Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Motorhead - Protect The Innocent
(Essential)

Odd situation here, Castle/Essential making this 4-CD box set less, uh, essential through their great job with the individual reissues. So even if there's a dozen or so rarities here, most have been addressed elsewhere. But it's cool that the Steffan Chirazi essay takes a detailed look at cover artist Joe Petagno, who has contributed many of his preliminary sketches, or as he calls them, ãdoodlesä. Also, it's cool to see so many rare photos, as well as 36 thumbnail shots of the albums and various EP releases. Chirazi does a nice, fan's point of view job of recounting the history (even if there are too many rookie grammatical errors), and the whole trip is long, loud and proud, just like one ofthe band's horrendously grinding bus jaunts through the soul-destroying biz Lemmy has been cursed with supporting. Note: this is somewhat of a relaunch or reissue (original release was '97), simultaneously accompanied by the bonus track-laden reissue of the original reissues from '96.
Rating 7

Sebastian Bach & Friends - Bring 'Em Bach Alive!
(Spitfire)

These combination new studio/live albums always possess a whiff of desperation, but if anyone can pull it off it's Baz. Like a box of fireworks with a flicked o'er match, Bring 'Em Bach Alive keeps the show flowin', even if the record's highlight is the opening Rock 'n' Roll, which is basically Kiss' Psycho Circus x 10, a calling card that sez Baz and his glam posse are a serious rock force: one amazing commercial metal single (and I'm glad to hear Wolf Hoffman on guitars). Blasphemer is a similar confidence rocker, really undermining this difficult culture jamming persona Baz is trying to project, what with Flemion and his wings. Done Bleeding is the only new original which doesn't work (substandard Subhuman Race) while the two acoustic numbers also scatter glam dustings unto Bowie, Beatles and Slade. The live Skid Row songs, well, Baz is a showman and these are anthems, so watch 'em go. The screaming Japanese fans make it sound a bit like a Star Trek convention, but, hey you really are witnessing a star in every sense of the word, so just go with it. Note: look for the rote but rowdy cover of BOC's Godzilla. Nice booklet too, complete with comic strip, lyrics to the new tracks, extensive credits, and oddly, kind of crappy cover art.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5