Sebastian Bach – Angel Down

Sebastian Bach - Angel Down
Released on November 20, 2007 (Get Off My Bach/MRV/Caroline)

Track List:
01. Angel Down
02. You Don’t Understand
03. Back In The Saddle
04. (Love Is) A Bitchslap
05. Stuck Inside
06. American Metalhead
07. Negative Light
08. Live & Die
09. By Your Side
10. Our Love Is A Lie
11. Take You Down With Me
12. Stabbin’ Daggers
13. You Bring Me Down
14. Falling Into You

Band Members:
Sebastian Bach – vocals
Metal Mike Chlasciak – guitars
Johnny Chromatic – guitars
Steve DiGiorgio – bass
Bobby Jarzombek – drums

Additional Musicians:
Axl Rose – vocals (3,4 & 5)

Produced by Roy Z.

Eighteen years ago Skid Row blasted onto the hair metal scene with a harder edge than some of their peers. Their 1989 debut release was full of fast and furious licks, catchy riffs and near perfect melodies. Their sophomore release, Slave To The Grind, saw Skid Row delivering on a promise that many bands had attempted, yet failed – they turned up the heat with a much heavier sound. Balancing out the relentless guitar work was one of the genre’s most powerful, often beautiful voices. Sebastian Bach‘s voice soared where many others squealed, he was truly one of a kind. His voice was capable of conveying both fury and anger as well as warmth and tenderness. Because of this, Skid Row was one of the most dynamic bands that the hair metal scene had to offer.

Like many bands of that era, Skid Row lost a lot of their fan base when grunge took the music world by storm. Bach would eventually part company with his former band mates and it has since been an all too rare occasion that we have been treated to his vocal talents. Angel Down is Bach‘s third official solo release, but truly his first full length album of original material. To say I was anxiously awaiting its release is an understatement. Before exiting Skid Row, Bach and the boys recorded a third album, Subhuman Race. Angel Down is more like Subhuman Race than the first two Skid Row albums.

The title track opens the album and begins the 14 song pure heavy metal assault. Gone are the catchy riffs and in their place are modern day, machine-gun fast guitar sounds complete with Kirk Hammett style wah-wah pedal solos. The tracks on Angel Down often remind the listener of Pantera, Black Sabbath and occasionally Iron Maiden. Sadly, Bach‘s voice is also missing from Angel Down. Sebastian‘s biggest strength was the fact that his voice was both a force to be reckoned with and crystal clear at the same time. Perhaps the years have been tough on his vocal chords, but Sebastian successfully screams his way through the majority of the tracks on Angel Down. Where his voice was once crisp and sharp, it now seems scratchy and distorted. Then again, perhaps that is what was best suited for these tunes.

Axl Rose makes an appearance on three tracks, one of which is the albums best offering, “(Love Is) A Bitchslap”. Other highlights include “American Metalhead”, the surprisingly (for this album) mellow “By Your Side” and “Our Love Is A Lie”. The Sebastian/Axl cover of Aerosmith‘s “Back In The Saddle” is forgettable and could have been left off the album.

If you’re familiar with the musicians who played on Angel Down, then you are familiar with some of the bands that they have been involved with – Iced Earth, Testament, Rob Halford‘s solo band, Sadus, etc. Fans of those bands and that style of music may enjoy Angel Down more than fans of Skid Row will. If you’re expecting “18 And Life”, “I Remember You” or “Monkey Business” you’re probably better off listening to the albums from which those songs came. –

Reviewed by Hairspray Hero for Sleaze Roxx, December 2007.

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