Sebastian Bach - Kicking & Screaming
Frontiers Records
Heavy Metal
13 songs (51'18")
Release year: 2011
Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Erik

Whatever you might think of Sebastian Bach, whether it be reality show regular or whatever other miscellaneous side stunts he's into, for many he will always be the Skid Row frontman and vocalist. Let me just ruin this review right at the start and tell you all that if you've been itching for a Skid Row reunion or anything similar, go right out and buy Kicking & Screaming. That's not a description of how you should purchase, it's actually the title.

If you enjoyed the first three albums from Skid Row, you'll find plenty to like here. The heaviness, in particular, is a staple of Bach's, and hits you from the opening moments of Kicking & Screaming, carrying on in fine form all the way through the very last track. Savage riffs from prodigy guitarist Nick Sterling and aggressive, accurate drumming courtesy of Riot/Halford veteran Bobby Jarzombek give this album a real punch, and the effect is an energy and tenaciousness we haven't seen in heavy metal for quite some time.

The title track drops you straight into a headbanging crunch that makes you sit up and pay attention. By the time Bach screams into the chorus, you realize that it's still 1993, and his outstanding vocal abilities are as strong as they ever were. Following up closely is My Own Worst Enemy, a solid track with an equal level of heaviness. You can sense that this really is Bach's musical stomping ground, and the liveliness eminating from producer Bob Marlette's studio direction is refreshing and invigorating.

To be completely honest, not every single track maintains the same quality. Dirty Power and Live The Life, for example, seem fairly lackluster compared to the better ideas presented here. However, several solid cuts keep the album above water, with Tunnelvision (clearly intended for Bach's ex) bringing out those wailing vocals with power and anguish, great rippling chords on One Good Reason and Lost In The Light, and the Sterling-penned Dance On Your Grave unleashing an angry drive. A couple of very good ballads are included in the mix, the surprisingly moving I'm Alive and Dream Forever, done as only Bach can deliver. Stirling's solos and overall axework is mightily impressive to say the least. He writes and plays like a musician with ten more years' experience.

Many great elements are at work here. Sebastian actually wrote all but two tracks, resulting in a significant leap for him personally. Far from simply regressing back to Skid Row material, Bach's solo career has given him an outlet for his own direction. Adding talented youth (Sterling) and experience (Jarzombek) really paid off on Kicking & Screaming, and what you have is nearly a substitute for a new Skid Row album. Consider this the best of both worlds, and a great addition to your hard rock/heavy metal collection.

Killing Songs :
Kicking & Screaming, My Own Worst Enemy, Tunnelvision, Lost In The Light
Erik quoted 83 / 100
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