18 and Life: Skid Row’s “The Gang’s All Here” album review


Photo from Spotify

Mike Singer, Music Manager

New Jersey native, Skid Row released their first record since 2006’s “Revolutions Per Minute,” On Oct. 14.

In the ever-revolving carousel of lead singers which has seen four different vocalists starting with the original singer Sebastian Bach and more recently ZP Threat until his release earlier this year, Skid Row has now introduced former Swedish Idol winner, Erik Gronwall to take over vocals for the ‘80’s hair metal juggernaut.

It’s hard to replace the original singer and only a handful of bands have found success like Van Halen replacing David Lee Roth and bringing in Sammy Hagar or AC/DC bringing in Brain Johnson when Bon Scott passed away.

This time for Skid Row, it might be different.

I swear that the first time I heard the record, I thought that Bach buried the hatchet and rejoined his old band. That unfortunately is not the case here. Gronwall, who funny enough auditioned on Swedish Idol singing “18 and Life,” sounds a lot like Bach.

I’m not saying that Gronwall is note-for-note Bach yet they are very similar. Gronwall is through a remembrance of the mighty Skid Row during their heydey with Bach at the helm.

Jumping into the album “Hell or High Water.” It’s a great classic ’80s metal riff which is played by founding member Dave “The Snake” Sabo and is downright classic New Jersey sleaze. Gronwall’s vocals are backed up by the other founding member, bassist, Rachel Bolan. Bolan compliments Gronwall’s vocal well. This song could easier be on the debut Skid Row record or the “Slave To The Grind” record.

The next track, the first single off the record, “The Gang’s All Here” kicks off with a heavy Bolan bassline. If you’ve read any of the other articles, you know that I love hearing a heavy bassline in the song. I feel that the basslines had so much depth to the entire song as the bassist really is the connection between the drums and the guitarist.

The next song that I really enjoyed, is “Time Bomb,” which is track four. The main beat and riff of the song are heavy and have a classic sound that you would hear from a hard rock band. The chorus of the song allows Gronwall to show off his vocal range while singing “I’m a ticking timebomb.” Gronwall’s range is very strong on this track.

Track seven, “When The Lights Come On,” is a faster song that is a classic headbanger. With lyrics like “I’m barking at the moon. I’ll be home, but it won’t be soon… does anybody know where we’re gonna go when the lights come on,” can only leave listeners wondering if this song is about the band in their heyday wreaking havoc in each city that they played it.

The final three songs on the record, “Tear It Down,” “October’s Song,” and “World’s on Fire,” is classic hair metal ballads and hard rock sounds that any metalhead that watched MTV’s Headbangers Ball would recognize.

I can confidently say that after singers coming and going from the band, Gronwall is the missing piece that has completed Skid Row, and, in the process, they have put out a really strong record that I enjoyed listening to, in fact, I had to listen to it fully a few times since Friday.

And now, it’s time for The Singer’s Thoughts:

  1. I love Skid Row and I’m a big Sebastian Bach fan and my loyalties lie more with him than Skid Row, I know there’s bad blood between the two parties but it would be great to get a reunion between Bolan, Sabo, and Bach. If the likes of Kiss and Guns N’ Roses can reform, so can Skid Row
  2. Gronwall is a great singer and it is extremely hard to replace one singer, let alone four other singers, and then be compared to Sebastian Bach who most people associate Skid Row with. I’m not sure if Gronwall will last on the sole purpose that he reminds me of Bach so much that I’m sure other fans will start asking for a reunion between Bach and Skid Row, only time will tell
  3. If there is no reunion between Bach and Skid Row then Gronwall is in my opinion the best singer that Skid Row has had since Bach. It might be because the first thing I think of when I hear Gronwall is “he sounds so much like Sebastian Bach,” but also he has a killer range that could help the band write better songs that fit his range and take them in a slightly new direction. I’m rooting for Gronwall to succeed with the band but I’m also rooting for the reunion as well.


Overall Grade: 7.5/10