Well, it's been a while but ex-Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach is back with a brand new solo album entitled 'Angel Down'. The album also features a behind-the-scenes DVD featuring performances, and 'making of' the record. The album hails the return of Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose on guest vocals. After touring over the world and supporting Guns N Roses in 2006 on their European and American Tour, Bach has succeeded in creating an album that will appeal to metal and rock fans alike, featuring a good balance of hard rock and heavy metal.
The album opens with the title track 'Angel Down' with a slow haunting introduction, footsteps and howling wind. The silence is broken with a heavy power chord followed by Bach getting stuck in there with his signature high pitched screaming. Bach does a great job of balancing out the loud screams in his songs with actual singing, which a lot of metal artists and bands struggle to do. Either that, or they are hiding the fact that they can’t actually sing, simply scream down a microphone! Bach is one of those metal artists that I believe genuinely has a great singing voice. You only have to look at tracks like 'I Remember You' from his days with Skid Row to hear what a great voice has. His voice has matured well with age, as he still manages to hit those high notes, and retain a sense of power in his voice. Bach’s band sound superb and really compliment his vocals.
In the second track, 'You Don’t Understand', Bach relies more on riffs and less on screaming. It is a good choice of position in the album, as it brings the pace down slightly, but showcases Bach’s vocal talent with some powerful chords and riffage.
Axl Rose performed guest vocals on three of the tracks on this album. A cover of Aerosmith’s 'Back in the Saddle', 'Love Is A Bitchslap' and 'Stuck Inside'. Fans of the new Guns N Roses will be eager to hear how Axl’s voice has held up; 'Back in the Saddle' is probably the best out of the three. Axl and Bach mix well together and his voice adds an extra layer of heaviness to the tracks; alternating between lines they make a great pairing. Axl’s voice is on great form and it is good to see him back involved in something new. Now if only he could get a move on with his own Chinese Democracy album before people completely lose interest!
Other highlights on the album include 'American Metal Head', which again is another heavy powerful track which, having seen performed live, sounds great on the album; heavy, hard hitting and catchy. 'Live and Die' again is another great powerful, heavy, head-banging track, and 'Negative Light' shows off the skill of Bach’s bass player with a cool intro featuring some intricate bass work.
'By Your Side' is Bach’s attempt at a ballad, hailing back to the days of 18 and life with Skid Row. After a few listens I’ve grown to like this track more and more, with the acoustic guitar work behind Bach’s voice working well to add a sensitive tone to the song. Its not going to beat 'I Remember You', but overall he’s done a pretty good job.
Towards the end of the album the last few tracks do seem a little repetitive, but overall Sebastian Bach’s 'Angel Down' is a fine album and definitely worth checking out- not just because of Axl Rose’s guest vocals. Keep this up Baz, you're doing a great job! If Bach decides to tour the UK with this record, I would recommend seeing him live, as he really puts on a great show and has proved he can hold his own, away from Skid Row.
Review by Ash Robertson