On his second studio solo outing Kicking & Screaming, Bach continues the momentum that debut Angel Down generated by delivering 13 tracks of hard rock tunes and the obligatory ballad or two. There’s loads of melody infused in the songs with memorable choruses, raunchy riffs, solid drumming and ripping guitar solos.
Guitar phenom Nick Sterling, 21, was already an accomplished solo artist when he joined Bach in 2009. On Kicking & Screaming, he plays all the guitar and bass parts while journeyman drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Iced Earth, Riot, Fates Warning, Halford), who’s been with Bach since 2005, also contributes to the album.
At 43 years old, Bach’s voice sounds as strong as ever on Kicking & Screaming. His trademark raspy snarl is easily recognizable. He can still deliver without his voice breaking or wavering out of tune. Maybe he can’t hit the dead-on high notes as in the past, but on Kicking & Screaming, he sure knows how to deliver when he has to.
The title track is a hard edged, groovy rocker with a raunchy kind of vibe. Bach’s high register vocals are reminiscent of his Skid Row days, á la “Monkey Business.” On “Tunnelvision,” guest guitarist John 5 (Rob Zombie, ex-Marilyn Manson) rips and tears the fretboard up at a frenetic pace.
It wouldn’t be a Bach record without a couple of standard power ballads, and “I’m Alive,” “Dream Forever” and “Wishin’” fit the bill. If you don’t mind any of Bach’s previous ballads, then these won’t bother you. I wouldn’t put them up there with “I Remember You,” but they’re not cringe worthy, either.
Love him or hate him, Bach is still one of the best frontmen around, and with the addition of wunderkind Sterling, he’s in pretty good hands. Most of the songs on Kicking & Screaming are memorable with standout riffs and catchy choruses.
(released September 27, 2011 through Frontiers Records)