Sebastian Bach – Give ‘Em Hell
2014, Frontiers Records
Buy the album
1. “Hell Inside My Head”
3. “All My Friends Are Dead”
5. “Push Away”
7. “Had Enough”
8. “Gun To A Knife Fight”
9. “Rock N’ Roll Is A Vicious Game”
10. “Taking Back Tomorrow”
12. “Forget You”
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
Devin Bronson – Guitar
Jeff George – Guitar
Steve Stevens -Guitar
John 5 – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass
Bob Marlette – Bass, Piano
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums
Franky Perez – Harmonica
Producer: Bob Marlette
The most recent outing from Sebastian Bach sees him recruiting a few other well-known musicians to help out. Steve Stevens, John 5 and Duff McKagan (who handled the majority of bass playing duties, I believe) all lend a hand in the recording and writing process of Give ‘Em Hell.
For the most part, this album continues down the path of modern hard rock & heavy metal that Baz has been walking on for quite some time. While Sebastian has publicly said he’d like to do a reunion with the rest of Skid Row, he isn’t spending his days as a solo act trying to recreate the vibe of his old band. Well, Skid Row was always heavier than the rest of the hair metal acts and heaviness is something Bach has retained as a solo artist but he’s not trying to put out new songs that sound like it’s still 1989.
In his mid-40s, Bach shows no sign of slowing down or softening up whether you’re talking about his approach to singing or the content of the songs themselves. Sebastian is a controversial figure at times due to his opinions but you can’t take away that he’s one of the best singers (if not THE best) of his generation. Bach is still going all out on vocals on this album and that’s a testament to his natural born abilities and training as a singer to still be able to do what he does after so many years.
As for the music itself, Give ‘Em Hell finds Sebastian doing exactly that — giving ’em hell. I don’t think this album is as melodic as his last two albums were but this is the most consistently heavy album Bach has done yet (the heaviest solo song he’s ever done would still probably be Angel Down‘s “American Metalhead”). Bobby Jarzombek is still a monster on the drums and the album is full of crunchy riffs.
There are two occasions when this album lets up: the power ballad “Had Enough” and “Rock N’ Roll is a Vicious Game” (an April Wine cover). After Bach’s last two albums delivered exception ballads, I was really looking forward to what, if any, ballads would appear here. Unfortunately, “Had Enough” falls a bit short in comparison to the likes of “I’m Alive”, “By Your Side” and “Falling Into You” but it is still a fine track. The April Wine cover is a song I’m not familiar with and given the style of the rest of the album, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s not bad, just odd-sounding given that the rest of the album comes across as pretty modern rock/metal.
I have a big soft spot for Angel Down (that album still holds my favorite Sebastian Bach songs) but in addition to being consistently heavy, Give ‘Em Hell may be Bach’s most consistent album from a quality standpoint.
Highlights: “Hell Inside My Head”, “Temptation”, “Push Away”, “Dominator”, “Had Enough”, “Taking Back Tomorrow”, “Disengaged”, “Forget You”
Adler – Back From The Dead
2012, New Ocean Media
1. Back From The Dead
2. Own Worst Enemy
3. Another Version of the Truth
4. The One That You Hated
5. Good to Be Bad
6. Just Don’t Ask
7. Blown Away
10. Your Diamonds
11. Dead Wrong
Jacob Bunton – Vocals
Lonny Paul – Guitar
Johnny Matrin – Bass
Steven Adler – Drums
Slash – Guitar (“Just Don’t Ask)
John 5 – Guitar (“Good to Be Bad”)
Producer: Jeff Pilson
Well. After years of battling substance abuse, starring in reality TV shows and forming what was essentially a GNR cover band, Steven Adler has finally done it. He’s finally put together a band that has released an album of entirely original material. After the stop & go nature of his previous band (Adler’s Appetite), I had my doubts if Steven would ever do anything more than session work again. Not only am I surprised that new music from Alder is here, I’m even more surprised the entire album is actually very good and a Top 10 release for me for the year!
I had heard the handful of original songs Adler’s Appetite made and released as an EP a few years back and “The One That You Hated” earlier this year and I liked it all so I assumed there would be a few good tracks but nothing like this. This is no filler here. I’m not saying every song is a killer track but every song is certainly well-worth the time listening to.
Musically, this band fits right in with Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s solo output. You can hear the GNR influence. I will say that not all of Back From The Dead is as modern sounding as Velvet Revolver or Slash’s recent albums but that’s not a bad thing. There are a few tracks that could easily pass as a song by Velvet Revolver or Slash but for the most part this album is just good ol’ straight up hard rock. The sound isn’t modern. It’s timeless. There’s a number of melodic moments like “Waterfall” and “Just Don’t Ask”. Either of which could easily be played on the radio. “Just Don’t Ask” could be a Shinedown/Daughtry kind of song.
I have to point out that frontman Jacob Bunton does a great job. Some maybe recognize him as the lead singer from Lynam and Mars Electric.
A lot people say the classic GNR line-up should reunite but I say WHY? By my count, we have now FIVE great bands going (GNR, Velvet Revolver, Slash, Adler, Loaded). Why kill off (or at least put on hold for a few years) four bands for a GNR reunion that probably wouldn’t get through one album and/or tour before imploding? Regardless of your feelings on that subject, fans of GNR and all of the various projects from ex-GNR members should pick this one up.
Highlights: “Back From The Dead”, “Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version of the Truth”, “The One That You Hated”, “Just Don’t Ask”, “Blown Away”, “Waterfall”, “Dead Wrong”
My Darkest Days – Sick And Twisted Affair
(2012, Mercury Records)
1. Sick And Twisted Affair … 3:41
2. Save Yourself … 3:43
3. Casual Sex … 3:16
4. Stutter … 2:45
5. Nature Of The Beast … 3:03
6. Perfect … 3:51
7. Again … 3:38
8. Gone … 3:33
9. Love Crime … 2:59
Matt Walst – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Sal Costa – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Brendan McMillan – Bass
Doug Oliver – Drums, Percussion
Reid Henry – Keyboard, Backing Vocals
John 5 – Guitar (“Casual Sex”)
Barry Stock – Guitar (“Again”)
Producer: Joey Moi
Well, when something is working, why change it? Just like My Darkest Days’ self-titled debut, Sick And Twisted Affair has he same producer (sans Chad Kroeger), guest musicians and dirty catchy club-worthy hard rock numbers that deal with sex.
There is a deluxe edition that features extra tracks a few alternate mixes and the same cover art but colored differently (I prefer the deluxe edition’s color scheme). I haven’t heard the deluxe edition but I’m really loving the fact that there’s only 9 songs on the regular edition. Always leave ’em wanting more, never overstay your welcome. Helps to cut down on filler too.
Speaking of filler, the only track I would consider to be just that is the band’s cover of Joe & Mystikal’s “Stutter”. I loved their take on Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” on the last album but this one doesn’t work, IMO.
So getting to what does work, let’s start off with the lead single “Casual Sex”. Definitely the follow up to “Porn Star Dancing” and meant to appeal to the club scene but that’s okay because it rocks at the same time (and just like “Porn Star Dancing” there are pop and rock mixes available). With that song and others, I’m noticing keyboards being used a lot more. There’s very much a synth sound found on “Sick And Twisted Affair”, “Love Crime” and “Again” where the band comes across like a sexier version of Orgy (not that orgies can’t be sexy).
More in the typical modern hard rock style there is “Nature of the Beast” which I would place as the weakest original track on the album.
It’s really hard to pick the best tracks because I find myself repeating each song 2 or 3 times. On this day alone I think I’ve listened to this album 6 or 7 times total. Virtually every song will stick in your head and take up space. There’s so much single potential here. “Love Crime”, “Again”, “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are ready for rock & pop stations. “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are the two ballads on the album, great songs and I can definitely see them blowing up big on the pop stations.
As with the debut, this album is going to be one of my favorite of the year. Great collection of hard rock that has broad appeal. If you were a fan of My Darkest Days’ first album, you’re going to be a fan of this one as well.
Highlights: “Sick And Twisted Affair”, “Save Yourself”, “Casual Sex”, “Perfect”, “Again”, “Gone”, “Love Crime”
Scorpions – Humanity: Hour I (2007, Sony BMG Music)
1. “Hour 1” .. 3:26
2. “The Game of Life” … 4:04
3. “We Were Born to Fly” … 3:59
4. “The Future Never Dies” … 4:03
5. “You’re Lovin’ Me to Death ” … 3:15
6. “321” … 3:53
7. “Love Will Keep Us Alive” … 4:32
8. “We Will Rise Again” … 3:49
9. “Your Last Song” … 3:44
10. “Love Is War” … 3:20
11. “The Cross” … 4:29
12. “Humanity” … 5:34
13. “Cold” … 3:52
Klaus Meine: Vocals
Matthias Jabs: Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Rudolf Schenker: Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Paweł Mąciwoda: Bass
James Kottak: Drums
Billy Corgan – Vocals (“The Cross”)
John 5 – Guitar (“Hour I”)
Eric Bazilian – Guitar (“Love Will Keep Us Alive”)
Russ Irwin – Piano (“The Future Never Dies”)
Desmond Child – Backing Vocals
James Michael – Backing Vocals
Jeanette Olsson – Backing Vocals
Jason Paige – Backing Vocals
Produced by: Desmond Child & James Michael
This was my favorite release of 2007. Scorpions are one of my favorite bands, and after 2004’s awesome Unbreakable, I was pumped up for this one. Then I heard the samples online. It’s a bit of a departure from the typical Scorpions sound. A lot of the songs are slow (well, slower than what I was expecting) and plodding, but ended up growing on me.
Unbreakable brought the band’s sound back to their glorious 80s heyday, but Humanity: Hour 1 gives the band a bit of a modern hard rock/metal sound. It’s still Scorpions though. Yeah, the songs are a little darker and lyric matter is different (no more sex songs, says Klaus Meine!), but Klaus doesn’t try to change his singing to fit with the times and songs like “The Game of Life”, “We Were Born to Fly”, You’re Lovin’ Me to Death” and “321” should make most Scorpions fans happy.
This album got pretty good reviews, but I’ve seen a lot of Scorpions fan tear it down because of the band’s attempt to get more serious and grow. I don’t have a problem with the “serious” Scorpions or the silly perverted version. I applaud them for going in a different direction and for making it work.
I waited for MONTHS to get this CD. I’m not an import kinda guy and any album is readily available online for free if you know where to look, but I liked to support bands I’m a fan of so I waited. And waited. And waited. I couldn’t really get a confirmed US release, because I think it was initially May/June, but that turned out to only be the Europe release. FINALLY, the US got it at the end of August and I picked it up at Best Buy. The Best Buy exclusive track, “Cold”, is actually one of my favorites from the album.
The credits are pretty impressive. It’s good to see Desmond Child co-writing/producing this album. I’ve always been a fan of his hard rock collaborations. Also, co-producing (with the occasional writing credit) is SIXX:AM vocalist James Michael (who I’m starting to have a lot of respect for with his legit rock credentials). John 5 and Billy Corgan even lended their talents to this album.
Highlights: It’s not my top pick of 2007 for no reason at all. I can’t find any filler here.