Sebastian Bach – ABachalypse Now

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Review by Robert Baker

Back when Bach was backed by a band he became the backbone in the bedlam of backlash against the authoritarian figures and back-water brains, burgeoning on the very brink of almost blasphemous brilliance. Now divested of band and the name associated with it, Sebastian Bach stands rightly in the spotlight in this, his first live solo release, ABachalypse Now, an incredible tour de force double album’s worth of Top Ten Chart troublers.

Taken from some of his most recent concerts ABachalypse Now is a double album featuring performances from 2012’s Hellfest in France on CD1 and Club Nokia in L.A.on CD 2. Being live the very nature of the albums present a truly enormous sound from the word go; the atmosphere and intensity on each track is as magnetic and undeniable a force as Seb’s shout-box itself, and for someone who once toured with the likes of Guns n’ Roses and Motley Crue during the decadent end of their dual debaucheries it whispers of dark dealings with shadowy forces in exchange for an impeccably untouched voice.

Sebastian Bach - ABachalypseAs one who once had the mighty Pantera open for him, Bach certainly knows nothing of holding himself… back (last time, promise*); there’s no restraining of his energies lest he succumb to a wobbly throat, no lethargy of delivery mid-way through a song sung countless times and many years before. I dare you to find a single moment on a single second in any of the songs where it falls below anything less than ninety eight percent perfection,  the other two percent taken away for crowd participation on iconic songs such as ‘Youth Gone Wild’, ‘Here I Am’, and ‘18 & Life’.

Which, as the album is a ‘two live shows’ release rather than an ‘all new and different’ means you’ll be hearing these and several other songs more than once, albeit from different bits of the world and admittedly with slightly different crowd noises, but still, limits of the set-list, I suppose. And though it does open the door for a very welcome follow up second release it should go on record now that the internet holds a full list of every song he’s ever sung, so any track list containing the same song name twice (whether a ‘live show’ release or not) will be looked at with much furrowing of brow and scratching of chin and disquieting noises of ‘Hmm…’.

For those blessed enough to be just too damn young to remember such hits from the Skid Row catalogue, however, the expectant arrogance of experience now comes to mask my blue jacket and jean denim combo wearing self-righteousness; whilst feeling like a greatest hits release this isn’t a re-tread, rather a re-birth. Not for nothing was Bach recently named as one of the 100 Greatest Living Rock Stars by Revolver, the boundless energy and genuine command of a man clearly exactly where he is meant to be – front and centre and larger than life and nothing short of spectacular.

Comparing to the original is always a poisoned chalice, the reward of discovery marred by the risk of reality. One or two big named bands currently doing the rounds don’t quite hit the same visceral peak as their earliest of releases captured when fresh of face and raised of fist, but despite finding twenty years to fit a life in between then and now the sound and style and Sebastian himself have only become much greater than they ever were first time around.

Go on, go find ‘Youth Gone Wild’ on iTunes –the original, mind.

No, no, I’m not joking; go on, I’ll wait….

…See?!?

This double album is why the music industry needs to slap itself across the face a few times, wake itself up to how stagnant and tied up in itself it has become in trying to understand why the market is tiring of plastic wrapped panel approved pop-stars whilst readying the next on the conveyor belt behind the curtains.

You need passion, integrity, belief, and a frontman capable of taking all your expectations, all your hopes for the sonic assault you’re eagerly awaiting and are jointly sharing with a thousand or more like-minded souls around you, and delivering so much more than any pre-blurb or review could possibly prepare you for in return.

And with the release comes not one but two DVD’s heaving with footage from the 2012 GrasPop Festival in Belgium and the full never-before-seen Hellfest set from France, leaving the only question to ask yourself, ‘What’s holding you ‘Bach’?’ (*…yeah, I lied.)

9 out of 10

Tracklisting:

CD1 – Sebastian Bach – Live at Hellfest, France 2012

  1. Slave to the Grind
  2. Kicking & Screaming
  3. Here I Am; Big Guns
  4. Piece of Me
  5. 18 & Life
  6. American Metalhead
  7. Monkey Business
  8.  I Remember You
  9.  Youth Gone Wild

CD2 – Sebastian Bach – Live at Club Nokia, Los Angeles CA 2012

  1. Big Guns
  2. (Love Is) a Bitch Slap
  3.  Piece of Me
  4. 18 & Life
  5. American MetalHead
  6. Monkey Business
  7. I Remember You
  8. TunnelVision
  9. Youth Gone Wild

3 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like there’s been quite a lot of studio wizardry for this release. I saw his Hellfest set and to be honest he’s a shadow of the frontman he used to be. He really struggled with the high notes, shame because I like him. My comparison is Skid Rows first tour of the UK in the 80’s…the whole band were on fire on that tour amazing performance.

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