone uploaded the whole thing to YouTube, so you can at least hear it. Get ready to rock…