Sebastian Bach - Give 'Em Hell
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Although it's already been three years since the former Skid Row front-man's last album, and first for Frontiers Records, the recording of this new one has come a little sooner than planned after Bach realised that the live album he released in 2013 didn't count towards his contract obligations. Promising his heaviest album to date, this one sees him working with Walking Papers/ex-Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, and guitarist Devin Bronson, previously more famous for his work with pop artists. Although not really any heavier than previous efforts, particularly Done Bleeding on the Bring 'Em Back Alive! album, the riffs here are generally more metallic than before, some of them even sound like they could have come from the pen of former guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak, and for most of the tracks the atmosphere is an aggressive one. The heaviest riff comes from Rob Zombie guitarist John "5" Lowery, guesting for the second successive album, on Temptation, but generally the level is the same throughout. Like any singer who made their name in the '80s with a unique voice, Seb's vocals on new material are constantly under scrutiny, with people queueing up to claim he's "lost it". They'll have no such luck here, but Seb isn't making it easy. Even if nothing of the kind was actually done, several moments on this album sound like his voice has been adjusted. Push Away, an otherwise excellent song, is the best example of this. Most of the vocals here are impossibly high and even, which anyone who's seen Sebastian live in recent years will know he does not sound like. Eventually the odd sound of the vocals on that song become more familiar, and therefore the only weak link on the disc is the cover of April Wine's Rock 'N' Roll Is A Vicious Game, which ruins the momentum of the second half of the album. The album gets off to an especially good start with a strong pair of tracks in Hell Inside My Head and Harmony (even if the chorus of the latter is a bit weak), and every song except the cover continues to deliver catchy choruses and heavy metal riffs. There's nothing that sounds like old Skid Row, for the people who constantly require that, but that was never the point of this album. Give 'Em Hell is a far more consistent album than Kicking & Screaming, and if it weren't for the April Wine cover, it'd be a strong contender for one of Seb's best albums. In his live set these songs should prove far more popular than most of his other solo material.
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