Company: Frontiers Records Release: 2011 Genre: Hard Rock Reviewer: Chris Kincaid
The Great White North's shining Metal export proved he didn't need Skid Row when he put out his first studio album of original material titled "Angel Down" back in 2007. It showed Baz in fine form mixing melody with his famous glass shattering screams backed by Judas Priest like riffs.
Fast forward to 2011 and it's a different story.
I spent a hot, lazy, long weekend giving "Kicking & Screaming" my full attention. Everything else was gonna wait as I had been psyched to hear this release for months. Well, after 4 days of multiple play, there's nothing that sticks out in his latest offering except everything that made "Angel Down" killer has been thrown out in favor of a new direction.
The good - Bach's chops haven't aged. He can still deliver vocally despite years of churning out performances on endless tours. His ability to keep your focus on him is what makes him a perfect frontman. Not to take anything away from the band. Nick Sterling who steps in on guitars and the returning Bobby Jarzombek on drums can hold their own.
However, Nick is a different beast than Mike Chlasciak. Mike's tone was knee deep in heaviness and worked with Baz's mashing of melody and Godzilla like shrieks. Nicks guitar tone is grittier and heavy on riffs with swagger like the opener "Kicking And Screaming", "Dance On Your Grave" or "Dirty Power". Add to this out of all 13 tracks on display there's nothing addictive about any of them. You could hear them a million times and they'd still fade from memory. Even Bach with his sea of talent can't hold an album of lyrically lackluster material together.
Switching focus to a melodic modern rock sound falls on the shoulders of Bob Marlette who takes over the producing duties from Roy Z. His resume includes working with the likes of Shinedown, Atreyu and Filter. Kudos for giving Baz's sound a polished/mainstream touch but it's at the expense of his 'heavier' forte. Bach's at his best when he combines the 2 worlds as heard on anything in the Skid Row collection. The style here is too rigid and reflects the above mentioned bands.
Bottom line - Anyone expecting "Slave To The Grind" or "Angel Down 2" will be disappointed. The end result is geared to a rock radio friendly sound with less emphasis on a metal edge. If you're new to Bach's career check out his other albums mentioned to really experience his range of talent.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details