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To make a brief history of Sebastian Bach, he was the vocalist of the Hair Metal band Skid row, who rode the last wave of success on the whole hair thing at the end of the 80s. In my opinion, they weren’t bad, nothing special, but worthy of praise. Anyway, so in 1996 Sebastian was fired because the group refused to open for KISS. Since then, he released one solo album and has been mooching off Axel Rose. But, in 2007 he released this record, and in my curiosity I picked it up to listen to it, expecting some washed up generic 80s Pop/rock. Boy, I was wrong.
This album has actually quickly become one of my favourites of all time. One of the reasons I like it is because for one, it is very diverse metal wise. There are songs that incorporate Power metal riffs, some with Thrash, Speed, Traditional and some 80s hard rock. The choruses are catchy as hell, yet pure heavy metal, there’s no guilt in realizing you’re humming a song like “Talk Dirty to Me”. You can tell ol Bach hired the only best. The line-up consists of former members of bands like Testament, Halford, Iced Earth, Demons&Wizards and Riot. There is a ballad or two there, but they aren’t horrible, not really good, but I wouldn’t skip them.
The guitar work is substantially good. The basic songs are generally just Skid Row riffs tuned to drop D, but the songs that incorporate the other influences are what stand out. The quick dual lead bit of “You Don’t Understand” sounds like something Blind Guardian wish they had come up with, The chorus of “Negative Light” highlights some nice Cathedral influence and the Gothenburg sound of “Take you Down with Me” make you feel like you’re listening to a metal buffet. And the great thing about these is that they flow. It’s not like you listen to this really epic song crazing more, and then it goes into a boring song. The solos aren’t really memorable to be honest. They are appropriate, and are definitely plentiful in skill, but none of them are anything that makes you say “wow!” The bass work is acceptable. It isn’t really anything special r unique, but you can hear it and it does help in adding to the heavy metal feel. The same goes with the drumming, nothing special but it does compliment the music.
The vocals. Holy.Fucking.Shit. they are amazing. Sebastian really gives his all with this, and he comes through. He has his cool normal voice, and then he has these incredible screech/screams that could shatter glass, in a good way. His voice always compliments the songs. Whether it’s a ballad, or a screeching speed metal song, his vocals always stand out the most. I think the only problem people would have with the vocals is the odd guest apperance by Axel Rose. I know some people hate his voice. I honestly don't mind so it wasn't a problem, but if he is the absolute worst vocalist for you, some of the songs will be killed for you.
The lyrics are good, but not great. They tend to be a bit angst and angry, but nothing retarded like Slipknot. Although, there are songs that do exceptionally like” Angel down” and “Love is a Bitchslap”, and a majority of them are quite catchy and easy to remember, but not predictable like a lot of catchy songs. The production is very good; everything is well organized and clean. You always get the proper atmosphere from the songs whether is hectic and angry, or calm and sappy.
As amazing and metal as this album is, I think someone who is purely into Death/Black//Thrash metal would probably have a harder time getting into this, just because it has the body of Heavy Metal but the soul of Hard Rock. But, if your tastes range like mine from Hard rock to Heavy Metal you will definitely enjoy this album. As much as people wish Bach was still in Skid Row so they didn’t suck as much as they do now, I’m glad he left, because this album surpasses everything Skid Row has ever, and especially now, will ever do.
Sebastian Bach’s solo project didn’t come to my attention until early 2008. Of course, Bach was well known for his vox work with Skid Row, but 1997 saw him leave the band and embark on his solo project, which was to be called Sebastian Bach. Skid Row made it big with some legendary songs like "18 & Life,” “Slave To The Grind” and "Youth Gone Wild," so for Mr. Bach to make an impact on his solo project, it would require a great deal of work.
First up, the line-up;
Metal Mike Chlasciak of Painmuseum fame on guitars – well known shredder and a regular celebrity on fuze TV. Johnny "Chromatic" Lenaerts is the second guitarist and the bassist on this album is the devastating Steve Di Giorgio. Completing this impressive line-up is Bobby Jarzombek (drums), the brother of guitar wizard Ron Jarzombek. The line-up has a blend of experience, skill and immense technicality, courtesy Bobby. Absurd it may seem, but Bobby is in fact playing in a non-technical band for a change, but all in all the line-up is formidable and expectations would obviously be high.
The name Sebastian Bach doesn’t really need an introduction, when it comes to his vocals. A powerful voice, a strong blend of power, pitch and depth, Sebastian has the ability to pull off anything thrown at him and he doesn’t disappoint. His harsh, gut-wrenching screams and ability to scream for what seems like minutes is unbelievable and unreal. Listeners will be treated to some dominant vocals on songs like “Angel Down,” “Live and Die” and “American Metalhead,” and a decent effort on some other songs. The ballads, “By Your Side,” “You Bring Me Down,” and “Falling Into You” are terrible tracks here, mainly because they suit Bach but not the other musicians. Imagine people of Metal Mike’s, Steve Di Giorgio’s and Mr. Jarzombek’s caliber playing to some ballads when all theses guys are known for is belting out technical, heavy and balls-to-the-wall stuff. These tracks are a letdown but then no band has come out with a flawless album to date.
The bass work is insane, brutal and innovative, thanks to Mr. Di Giorgio. The first track, “Angel Down” has the most innovative bit of guitar and bass work over the solo section. Steve plays overdriven, wah bass while Metal Mike shreds out a blistering solo and it’s a strange, but brilliant change from the regular solos played with backing guitars or a standard bassline. The guitar, drums and bass compliment each other well and from the songwriting department, it’s not at all quiet on the western front. Heavy, explosive guitar work and some mean basslines by Steve make for an electrifying album and it certainly is a must have.
Highs: Sebastian Bach’s powerful voice, the bass work, the guitars, the drums, Angel Down, Live and Die, Take You Down With Me and American Metalhead.
Lows: The ballads and the inclusion of Axl Rose on Love Is A Bitchslap and Stuck Inside.
Well Sebastian Bach is known for being the lead vocalist for the band Skid Row. However once he was fired from the band he began to fade from the spotlight. Since then he put out a few solo albums. The newest onw being Angel Down. I heard a few interviews of him talking about his upcoming album but I didn't think much of it. Then I remembered that it came out so I figured I would give it a listen. To my suprise it exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be somewhat of a crappy pop rock album, but it turns out many songs on here are straight up heavy metal and Bach bolts it out!
The songs themselves are good and are diverse with heavy riffs and some ballads mixed in. First let me start by talking about the songs Axl Rose from Guns N Roses performs in. Bach and Axl do a cover of Aerosmith's Back in the Saddle. I guess every album has a cover these days and this is it, nothing to great, I think the original is better. Next Axl helps out on (Love Is) A Bitchslap and Stuck Inside. These two songs are probably among the weakest on the album, and I was disappointed because I wanted to here Axl on some kickass songs.
Next up are the standout tracks on the album which are plentiful and include Angel Down, You Don't Understand, American Metalhead, Negative Light, Our love is a lie, and Live and Die. All these tracks are very heavy and Bach really bolts out the vocals in old school Skid Row fashion. The weakest songs are Take You Down with Me, and Stabbin' Daggers because they are forgettable and most likely album filler. Last but not least are the album ballads, I myself hate ballads but these are to be expected on an album like this. By Your Side, You Bring Me Down, and Falling into You are the ballads which should help sell the album and gain some sales with female listeners.
Overall this album is kickass, if your a fan of oldschool hair/heavy metal from back in the 80's such as Skid Row, Wasp, Motley Crue, and others I urge you to get this album as metal like this being released these days is very rare. Give it a listen and bang your head like its 1986!