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