Review by John Jeffrey
When I heard that Sebastian Bach was coming out with a new live CD/DVD, I have to admit my interest was piqued considering how much I enjoyed Bach's first live CD, "Bring 'Em Bach Alive," and also how much I was disappointed with the quality of the live performance on his "Forever Wild" DVD.
Considering “Abachalypse Now" is a CD and DVD package I was really hoping for the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, due to the lack of foresight, none of the live shows recorded for "Abachalypse Now" were done so with intention of releasing them as an audio only product. As Bach revealed in an interview his plan was to release "Abachalypse Now" as a DVD (only), but the record company persuaded him to include the audio portion on an accompanying 2 CD set.
Once Frontiers Records plan came to fruition, Bach began to scrutinize the original audio tracks from the live shows, which led to a massive amount of overdubbing leaving the end result a complete mess. Throughout the 2012 Hellfest and Nokia performances (Bach did not do any overdubs on the Graspop show), there are many times when it sounds like the vocals were doubled and/or auto-tuned with the original vocal tracks and sound completely off key.
While the DVD is fun to watch (especially when Bach pokes fun at himself during the beginning commentary of the Graspop show), the CD portion leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, I don't understand why Frontiers Records insisted that all of the shows be included on the CD set. While the audio is passable for a "live" DVD, it really doesn't sound all that good as a standalone CD. On top of that, due to the setlists from all three shows being somewhat similar, there are many repeat songs in the CD package. I feel they just should have used the best performances of each song for the CD or included the Nokia show audio on CD, as it is the best sounding of the three shows.
The biggest disappointment about the entire package is the fact that Sebastian compromised the musical integrity of the Nokia performance by featuring members of the Hop Topic heroes, the Black Veil Brides, in order to name drop them on this release to try to squeeze a few more sales out of the sheep who follow that farce of a band. As contrived as their image is, it is especially well known how horrible they are live. The appearance by guitarist "Jinx" and bassist Ashley Purdy on "Abachcalypse Now" are no exceptions. Jinx’s guitar playing during "Big Guns" is so bad that his guitar is completely buried in the mix (even when he's playing the solo) and Ashley's vocals were so off that Sebastian overdubbed his own vocals over Andy's parts in "Youth Gone Wild." The sad thing is not only has the Black Veil Brides 15 minutes of fame expired a long time ago, but in a few years, Sebastian Bach will still be remembered as one of the best vocalists from the 80's and the BVB's will be a long forgotten bad memory.
"Abachalypse Now" is definitely a worthwhile addition to any Skid Row/Sebastian Bach fan's collection, but I feel the ultimate Sebastian Bach live package is still yet to be made.