Once Skid Row went on hiatus, I never really heard from the band or Sebastian Bach. It’s like they dropped off the face of the Earth.
Then the Pirate Bay gave me the Skid Row albums without Bach on vocals, and it also gave me, the solo Bach albums, “Bring Em Bach Alive” and “Back 2 Basics”.
One day my wife brought home a box set of a TV show called “Gilmore Girls”. And I suppose Bach’s biggest gig between 1997 and 2004 was being the guitarist in the fictional “Gilmore Girls” band and doing Broadway musicals.
But by the mid 2000’s Guns N Roses was touring and Sebastian Bach was the opening act. And all of these separate events suddenly brought Sebastian Bach back into my life.
Time does go by fast.
Released in 2007, “Angel Down” is 12 years old. And it’s got a lot of songs about a relationship breakdown, so it’s no surprise that in 2010, his long term marriage was over.
“You Don’t Understand” is a brilliant track, starting off with harmony guitars like Judas Priest, before morphing into a rocker like “Forever” from Skid Row. The lyrics, “I’ll take a bullet for you in the night, Is what we’re fighting for wrong or right?, I lie awake in my tomb, so confused, Who wins the battle when we all lose?” speak truth.
No one wins an argument, when one person wants to be seen as being correct.
And since Sebastian Bach was opening for Guns N Roses, Axl Rose does guest vocals on three tracks, “Back In The Saddle”, “(Love Is) A Bitchslap” and “Stuck Inside”.
Let’s start with the modern rock remake of an Aerosmith classic “Back In The Saddle”. One thing is clear, when Axl Rose does hard rock, he is one of the best hard rock singers. You can feel the attitude in his tone, slap you silly.
“(Love Is) A Bitchslap” is the best Guns N Roses song released in the 2000’s that Guns N Roses didn’t write, with one of the coolest opening verses, “Rollin’ down the avenue, I got my fist in the air, Checking out of the rat race and I really don’t care.”
It captures the metal spirit and lifestyle. We like to look at the show but we don’t really care what is going on. We have our own shit that we need to deal with.
And “Stuck Inside” is one of the best Skid Row songs in the 2000’s, which Skid Row didn’t write.
Check out the lyrics. You can hear the pain in those words. “I feel you taking on, everything that I said that I want and then you said it’s over.”
Relationships are cruel. The other half, will ask you to be truthful and then suddenly, those words get used against you.
But the piece d resistance is “American Metalhead” written by guitarist Mike Chlasciak. It is a metal track for the ages, with its catchcry of togetherness and hive mind control like, “One soul, one mind, one heart, one life.”
Call it up, crank it, lay back and close your eyes.
Imagine the time, walking the streets, dressed in denim jeans and black t shirt with your favourite band’s artwork.
“Negative Light” is a speed metal track, with Bach throwing his voice into the wall during the verses. From a guitar point of view, this song is a blast to play, very Metallica like.
And that opening verse sets the tone for the aggression, “Nothing’ lasts forever, Nobody rides for free, For twenty years I took a stand, You’re not takin’ no chance on me.”
“Live And Die” sounds massive with its “Mississippi Queen” style riff.
“Like stars sky high, we live and die, free your body, your soul, your mind”
We all will die, its truth. So what matters is how we spend our days under heaven’s skies. Do we give in to hate, and allow stress and depression to rule our minds, or do we give in to love, and allow hope and love to rule our thoughts?
“By Your Side” is a ballad, but Bach knows how to deliver on ballads, with “Quicksand Jesus”, “Wasted Time”, “Breakin Down” and “In A Darkened Room” still up there as some of favourite ballads.
“Our Love Is A Lie” sounds wicked, angry and its pure hard rock while “Take You Down With Me” could have come from the “Black” album.
“Stabbing Daggers” combines all of the modern rock influences like Nu Metal, Alt Rock and Groove Metal into a concise metal song with a shred-a-licious solo. “You Bring Me Down” is a cross between Pantera and Stone Temple Pilots. Yes, I know, it’s pretty contrasting styles, but goddamn, it works.
“Falling Into You” is a co-write with Desmond Child and as you would expect, it follows the Desmond Child formula. But I didn’t expect the intro harmony lead, which reminded of “Tears Of A Dragon” from Bruce Dickinson’s solo album.
And Sebastian Bach has tried to re-unite Skid Row with the classic line up to capitalise on the anniversaries of their first two albums, but Rachel Bolan is not having it. So whatever went down between them, was pretty heavy.
But in typical middle finger Bach fashion, he’s gone out on tour as a solo artist to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the debut Skid Row album, playing it in its entirety and he’s selling out the clubs and theatres.