Sound: While many artists from the hair metal era have rapidly faded away, Sebastian Bach has managed the seemingly impossible by releasing what could be the answer to many a rock lover's prayers. His new album Angel Down combines infectious hooks with his solid vocal backing, which has only grown in strength over the years. Of course, that may not come as a huge surprise to many, particularly considering he performed on Broadway multiple times in the past decade. Vocal chops aside, many of the 14 tracks on Angel Down have the capability of being considered rock classics, even if Axl Rose didn't sign on to help out.
Produced by Roy Z (Halford, Bruce Dickinson), Angel Down returns to the style of rock that many of have craved: something straightforward with not too many frills, and full of powerhouse melodies. While there are some nice riffs involved, they never steal the thunder from Bach. His ability to jump from angelic (By Your Side) to throaty growls (Angel Down) is the driving force behind it all. There is definitely some influence from Rob Halford involved, with American Metalhead sounding like something the Metal God might have undertaken, but Bach is still a chameleon when it comes to vocals and not many frontmen can do that successfully.
There's been a lot of talk about Axl Rose's contribution to the album, and the 3 songs (Back In The Saddle, Love Is A Bitchslap, and Stuck Inside) he lent his vocals to do have a distinct identity. After all of the jokes about Chinese Democracy never being completed, it's sometimes easy to forget about the Rose of GN'R's heyday. Angel Down resurrects that magic, however, and the Bach-Rose collaboration is all in all successful. You might have already heard their duet on Back In The Saddle, which although true to the original, definitely delivers a lot more attitude this time around. It's an amazing version of the song, and there really isn't a better track the 2 singers could have chosen to reintroduce themselves to the world. Love Is A Bitchslap contains a low, grooving riff that almost feels like a GN'R song at times, and Bach was wise to choose it as one of the first singles.
Power ballads are a dying breed, but Bach offers up 2 classic-sounding love tracks on Angel Down. By Your Side doesn't sound like I Remember You, but it has the potential of being as bit of a hit as the Skid Row classic. It seems like it's been a very, very long time since any band has been gutsy enough to take on a power ballad, and some of you might like them to remain a thing of the past. But if you're just looking at By Your Side in terms of songwriting, it's a fantastic track that deserves the airplay. // 9
Lyrics: Bach co-wrote the majority of tracks on the album, and the songs are all pretty standard in terms of the themes. Negative Light does feel a bit more personal, however, and it could easily be aimed at his old buddies in Skid Row. The 2 love songs definitely keep to the power ballad-style formula, but it's a good contrast to the lyrics you hear in the rock tracks. // 8
Overall Impression: Some of you may be of the opinion that Bach should throw in the towel and call it a day, but the vocalist still sounds better than the majority of young artists out today. He definitely comes from the Halford style of vocals and it's nice to hear a range like that again. While Axl's contribution adds a nice touch to 3 tracks in Angel Down, Bach is still very much in the spotlight. It's not a completely flawless album, but it still has multiple tracks on it that you'll immediately want to hear again after the first listen. // 9