Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
Sebastian Bach has had a rough go in life lately; filing for divorce, losing his home to Hurricane Irene, it hasn’t been easy for ‘ol Baz. Still, he’s regrouped enough to strike back in musical form with his second solo album of the decade. I honestly haven’t heard a note of Bach’s music since he left Skid Row, so I had no idea what to expect with this disc, but I was hopeful that it would at least be worthy of the stellar music he made twenty years ago.
First thing’s first: anyone still expecting Bach to bust out his soaring falsetto on every song will be sorely disappointed. For much of KICKING & SCREAMING he uses his lower/mid register and only whips out the screams occasionally. How much of that decision has to do with Father Time catching up to him and how much was stylistic choice I cannot say, but it was pretty jarring to hear this new approach. That said, it’s clear that Bach still has the capability to scream when he wants to.
Musically, I’d say that the album is a mixture of the last two Skid Row albums Bach was involved in. I know that’s a trite comment, but it really does sound like he’s mixed the melodic metal sensibilities of SLAVE TO THE GRIND with a more modern twist. The heavy groove of the title track and “Tunnelvision” blend perfectly with the more melodic songs like “Caught in a Dream” and ballads like “I’m Alive”. As you’d expect, the album has its share of ballads, with no less than four (too many!). Fortunately there are some really good hard rocking songs on the album to keep it moving.
KICKING & SCREAMING isn’t a perfect rock album, but it is damn solid. Bach has obviously still got the will and ability to be a vital force for heavy music and this disc simply process it. He may never again reach the heights of his early years, but releasing albums like this can only further cement his legacy.