The Red Hot Chili Peppers new album is almost here and eager fans are dying to hear what the band sounds like post-Frusciante -- their new track 'Monarchy of Roses' should give you a good idea.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers had become so identifiable by the sound of John Frusciante's Hendrix-meets-funk guitar stylings and backup falsetto, that imagining the band without him again was kind of hard to do. The first song the band released, 'The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie', sounded similar to their previous bodies of work with John. The current members have said that there is no other song on the album that sounds like '...Maggie', so we really don't know what the hell we'll be getting on 'I'm With You'.

The latest track leaked is the album's opener, 'Monarchy of Roses'. Ironically enough the track is reminiscent of 'Warped' from 1995's 'One Hot Minute' -- the band's last album without Frusciante. Opening with the same type of effect-laden vocals and hard rock guitar ambience,  it immediately takes you back to the days when Dave Navarro (briefly) handled axe duties for RHCP.

When the chorus kicks in you get an dose of more familiar Chili Pepper with Flea's galloping bass line, funky guitar (now supplied by Josh Klinghoffer), and Kiedis' friendly vocal delivery over top of a disco-esque beat supplied by Chad Smith.

The most surprising element of this song is Klinghoffer's subtly awesome guitar playing. Klinghoffer seems to be more about sounds and less about the flashy type of lead playing that Frusciante brought to the table. The harmonic madness he adds between the chorus and verse bring a textural element we usually get from Nine Inch Nails or Tool -- never the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Throw in Klinghoffer's killer anti-solo and a well executed key change at the end, and you have what looks to be the start of a very interesting Red Hot Chili Peppers album.

Final Verdict: Though the chorus isn't their strongest, new elements in the guitar department and an interesting arrangement make the bands sound unpredictable for the first time in over a decade - B