Then You Go Downtown, Home To Skid Row. Feed Me Seymour!
And with that, I thought I'd start my series of hard rock and "hair/glam" metal reviews with my favourite band of the bunch Skid Row. I'm not keen on the label "hair" band, but unfortunately it is what the general population can recognize and relate to. So I apologize to anyone who maybe offended by the term.
Starting with the band's self titled debut, Skid Row began as your standard hard rock sound of the time, though their image and music seemed tougher and more genuine. Theband fit the Skid Row image, especially the unpredictably temperamental frontman Sebastian Bach.
The album kicks off with the hooky and hard "Big Guns" that gets the fist pounding and blood flowing. "Sweet Little Sister", "Piece Of Me" , "Rattle Snake Shake" and "Makin' A Mess" carry on the hard rock bad boy edge and are spread out evenly throughout the album. They are solid hooky and melodic songs with some killer solo's by both Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo. I read somewhere that the solo's were divided between the 2 because one had a more emotional touch and the other a wailer. I can't remember which is which, but it creates a nice balance and both are very talented guitarists.
"Can't Stand The Heartache" and "Here I am" have a slightly more melodic, polished sound but are no less rockin'. The album closer "Midnight/Tornado" has a darker edge with strong melodic undertones and a cool dual solo before breakin' it down with the groove oriented crunchiness of the "Tornado" portion of the song. A good closer.
Sebastian Bach was key to the success of Skid Row in that his voice is brilliantly rough and wailing without losing it's passion. Any other vocalist couldn't compliment the brilliant guitar work of Hill and Sabo and the crushing rhythm section of Rachel Bolan (bass) and Rob Affuso (drums). Especially on the standout tracks (for me) on this album.
The first is "Youth Gone Wild" with its catchy riff and moving solo creating a passionate bleakness of teenage youth. This is only after Skid Row sets the stage with the brilliant ballad "18 And Life". What would otherwise be a cheesy song about a bad kid is brought to emotional life by Bach's killer voice wailing out ~ That child blew a child away!~ and one of the greatest and most moving guitar solo's I've ever heard. It's as if he's soloing on my heartstrings. "I Remember You" is another song , that if left in the wrong hands, would be terribly gitchy. However, Sebastian bellows in a voice of anguished heartache and again another solo that is the musical equivalent of a heart breaking keeps the song strong and passionate. The accompanying video is equally brilliant in it's portrayal of lost love's hopelessness. To choose a favourite of either "18 And Life" or "I Remember You" would be an insult to the other and so both are my favourite tracks for subtle, yet glaring differences.
I also started with Skid Row because I applaud them for not only sticking with their hard rock sound, but for kicking it up a notch on their brilliantly heavy metal follow up "Slave To The Grind".
That's next week.