REVIEW: Sebastian Bach – Angel Down (2007)

SIMULTANEOUS REVIEW! Check out Aaron of the KMA, who is reviewing this same album today!

bach angel down_0001SEBASTIAN BACH – Angel Down (2007 EMI)

You don’t have to like Sebastian Bach (the person) to like Angel Down. He may be a bit of a blow-hard, but damn, he made another great album. By my counting this is his third legitimately great album (Slave to the Grind and Subhuman Race being the other two.)

Baz’s voice is still powerful, and he still has most of his range. In fact, after the disappointing Bring ‘Em Bach Alive I thought it was all over for the voice. Not so! Angel Down proves it. Bach’s still got the goods. He’s got more character in his voice than he did when he was 19 or 20.  More grit.  But his lungs are as powerful as ever, absolutely mind-bogglingly so.

This was (by far) the heaviest album that Baz had made to date. This is way heavier than anything Skid Row has done with or without him. Bach’s working with great people on this, including Roy Z and members of the old Halford band. It doesn’t get much more metal than this. It’s heavier than most Priest albums, and the songs are all strong. They won’t sink into your skull on first listen, or even the third. It’s a challenging listen, the pummeling of guitars and drums are constant and brutal. Having said that, eventually the melodies, riffs, and Bach’s vocals will worm their way into your brain like a virus.

Highlights for this listener included:

  • “(Love Is) A Bitchslap”, which you may have heard in preview form on season 7 of Trailer Park Boys.  This smoker is a duet with Baz’s buddy W. Axl Rose!  You can literally smell the rubber burning.
  • “Back In The Saddle”, the powerful Aero-cover, and another duet with the reclusive Axl Rose. To hear Axl and Baz singing together again is awesome; two rock gods shattering the glass and gargling with it after.
  • “You Don’t Understand” with its patented Roy Z guitar riff (which really is just a patented Maiden riff).
  • “Falling Into You”, a Skid-Row-esque ballad along the lines of “Wasted Time” with some gorgeous strings (synth?) and guitar harmonies.  Another standout ballad is “By Your Side”, along similar lines.
  • The brutally heavy “American Metalhead”. Ignore the fact that Baz lived most his childhood in Canada and considers himself Canadian. I can appreciate that singing “Canadian Metalhead” wouldn’t have the same impact to his core (American) record buyers. Either way, it’s a brutal assault of the ears, as Baz screams his way out of your headphones.
  • “Angel Down”, the title track, which starts atmospheric like a Sabbath opener before hitting that pummeling Pantera riff;  Baz ripping the vocal cords again.

14 songs, and that’s just a handful of favourites listed above. There are lots of great moments on this CD. I can’t praise it enough, songwriting and performance wise.  It really surprised me.  I didn’t expect something this solid.  Top it off with another of his dad’s paintings on the cover, and this was the comeback album that fans were hoping for but never expecting.

Think you can handle it? Buy Angel Down.

4/5 stars.

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25 comments

  1. Great album good choice of faves although they could all feature.

    Don’t feel Baz has quite delivered on the promise of this record since, while good the last couple records were perhaps slightly more by numbers? Personally woulda liked to have Baz stretch that bit more now. But Angel Down has lost nothing, very cool record huge on performances too. Surprised after this though we didn’t get a Sebastian Bach cameo on Chinese Democracy!? ;)

    Now give us your thoughts on the hugely underrated Subhuman Race record!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man! Subhuman Race is such an important record to me. When I review it (and I WILL) it will be a big review. Glad you like it too! I think it probably gained a few fans over the last 20 years.

      Yeah, I love Subhuman Race.

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  2. Yes this was a good record better than I thought I would be! Cool that u and Aaron synced your Reviews! Hahaha…funny thing as I told him that Baz rolled they tbay on this tour but I will wait a while to post it as I haven’t even wrote it too be honest and as well I don’t want Aaron going off the rails of the Sebastian Train which he seems to get a kick out of how many times I seen skid row from August 89-June 92!
    Hahahah

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    1. It’s fun when Aaron and I are listening to the same tunes at roughly the same time. Sometimes he’ll text me if he finds a good CD. “Is this worth it?” I’ll give him thumbs up or thumbs down…in this case it turned into a synchronized review!

      I couldn’t tell you like Skid Row. ;)

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  3. Really good album, this one. Easily his best solo effort even though it doesn’t really holds up all the way. But there’s something with the production here. At times it sounds almost like it isn’t finished. Like they was in hurry mxing it. Still, the songs are mostly great.

    I hold Slave To the Grind as Skid Row’s masterpiece. It’s one of the best metal albums of all time. I also love the debut. Subhuman Race? Well, like Wardy said, it’s underrated, but it can’t really hold a candle to STTG. Too many Pantera-influences and way to unmelodic at times, but there sure is some really awesome tracks on it. Beat Yourself Blind… Damn!!!
    But the production baffles me, Bob Rock produced it but it doesn’t sound like a Bob Rock production at all. I think it sounds really great, but it doesn’t sound like Bob Rock.

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    1. Jon, Subhuman might be the one we disagree on. That album really clicked with me at the time, and I still love it. I agree with what you said — you can hear slight Pantera influences, and it does get unmelodic at times. But the playing is stunning, and there are some songs on that album that I’d put in my top 5 Skid Row tunes. “Breaking Down”, and “Frozen”, for sure.

      Regarding Bob Rock — I do find the drums on Subhuman sound like St. Anger. Do you hear it?

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      1. Wow, I never thought about it. It was quite some time since I’ve listened to Subuman Race, to be honest.
        St Anger sounding drums, you say? I must listen to it again, but what a shame if that’s the case. I can’t believe Bob Rock produced St Anger. Shite album, shite songs, shite sound to put it in British!

        Hahaha. Bullseye on that one, Aaron. :)

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        1. I think the snare drum on this album is similar to Lars’ on St. Anger. Let me know what you think.

          I think I rated St. Anger at 3/5 stars.

          Shoot, I gotta mail your package dude! I found one last CD for you.

          Like

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