9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2007
This is the first solo outing in seven years for the once King of 80s Metal. It does not disappoint. From the initial growling guitar and howling scream of the title song, you realise that this is a singer who has not waned in those 7 long years.
The album is a brutally heavy clash of 80s rock with modern metal. Surrounded by world-class musicians such as Steve Digorgio, Bobby Jarzombek and 'Metal' Mike, and produced by Roy Z of Rob Halford fame, this album certainly packs a punch. The inclusion of the elusive Axl Rose is a genius addition.
The songs themselves range from pure thrash ('Angel Down') to ones with a more punky attitude and catchy chorus ('You Don't Understand') to modern 80s metal ('Love is a Bitchslap') and of course, the ballads ('Falling into You' and 'By Your Side'). Highlights also include the Zeppelin-esque 'Negative Light' where Bach pays homage to the Gods of Rock with an 'Immigrant Song' style scream. The songs with Axl Rose are great, on only one does Bach truly duet with him (the cover of Aerosmith's 'Back in the Saddle') whilst on the other two, he is in the background, perfectly complementing Bach's own voice whilst never over-shadowing him. This is mixing done to perfection.
As for the man himself, he sounds better than he has done in years. The metal attitude has come through and abolishes all images of that, frankly disastrous, period of glam on 'Bring 'Em Bach Alive'. His voice sounds higher on some songs than it has done in previous years, but he hits and holds notes perfectly with an amazing vibratto, showing that underneath it all is the voice of a world-class singer, whilst his screams prove he still has one of the best voices in metal today.
Overall, this album is pure brilliance. The heady days of 80s rock brought crashingly into the 21st Century with a modern, heavy sound, contributed by brilliant musicians, mixed excellently, all centred around one of the best voices in the business today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sebastian Bach was one of the great lost voices of rock and roll. After splitting with Skid Row following the subpar Subhuman Race album, he vanished into the netherworld of tribute albums, Broadway productions, and reality TV shows. Which is understandable given his larger than life, see me, see me, persona. However, it was sad to see someone who defined the phrase ROCK STAR slumming it in shows like Celebrity Rap Superstar, SuperGroup, Gone Country and I'm A Faded Celebrity, Get Me Publicity. It made his stint on the ever fabulous Gilmore Girls seem highbrow by comparison.
When he wasn't on television, you could usually find him on Broadway. He took the title role in Jekyll & Hyde, played Riff Raff in the The Rocky Horror Show and even shook his mane as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Now that's all fine and dandy, but what those of us of a certain age want, is for Sebastian to rock. And, at last, he has.
Angel Down is his first proper solo album, fifteen years in the making, after the live Bring 'Em Bach Alive! and the covers roundup Bach 2: Basics, and it sees Bach bringing a metal sensibility to his hair metal roots. He probably sees it as the natural follow up to Slave To The Grind, and it comfortably sits as a close relation to that album. Shame then that the production work of former Halford guitarist Roy Z is so one dimensional and predictable. The second half of the album, in particular, gets lost in a welter of poor mixing. The preponderance of ex Halford personnel (the album also features Metal Mike Chlasciak and Bobby Jarzombek) just highlights how Halford, and now Bach, were and are, slumming it.
But I know what you really want to know, and I've just been teasing you. Yes, Axl Rose makes his long overdue return to the world of recorded music on three tracks. Strangely, they all appear back to back near the beginning of the album, almost as if Bach wanted to get them over and done with. The two kick off their 21st century Everly Brothers turn with a romp through Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle", which is serviceable if uninspired, apart from the vocals, which rock big time. "(Love Is) A Bitchslap" is very 1988 Guns n' Roses, and will have fans of that sound getting ever so slightly moist. "'Stuck Inside," is just a rather dull grunge lite shriekathon which goes nowhere in particular. So, there you go. They should add a few sales, and I'm sure that was the whole point.
Luckily for all concerned, there is one thing that saves the album, even when Roy Z does his best to ruin things: the overwhelmingly great rock voice that is Sebastian Bach. Time has not withered his range or his ability to stun a buffalo at a hundred yards. On tracks like "American Metalhead" and "Our Love Is A Lie" he hits notes that mere mortals can only dream about. Or just listen to the scream on "Negative Light". Dogs everywhere will be lying whimpering whenever that gets cranked up. However, Bach being Bach, he hasn't forgotten about the good old days, and there are a couple of huge ballads for the ladies to enjoy. "By Your Side" and the Desmond Child co-write "Falling Into You" will happily slot into the final song slot at any eighties rock night, with the former, one of the best Bach ballads ever. And this is a man who sang on "I Remember You"!. Best of all, though, is the Britmetal influenced "You Don't Understand", which has some classic late seventies riffing.
The music world needs firework exploding balls of fire like Sebastian Bach, and it's an absolute delight to have him back doing what he does best. Even with an iffy production and, probably, three songs too many, this remains a really good album. Hopefully, it won't be another 15 years before he gets round to releasing a follow up. Leave that kind of nonsense to Axl.
Folks in the UK will find that Angel Down comes with a DVD called Roadrage, which covers the making of the CD and also five live songs from the Guns n' Roses tour. This should also be available on later editions in the USA, so make sure you buy the right one.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sebastian Bach is one of the best singers in Heavy Metal & Hard Rock, whether you like him or think he is just a pretty boy you've gotta admit that his voice is unique!
This is album has incredible songs 'You don't Understand' has great vocal melodies and guitars. There is also a version of Aerosmith's 'Back in the Saddle' that is unbelievable! Axl Rose is in this track and it just rocks! They change vocals between each other and man it is amazing!
Axl also appears on 2 more tracks! this seems to be one of the hooks to sell the album, but the songs overall are pure metal; with or without Axl this would have been a great album.
Let the music play!
PS: Love is a Bitchslap is unbelievable!!