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...one of the classic rockers is Bach!...,
This review is from: Angel Down (Audio CD)
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.