CD Reviews

Sebastian Bach - 'Abachalypse Now' Hot

Added by James Gaden     June 28, 2013    
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A double helping of live performances from the ex-Skid Row vocalist.

There's a tendency to gently mock those who talk about this music product of their past. Yes granddad, tell us about when there was still a lace in footballs and the Labour party used the word "Socialism" without it being an insult. But in those days of 70s and 80s, albums frequently had nine tracks. And that's all. No remixes or live tracks. They were beloved because we knew that they'd been specially chosen for us; some thought had gone into it.

Now, of course, the intention is to over-offer, to give us so much that we can't turn it down. And here, both CDs (there's also a DVD) have more or less the same tracks, the same band and sometimes the same banter. But they are slightly different. The first disc, captured in France as support to mate Axl's band, is the better of the two. And that's because of the band, kicking off with an attacking version of 'Slave To The Grind' and following up immediately with an incredibly tight 'Kicking And Screaming'. But what is apparent is the groove the band find. They simply deliver 'Here I Am' on a plate and allow the singalong 'Piece Of Me' to soar. 'Monkey Business' has the delightful bass run but a meaty, bottom heavy feel and closer 'Youth Gone Wild' really brings the appreciative, even occasionally rabid, crowd home.

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The sound is occasionally a little muffled, with too much of the backline taking the glory, but Bach's voice is all there, specially roughened for the live arena, whilst he does the "angry Metalhead" act very well, even if he is fixated on "salut France?", asking the question more times than Olivier in 'Marathon Man'. He even has to ask his band "vous is you, right?" But he does deliver a set full of goodies, with a sense of enjoyment (his trademark) and a band that is on such form, it's a joy. Left at that, this would be a live album of the year.

But we have the second disc, recorded in LA, cleaned up but with a bass so big you could see it from space, and with many of the same tracks just heard. Why? Particularly as the band just aren't as hot. Still great, still delivering, but just not as far in the pocket as previously, delivering here rather than living it. There are guests, Roy Z, assorted Black Veil Brides, and Bach's showmanship is just as good; in fact, just the same. But '18 And Life' passes in a ho hum blur and 'American Metalhead' just sounds like standard Metal. Generally, this palls in comparison to the French folie.

Should we be worried? Well, the great Joe Jackson in 'It's All Too Much' complained that there was too much supply and no demand. This is Seb presenting a beautiful bouillabaisse to you and then, before you've had a chance to enjoy it, plonking another one down, slightly overdone. Thanks mate, but I've already eaten.

Steve Swift


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