All Access Rating: A-
|Sebastian Bach - Give 'Em Hell 2014|
Never apologetic for his advocacy of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll as a lifestyle choice, the roguish Bach carries on with a wink and a smile. The steamy video for his new song "Temptation" features Gupta, Bach's off-and-on love interest, in all sorts of seductive poses, with Bach trying not very hard to resist her not-so-subtle charms. Giving in to the ocean-wide melodies, swarming guitars, thick metal grooves and luxurious modern sound, enhanced by revered hard-rock producer Bob Marlette, of Give 'Em Hell feels just as sinful.
Mighty, churning riff machinery operated by guitarists John 5, Devin Bronson and Steve Stevens – given added heft from Duff McKagen's hydraulic bass lines and the powerhouse drumming of Bobby Jarzombek – drive movable walls of sound like "Hell Inside My Head," "All My Friends are Dead" and "Harmony," as well as the aforementioned "Temptation," before giving way to lush, spacious choruses that take advantage of Bach's expansive vocal range. Thinking outside the box and shredding with feverish dexterity and diabolical imagination, Stevens, Bronson and John 5 unleash torrential solos throughout Give 'Em Hell, getting their aggression out in the sexually charged "Dominator."
While Bach does, indeed, Give 'Em Hell here, especially when his singing turns raw and confrontational in the angry, complex maze of riffs that is "Gun to a Knife Fight," there is a gentle weariness to his phrasing on the alluring power ballad "Had Enough" and he expresses a healthy combination of music-business cynicism and heartfelt empathy for screwed-over artists that's all caught up in the rolling piano and acoustic ramble of "Rock 'N' Roll is a Vicious Game." Still wild and untamed, though less assertive than on past efforts, Bach is playing it pretty well these days.
– Peter Lindblad