|Sebastian Bach Angel Down||Caroline/EMI|
I tried so hard to like this album – but therein lies the problem. Why should anyone that appreciates any given artist, be put in a position where they have to work at liking a new release? It should just come naturally. I'm a Sebastian Bach fan, so after so long waiting, I really hoped this would be a kick ass record.|
For me the debut Skid Row album is cool…but the second one Slave To The Grind was freeking phenomenal. I played that album for the best part of 12 months straight and still dig it. I thought Subhuman Race was a massive let down and Skid Row without Sebastian has been a mixed bag at best.
Sebastian Bach solo isn't much better – his live album was ok, but only featured a few new tracks (which I enjoyed), then his project release The Last Hard Men was diabolically abysmal. So, with some anticipation after all the talk and the involvement of producer wiz Roy Z, I guess I was hoping for a Slave To The Grind style hard rock monster here. Not so.
In fact, I was hugely disappointed in a number of areas.
I think the production is adequate, but nowhere near the strength of past Roy Z efforts – for example the guitar sound here is just awful.
The direction is questionable…some are going to dig the modern direction and the more pronounced metal sound, but above all other issues, I just don't find the songs to be that likable or effective. And Sebastian has one of the great voices of metal, so why all the screaming and forced tricks on this record?
Track By Track:
The title track Angel Down is simply down tuned guitars and a howling scream.
You Don't Understand has a more traditional Bach vocal and a decent chorus too, but the vocal is buried in the mix, overtaken by a punk/metal guitar riff.
Back In The Saddle is a screaming cover of the Aerosmith classic, but at track 3? The album is yet to establish itself, and already a cover is thrown into the mix. If Axl Rose wasn't guesting on this track, it would be left to close the album.
Axl Rose further proves he is still alive by guesting on the two tracks that follow too.
(Love Is) A Bitchslap is another downtuned punky track with a horrible guitar sound, but I like Sebastian's vocal here and at least there is some merit to the chorus.
Stuck Inside is another relatively heavy track with modern influences that doesn't do a lot for me.
American Metalhead should really be a classic Bach anthem given the title, but the screaming vocal and horrible guitar sound lets it down.
Negative Light features an awful production sound. Metallica had a new asshole ripped for themselves for releasing something that sounds like this.
Live & Die is a better metal track. I still don't like the guitar sound at all, but the song is one of the better album tracks and the chorus closer to old school Skid Row.
By Your Side sees Bach singing in full power and passion for the first time on the album. A nice acoustic themed ballad that old fans should appreciate.
Our Love Is A Lie is another punky metal track.
Take You Down With Me and Stabbin' Daggers both have bite and metal angst and I think will be appreciated by fans.
You Bring Me Down is modern metal and without a memorable chorus.
Falling Into You is the second ballad of the album and nice again to hear Sebastian singing.
And there is simply too much screaming on this record. Bach shouldn't be looking to prove himself a metal icon, he is already a hard rock icon and that should be good enough for him.
Now, I know I might get hate mail for this review. I wait in readiness, but before you paint me a Bach hater, remember that I rate Slave To The Grind as one of the best records of that era. We already knew Skid Row needed Sebastian Bach, now we know that Sebastian Bach needs Skid Row.
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