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A Kick in Bolans face. - 80%

absurder21, May 18th, 2009

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.