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Sebastian Bach – Give ‘Em Hell [Review]

Sebastian-Bach-Give-Em-Hell

Sebastian Bach – Give ‘Em Hell
2014, Frontiers Records
Buy the album

1. “Hell Inside My Head”
2. “Harmony”
3. “All My Friends Are Dead”
4. “Temptation”
5. “Push Away”
6. “Dominator”
7. “Had Enough”
8. “Gun To A Knife Fight”
9. “Rock N’ Roll Is A Vicious Game”
10. “Taking Back Tomorrow”
11. “Disengaged”
12. “Forget You”

Musicians:
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”

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming

Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011, Frontiers Records)

1. “Kicking & Screaming”
2. “My Own Worst Enemy”
3. “Tunnelvision”
4. “Dance On Your Grave”
5. “Caught In A Dream”
6. “As Long As I Got The Music”
7. “I’m Alive”
8. “Dirty Power”
9. “Live The Life”
10. “Dream Forever”
11. “One Good Reason”
12. “Lost In The Light”
13. “Wishin'”

Band:
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
Nick Sterling – Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
John 5 – Guitar (“Tunnelvision”)

Producer: Bob Marlette

Personally speaking, Kicking & Screaming has been one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. Angel Down was one of my favorite releases from 2007 and it has turned out to be one of those albums that I will still check out every once and awhile. Fans of that album will enjoy Kicking & Screaming as well. This album has a good mix of heavy metal and melodic hard rock. Though it is not as heavy as the last album it does indeed rock hard.

What I’ve always respected about Sebastian is that he doesn’t want to live in the past or get by based on what’s already been done. Whenever he puts out new music, he isn’t trying to make you think it’s 1989. While most of these songs have more melody than any new stuff you’re bound to hear on the radio, they would not sound out of place at all on radio because there’s no retro vibe going on here. It’s all modern melodic rock/metal and “Caught In A Dream” displays that perfectly and should be a hit on radio.

Anyway, as with Bach’s last effort it seems the more I listen to this album the more I like it. When I first listened to it there were some immediate standouts like “Kicking & Screaming” (fantastic), “As Long As I Got The Music” and “I’m Alive” (a great ballad right up there with Angel Down‘s “By Your Side” and “Falling Into You”). The second time around, I started to get into “Live The Life” and “Wishin'”. On my third listen I was picking up on “Tunnelvision”, “Dream Forever” and “My Own Worst Enemy”. Basically, it’s gotten to the point where I like every song. By the way, if I were to make a ‘best songs’ list for the year, “Kicking & Screaming” would definitely be on it. Great track.

Another trend is Sebastian continues to surround himself with some top notch musicians. Bobby Jarzombek is back again on drums and is just a monster. Underrated drummer, in my opinion. As for Nick Sterling? For some time Bach has been bragging a lot about his new guitarist and guess what? He’s right! Nick does a great job and even plays bass on the album. And let’s not forget about Baz himself — always a great vocalist, a standout in his field and this album is no exception. Bach comes from that rare breed of singers whose vocal abilities just do not wear down over time. Phenomenal.

So. The verdict? Kicking & Screaming is full of heavy melodic songs and zero filler. It’s one of the year’s best offerings and an album I can imagine I’ll be playing for some time to come.

Highlights: “Kicking & Screaming”, “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Tunnelvision”, “Caught In A Dream”, “As Long As I Got The Music”, “I’m Alive”, “Live The Life”, “Dream Forever”, “Wishin'”

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www.sebastianbach.com

Buy ‘Kicking & Screaming’ at Amazon.com

The Best Albums of the 2000s

Welcome to 2010!

I’m going to start the year off with yet another list except I won’t be limiting myself to “Top 10” or “Top 20” or whatever. I’ll be going chronologically, year by year (I didn’t put the albums in any specific order though) and if I thought it was a really good album, I’ll list it regardless of whether one year has four albums listed and another year only has two.

Looking back, the whole decade was pretty good for this rock/metal fan. The scene suffered greatly during the ’90s, but by 2000, the genre was turning the corner and I think most people had grown tired of depressed drug addicts and angry no-talent white rappers playing rock music. The legends were laying low during the ’90s and the next decade was made up of many comebacks, but that’s not to discount many newer acts who stepped up and played a vital role in rock ‘n’ roll.

2000
Marvelous 3 – ReadySexGo
Halford – Resurrection
Bon Jovi – Crush
Cold – 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage
The Union Underground – …An Education in Rebellion
Alice Cooper – Brutal Planet

2001
Puddle of Mudd – Come Clean
Megadeth – The World Needs a Hero
Alice Cooper – Dragontown
Lit – Atomic

2002
Dio – Killing the Dragon
Butch Walker – Left of Self-Centered
Bon Jovi – Bounce
Sentenced – The Cold White Light
L.A. Guns – Waking the Dead

2003
Anthrax – We’ve Come For You All
Alice Cooper – The Eyes of Alice Cooper
Dream Evil – Evilized

2004
Scorpions – Unbreakable
Megadeth – The System Has Failed
Tesla – Into the Now
Dream Evil – The Book of Heavy Metal
Brides of Destruction – Here Come the Brides

2005
Judas Priest – Angel of Retribution
Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds

2006
Edguy – Rocket Ride
Paul Stanley – Live to Win

2007
Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold
Sebastian Bach – Angel Down
Scorpions – Humanity: Hour I

2008
Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus
Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad

2009
KISS – Sonic Boom
Steel Panther – Feel the Steel

Looking Forward to in 2010…

2009 was good, can 2010 be better? With these albums penciled in for 2010 it looks like we’ll have another good year for rock ‘n’ roll because there’s tons I’m looking forward to! I’ve listed tentative release dates where I could.

Ratt – Infestation (March): Ratt is one of the best bands to spring from the L.A. metal scene, I can’t wait to hear some new music from that.

Scorpions – Sting In The Tail: Well, hopefully we’ll see some new Scorpions. They haven’t gotten a U.S. distribution deal yet, but in this day of the internet, I don’t foresee any problems getting my hands on an import. According to the band, they’re going back to their “early ’80s” sound and scrapping the modern style they had on Humanity: Hour I. That’s a shame because I remember Klaus Meine being pretty adamant about the band not writing anymore “eighties” songs and I like Humanity a lot (which seemed to imply there’d be a sequel). Oh well, I liked 2004’s Unbreakable a lot too (the band’s most recent attempt at having that classic Scorpions sound), so either style they want is good with me.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon (April 3): Edguy’s Tobias Sammet, one of my favorite vocalists, is back with his side project and he’s got two albums coming at us at once on the same day. The Scarecrow was really good and Sammet has tons of guest musicians lined up again, I just hope he hasn’t spread himself too thin by releasing two albums’ worth of material.

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Metal Excess News Desk #2

Chinese Democracy unleashed on MySpace! Axl Rose in hiding!

2 days before the album’s Best Buy release, GNR’s very own MySpace page now has every track up for your streaming pleasure. Listen, and be amazed. I’ve been familiar with most of this album for the past 7 years, but I’ll be there Sunday at Best Buy to grab the CD.

In related news, Mirror.co.uk is reporting that Axl has disappeared in the midst of all the Democracy buzz, reportedly to work on the band’s “comeback” and to make it “go off the scale”.

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SKID ROW – Slave to the Grind

Skid Row – Slave to the Grind [“Clean” version] (1991, Atlantic Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Monkey Business” … 4:17
2. “Slave to the Grind” … 3:31
3. “The Threat” … 3:47
4. “Quicksand Jesus” … 5:21
5. “Psycho Love” … 3:58
6. “Beggar’s Day” … 4:02
7. “Livin’ on a Chain Gang” … 3:56
8. “Creepshow” … 3:56
9. “In a Darkened Room” … 4:57
10. “Riot Act” … 2:40
11. “Mudkicker” … 3:50
12. “Wasted Time” … 5:46

Band:
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
Dave Sabo – Guitar
Scotti Hill – Guitar
Rachel Bolan – Bass
Rob Affuso – Drums

Produced by: Michael Wagener & Dave Sabo

An absolute classic that finds the band at their best and Sebastian Bach just nailing it on every song. Say what you will about the guy but he’s one of the best rock vocalists ever and the evidence is all over this record. I ended up with the “clean” version (another Columbia House purchase, I think), with “Beggar’s Day” replacing “Get the Fuck Out”. That’s a win though because “Beggar’s Day” is the better song. I still break this one out every now and then and crank it.

“Quicksand Jesus”, “In a Darkened Room” and “Wasted Time” are three of the best ballads the genre has to offer.

Highlights: “Monkey Business”, “Slave to the Grind”, “The Threat”, “Quicksand Jesus”, “Psycho Love”, “Beggar’s Day”, “In A Darkened Room”, “Riot Act”, “Wasted Time”

www.skidrow.com
www.sebastianbach.com
www.myspace.com/skidrow
www.myspace.com/sebastianbach

The Killing Road

Everyone have their tickets? The tours are starting to kick off and I’m getting pumped for it. I live fairly close to Detroit and Chicago, so a lot of acts are coming my way.

As it stands right now, I’ll be hitting up Crue Fest on July 15th in Detroit and I CANNOT wait. Motley absolutely killed (With no opening act!) when I saw them in Pensacola, Florida, back on the Carnival of Sin tour and I know they’ll do the same here. I can only imagine it’ll be that much better having four other bands (Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M., Trapt) playing with them.

Then on top of that, I’ll be getting my tickets to the August 18th ‘Metal Masters’ show (Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motorhead, Testament) in Detroit.

There’s also a Poison/Sebastian Bach/Dokken show on August 8th in Sterling Heights, but I don’t know if my budget will allow for it, but I’d love to go.

SEBASTIAN BACH – Angel Down

Sebastian Bach – Angel Down (2007, Get Off My Bach/Caroline/MRV Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Angel Down” (3:48)
2. “You Don’t Understand” (3:06)
3. “Back in the Saddle” (4:19)
4. “(Love Is) A Bitchslap” (3:08)
5. “Stuck Inside” (2:57)
6. “American Metalhead” (4:02)
7. “Negative Light” (4:33)
8. “Live & Die” (3:53)
9. “By Your Side” (5:27)
10. “Our Love Is a Lie” (3:20)
11. “Take You Down with Me” (4:37)
12. “Stabbin’ Daggers” (3:41)
13. “You Bring Me Down” (3:16)
14. “Falling into You” (4:21)

Band:
Sebastian Bach – Vocals
“Metal” Mike Chlasciak – Guitar
Johnny Chromatic – Guitar
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
Bobby Jarzombek – Drums

Bach is BACK, ladies and gentlemen. Y’know, I never cared to pick up Bach’s first solo album back with that was new (released way back in 1999), but I was pumped for this one. The songs I was hearing online sounded good (“By My Side” really won me over), plus the fact that AXL ROSE sings on three of the tracks here, I just had to have it.

It’s definitely not what I was expecting. I was assuming more of a 70s/80s hard rock vibe, but it’s actually a pretty modern heavy metal album, IMO, outside of a few tracks. No doubt, this sound came about thanks to the musicians found on the album: Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Iced Earth), Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Iced Earth, Testament) and “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford). They all had a hand in writing/co-writing the songs, as did the album’s producer Roy Z, who has produced albums for Bruce Dickinson, all three Halford albums and Judas Priest’s Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus. Of course, Baz gets writing credits here too, though I supposed he probably helped with the lyrics more than anything else if his past work in Skid Row is any indication.

The three Axl tracks are three of the best from the album. There’s the awesome cover of Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle”, which places Axl right beside Sebastian on vocals, then “(Love Is) A Bitchslap”, and finally the modern rock sounding “Stuck Inside” (all conveniently are lumped together on the album). Axl’s voice sounds great on all of these and both really did great with the vocals on “Stuck Inside”.

Believe or not, in the midst of Axl Rose and all these metal musicians, a co-written Desmond Child song pops up (“Falling Into You”) and it’s pretty good. “By Your Side” is a great ballad and sounds like it belongs in the year 1988 (and I mean that as a compliment). I’ve heard a live radio brodcast of that song and Bach nails it exactly like he does on the album.

Overall, it’s a very good release, one of the better releases I heard in 2007. Though, it can be a bit of a mixed bag. The songs are all over the place: 70s hard rock (“Back in the Saddle”), modern hard rock (“Stuck Inside”), 80s ballads (“Falling Into You”, “By Your Side”) and modern heavy metal (“American Metalhead”, “Take You Down With Me”). The more heavy metal songs tend to blend in together and sound like one really long song, most of which “Metal” Mike and/or Roy Z had a hand in co-writing.

A shame the album didn’t do better, I figured especially with Axl doing vocals Angel Down would manage to scrape the very bottom of the Billboard 100 at least. But it was not to be, I think first week sales were just north of 6,000 copies. “(Love Is) A Bitchslap” was a poor choice as the lead single anyway, I think. It’s a great song, but “Back in the Saddle” would’ve been a safer choice (especially since Axl is featured prominently on it) and then I would’ve followed up with “Stuck Inside” which has a really modern hard rock sound that would’ve been suited prefectly for radio.

Highlights: “You Don’t Understand”, “Back in the Saddle”, “(Love Is) A Bitchslap”, “Stuck Inside”, “By Your Side”, “Our Love Is a Lie”, “Falling Into You”

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