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Sebastian Bach – Angel Down

Label: Caroline Records
Format: CD/DVD Limited Edition
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino



Sebastian Bach (former singer for Skid Row) is back with “Angel Down”, an album to match his explosive energy level and personality. His first solo album (if you wanna call it that), “Bring Em Bach Alive” in 1999, was a quarter studio and half live effort, only consisting of five studio songs with of course the live selections predominantly from Skid Row. Average at best. A covers album, “Bach 2 Basics”, followed in 2001 and several guest appearances on other artist’s records like his noteworthy contributions to the Frameshift album “An Absence of Empathy”. Throw in Broadway work that includes Jekyll & Hyde (2000), The Rocky Horror Show (2001), and Jesus Christ Superstar where he plays Jesus of Nazareth (2002-2003).

 

With “Angel Down”, Sebastian has finally nailed down a consistent lineup of players, and talented ones at that; Metal Mike Chlasciak (who has worked with Rob Halford, Testament, and has his own band called Painmuseum) on guitar, Johnny Chromatic also on guitar, Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Death, Iced Earth, and Sadus) on bass, and Bobby Jarzombek who has played drums for Rob Halford, Iced Earth, Demons and Wizards and Riot. Nice resumes, huh?

Add in Roy Z to mix/produce “Angel Down” and you have a winner. Don’t you? Of course you do.

“Angel Down” should have been the follow up Skid Row never released to the overlooked “Subhuman Race”. One can hear from “Angel Down’s” title track that Bas somehow has tapped into the darker semi grungy metal sound of “Subhuman”. The vocal is aggressive with grit in Bas’ tone and the screeching distorted guitar solo is appropriate. What is this…do I hear an influence from the Euro Power Metal sound (Gamma Ray, Edguy) in “You Don’t Understand” as it opens with twin guitar harmonies? The guitar harmonies and up beat “happy metal” tempo work and are a nice change up from Sebastian’s usual straight ahead songs.

Three more hard rockers follow and feature guest vocals by Axl Rose from Gun n Roses; a faithful beefed up rendition of “Back in the Saddle” (Aerosmith), single/video “(Love Is) A Bitchslap”, and a grinding riff to the moody rocker “Stuck Inside” which would have perfectly fit on “Subhuman Race”.

“American Metalhead” originally was a song written and recorded by Metal Mike for his band Painmuseum. With Sebastian at the mic his charisma and attitude sure do deliver the goods and his emphasis on the chorus really adds a kick in the ars, and you can’t go wrong with the crushing riffs and rhythm section. “Negative Light” hits with thrashy riffing and keeps the energy level high.

Heart felt ballad “By Your Side” shows emotion by the use of acoustic guitars and strings (and from what I understand is about Bas’ late father). Good shit with a strong memorable chorus.

The bonus DVD, called RoadRage, features The Making of Angel Down 2006-07 and shows the band recording the album, working with Roy Z, having a few beers and sharing several laughs together. In between the recording sessions are five pro shot live clips recorded in Canada, a festival in Japan and while on tour with Gun n Roses. Backstage with the Trailer Park Boys is just a waste of tape and I don’t understand why it’s included. Other than that it is all well done and worth picking up. O…and Bas’ moment in the parking lot for Bobby’s Last Day is humorous.

 
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