Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review - Sebastian Bach's Give 'Em Hell

 Sebastian Bach - Give 'Em Hell
   Thinking back to the mid to late 80's, Skid Row was one of the few bands that didn't cling to the hair metal craze. They were heavier than many of those bands to start off with. There was something darker about their songs and videos. There was a short span where bands like GNR was the biggest band on the planet and Skid Row was not that far behind. As most bands of the time crashed and burned so did Skid Row. For Skid Row the straw that broke the camel's back was Bach booking an opening gig for the band with Kiss. The members disagreed on being considered openers during the height of their success. Bach split and ironically the band would go onto open for KISS just four years later.

   Bach released Angel Down in 2007. An album that was heavier than anything Skid Row had put out in the years since he left. He continued working on various projects and did several acting gigs over the years. He followed up Angel Down with Kicking and Screaming. I felt the album was over produced and the songs didn't really fit with Bach's style. It was a total departure from Angel Down.

   Cut to this year, with an all star cast including Duff(GNR), Steve Stevens(BILLY IDOL) & John 5(ROB ZOMBIE), Give 'Em Hell is a return to Bach's glory days. The production is noticeably cleaner and the musicianship is exactly what you'd expect from former members of hugely successful bands. The songwriting is the most exciting improvement. With the exception of the bonus track Rock N Roll Is a Vicious Game (April Wine Cover) that sounds more like a country crooner the entire album from start to finish is filled with memorable sing along hits.

   Sebastian Bach's voice shows no signs of wear and tear. His screams are as sharp as they've ever been. Looking at the work of his peers, it's rare that a singer from his era isn't falling back on production tricks or background vocalists to fill in the gaps. The songs themselves are unique in their own right, not copy cat or throwbacks to a former time. They sound like NOW not THEN. While not as heavy as Angel Down, these songs feel like they have a lot more life than the previous Kicking and Screaming album.

   My favorite tracks have to be Harmony, All My Friends Are Dead, Temptation, Dominator and Push Away. Had Enough and Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game (April Wine Cover) do not feel like they fit amongst the heavier songs but I'm sure there are a lot of ballad loving fans still around that might prefer those songs. Many of the songs are devoid of misogyny as the male role in songs like Dominator and Push Away ultimately are subservient of the female role. Woah where did that come from? Back to the headbanging. I highly recommend this album for any fan of Skid Row or Bach fan. This is how Skid Row should be sounding now and not the bar band, faster pussycat'esque bullshit they've been putting out all these years. Mr. Bach, good on you.

Sebastian Bach
Give 'Em Hell

Sebastian Bach - lead vocals
Duff McKagan - bass guitar
Devin Bronson - guitar
Bobby Jarzombek
Guest musician:
John 5 - guitar (4)
Steve Stevens - guitar 

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