Review by Rachel Sloper
Release date: 21 April 2014
The fifth solo studio album from ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach certainly lives up to its high expectations and offers a few surprising highlights in unexpected places along the way. What is refreshing about Bach’s solo efforts to date is that he retains elements of his 80s roots but translates them into a sound that is still relevant in today’s rock scene. Give ‘Em Hell is no exception.
The riff which kicks off opening track ‘Hell Inside My Head’ packs a punch. Reminiscent of the 80s hard-rock scene, listeners could be forgiven for thinking that they had been dropped into a melodic time-capsule, especially given that Bach’s vocals, despite the years, are still on top-form. ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ opens with a catchy riff, layered with a smouldering, gravelly vocal performance from Bach, but the beauty of this track, as with much of this album, is the contrast of sounds he achieves within the same song. Bach effortlessly slides from these gravelly tones into soaring, melodic choruses which will almost certainly translate perfectly for arena performances.
First single, ‘Temptation’ had been dubbed ‘radio rock’ by fans, but it has a sound that Bach’s fans have come to know and love along the years. Very much in the same vein as sounds from previous solo release, Angel Down, Bach’s hard rock roots are evident within the track, whilst indeed sounding radio friendly. ‘Dominator’ is an anthemic high point of Give ‘Em Hell, packed with powerful, driving riffs and once again letting Bach doing what he does best, vocal range. Laced with provocative lyrics, Bach’s hard-rock roots are evident not only in this track, but throughout this solo release.
A definite highlight of the album is ‘Had Enough’, which beautifully showcases Bach’s crooning vocals against walls of melodic guitar, although the lyric “I’d live and I’d die for your kiss,” is certainly reminiscent of the haunting Skid Row hit ‘I Remember You’, which heard Bach sing “I’d live for your smile and die for your kiss”. Bach’s cover of April Wine’s ‘Rock N Roll is a Vicious Game’ has a stripped-back country sound, which would perfectly soundtrack a lazy summer’s afternoon, and is a surprising highlight for the album. Although closing the album on ‘Forget You’ feels a little anticlimactic, penultimate track ‘Disengaged’ is an adrenaline-fuelled thrash which showcases Bach on top form.
In the company of a star-studded band including the likes of Duff McKagan, John 5 and Steve Stevens, Bach thrives. The album spans from the anthemic, to the realms of mellow acoustic sounds, truly showcasing his versatility. In short, Give ‘Em Hell is a melodic must-have for any Bach fan.
8 out of 10
- Hell Inside My Head
- All My Friends Are Dead
- Push Away
- Had Enough
- Gun To A Knife Fight
- Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game
- Taking Back Tomorrow
- Forget You