Appetite for Destruction Guns N' Roses Geffen Sharp observation and wit are not qualities often found in heavy rock, whose primal force is the natural home to bluster and blather. Guns N' Roses, however, upset that maxim with one of the most highly regarded debut albums in rock history. For a brief moment Appetite for Destruction put to bed the notion that metal was just about girls, guns and booze, and introduced the concept of heavy rock as intelligent, even poignant, social comment. In track after track - and in none more forcefully than Paradise City - singer Axl Rose harnessed the brutal power of British-born guitarist Slash's searing licks to lead listeners on a harrowing tour of his Los Angeles hometown, a city of terrifying violence, putrefying decay and hopeless abandon. Just a few years after plodding jazzman Randy Newman put his cheery I Love LA - with its divorced-from-reality lyrics that Disneyfied the shocking state of the city - Appetite made no bones about a metropolis that, at the time, could only laughably be regarded as paradise. The 1987 album portrayed LA's sick underbelly and its brutal subterranea in stark lyrics that paint a picture of a once great metropolis - the second most populous in the US - in schizophrenic decline. 'Strapped in the chair of the city's gas chamber/Why I'm here I can't quite remember,' wails Rose in Paradise City's nihilistic closing verse. 'The surgeon general says it's hazardous to breathe/I'd have another cigarette but I can't see/Tell me who you're gonna believe.' Essentially a paean to home, written as the band jammed in the back of their tour van after a gig in San Francisco, it is one of the standout tracks on an album that plumbs the dark depths of a city that lived its sex, drugs and rock'n'roll reputation to the extreme. The album was no bog-standard headbanger's ball in the vein of the poodle-rock that had become standard fare for the 1980s rock aficionado. In songs such as Welcome to the Jungle and Mr Brownstone, it was clear we were dealing not with gilded pop stars living their hedonistic fantasy - who sadly came in the rest of the Gunners' oeuvre - but with street urchins who came from the wrong side of the tracks. Sure it had more licks than a year of Rolling Stones gigs, and yes the original album artwork was banned in some jurisdictions and eventually changed because it featured a woman being raped by a robot. But it also boasted a slew of tracks that immediately joined the likes of Whole Lotta Love and Paranoid in the canon of great heavy rock tracks. It launched the band from obscure Los Angeles oddballs to globe-striding rock behemoths. A history of intraband fights and litigation, as well as Rose's descent into egomania, have since made Guns N' Roses one of the most vilified bands of the past 20 years, but there's no doubting their debut album was among the finest in the rock era, a visceral portrayal of a seedy, seething Gomorrah.