Friends give me shit for championing Sebastian Bach's solo output.  Yes, he comes off as a strutting, haughty douchefuckle, but what does that have to do with his pipes?  The guy is nearing fifty, and he can still belt out high notes with the best of them.  Is it the hair metal stigma?  I'm repeating myself, but in my scientific opinion, Skid Row didn't belong in the same puce lavatory as Poison.  NOTE TO SELF: Try puce balloon shades in the master bedroom.  Failing that, don't be afraid to experiment with a tart, ruddy vermilion.  Don't settle, Dom.  Pamper yourself.  I am incredibly sorry.  As an interior decorator, I am always at the mercy of the creative process.

Um, so this isn't Bret Michaels we're talking about here.  This shit actually rocks.  Bach's first solitary stag, 2007's stormy Angel Down, was a killer collection of metallic scorchers and melody-conscious hard rock tunes.  2011's Kicking & Screaming was a tad more radio-friendly, but it's worth spinning from time to time.  Now it's 2014, and we have Give 'Em Hell.  I...struggled to reach a concrete conclusion on this one.  My initial impression was daubed in disappointment.  Seb seems poised to slide further in a commercial direction with each release.  Is he actively trying to water his style down?  Beats me, but I don't recall the songwriting on Angel Down sounding this formulaic.

Even the vocals are, shall we say, simpler.  Practically every line is double-tracked and prohibitively processed.  It's sad because Seb's voice doesn't need to be produced to death.  I don't hear enough soul, and I definitely don't hear enough of his natural vibrato.  The vein-popping screams still persist.  After several listens, the flexuous hooks and catchy choruses began to corporealize on my person.  Like fever blisters.  Or keloid scars.  I have plenty of issues with Give 'Em Hell, but in all actuality, it's damn listenable.  At his most mediocre, Mr. Baz is quite capable of outperforming the gravamen of modern "rock."

Let's take a look at individual compositions, why don't we?  "Harmony" lives up to its title, seeing as how vokill harmonies augment the verses.  "All My Friends Are Dead" has an interesting midsection that might appeal to guitar geeks.  The pained "Push Away" is the finest cut for my money, while "Gun to a Knife Fight" hedges its bets with a super melodic refrain.  The album has a steady flow going, but it's bollixed by a head-scratching cover of April Wine's "Rock and Roll is a Vicious Game."  What the fuck?  It's entirely out of place, and to make matters worse, it's a shit song.  Seb, I get that you're proud of your birthplace, but couldn't you have picked a better Canadian band to commemorate?

It's subjective, I suppose.  Give 'Em Hell is a solid follow-up to Kicking & Screaming, but man, it cowers in the shadow of Angel Down.  If you want a good laugh, scope the video for "Taking Back Tomorrow."  Me.  Oh.  My.

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