"An unapologetic celebration of what he does best": Sebastian Bach appears ageless on the bombastic and sonically monstrous Child Within The Man

An impressively explosive return from one of metal's biggest fans, Sebastian Bach

Sebastian Bach: Child Within The Man cover art
(Image: © Reigning Phoenix)

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If there is one moment that sums up Sebastian Bach, it comes during the recent Ronnie James Dio movie Dreamers Never Die. Invited to assess the one-time Black Sabbath and Dio vocalist Dio’s late-period creative flourish with Heaven And Hell, Bach feverishly proclaims that band’s Bible Black to be the greatest song Dio ever sang. When it plays, he loses his shit, instantly 18 again and lost in a haze of heavy-metal euphoria and voluntary neck damage. 

An irrepressible big kid, with an even bigger voice, Sebastian Bach should probably have achieved more in the 28 years since he departed Skid Row with animosity fizzing in the air and decades of fruitless bickering ahead of him. A handful of good-to-great solo albums followed, but, just as his former band flailed around helplessly before the arrival of singer Erik Grönwall (and may flail again, now he's gone) Bach has been only an intermittent presence in the studio. 

Famously, Bach sings with such gusto that he once had to have a hernia operation. On Child Within The Man, his fifth solo album, he sounds firmly committed to having another one, but via some of the sharpest and most memorable songs he has sung in decades. From the hell-for-leather brutality of Everybody Bleeds onwards, the album is an unapologetic celebration of what Sebastian Bach does best. 

It opens with Everybody Bleeds (a brutal throwback to the steroidal sleaze-rock of those classic Skid Row albums), and Freedom, which features a synapse-throttling guitar solo by shred icon John 5 and kicks a near-unacceptable amount of arse in the process. 

Recent single What Do I Got To Lose, co-written by Myles Kennedy, is a gleaming glam-metal anthem with an absurd amount of swagger; To Live Again is a magnificently overwrought power ballad; both (Hold On) To The Dream and Hard Darkness are doomed-out and imperious: the perfect backdrop for Bach’s astonishing, seemingly ageless voice.

Appearances on the TV show The Masked Singer notwithstanding, Child Within The Man is clearly the most fun Bach has had in a long time. Unpredictable and alt.rock-tinged on Vendetta; touched by the hand of grunge on the sludgy Crucify Me; dotted with fret-bothering cameos (Steve Stevens and Orianthi work six-string miracles on Future Of Youth and the vicious and actually quite rude F. U. respectively), it sounds like the kind of bombastic and sonically monstrous record that a young, or indeed 55-year-old, Bach would absolutely lose his shit to. And rightly so.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.