This guy needs no introduction, so rather than revert back to his former band and career, I am going to get straight to the point and move on as Sebastian has. This is an album that features Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses/Velvet Revolver) on bass, John 5 (Rob Zombie) and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) on guitar (along with Devin Bronson). Completing the recording line up is drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Halford/Riot/Fates Warning). Following on from 2011’s ‘Kicking and Screaming’, ‘Give ‘Em Hell’ is once again produced by Bob Marlette, a team that seems to fit and emulate Bach’s voice with very good results.
The album cover is quite demonic and the music in general is harder hitting than some of the previously released material, there is a clear game plan, hit them hard and don’t stop! However, emotion and feeling are very much present on this release. ‘Harmony’ really shows that time has not affected Bach’s voice, in fact I find on this track and to be fair over the rest of the album, Bach’s voice sounds the best it has in all his musical endeavours. The harder edge mood continues with ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ which is a sad lyric when you think about it, but shows that this guy is a survivor, along with some of the other musicians on this release. But back to the song, it rocks and well as harmonises. ‘Temptation’ adds light and shade to the release and there is a music video that exists for this track for you to hunt down too, but one of the tracks that stands out for me is ‘Had Enough’. It is a ballad, but Sebastian’s emotive vocal really touches a chord and again shows the clarity and precision of his voice in this day and age. If you want something a little more out of the box, listen to the intro to ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll is a Vicious Game’, that leads into a semi-ballad track that probably shows McKagan’s influence when you compare this track to the music of the band he is most famous for. Of course, there is more than sweet ballads on this album, for some real angst then check out ‘Gun to a Knife Fight’. This one grooves but also possesses that key melody element that Bach is famous for, even if a track is hard as hell, it’s still filled with some high octane screams and Bach manages to command your attention by the inclusion of clever melodies through the arrangement. But vocals are not everything, the guitar solos on two of the tracks (‘Gun to a Knife Fight’ and ‘Dominator’) are really ripping, they match the harder edge pace of these tunes.
This is not a one trick pony album and there is plenty to offer to a wide range of tastes, styles and feelings. ‘Give ‘Em Hell’ is a giant leap forward for this artist, not necessarily in song content, but Bach’s voice is very powerful and it doesn’t miss a beat or note. All in all, this is a great representation of the clear talent that this artist has and proves (once again) that we should not be hung up on nostalgia as this material stands out on its own, there is no point taking a step back, this is forward thinking and a damn fine record to own.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)